Cabo Wabo Cantina
From Our NightLife Editor
By Sammy Hagar | Photo by TJ River
When I first went to Cabo, it was just a little fishing village with dirt streets and you could walk on the beach and see only your own footprints for miles. It was the early 1980’s and there was only one real hotel, and none of the restaurants had air conditioning, telephones, or TVs. I was instantly hooked.
I dug being a beach bum by day but wanted a place to hang out and play music at night, so I said, ‘I’m going to build a cantina so my friends and I have a place to play and drink tequila when we’re down here.’
I had an instinct that people would come.
I met Jorge Viana, who now manages the Cantina, during my second visit and told him about my plans for the club. At first, Jorge would just nod and grin when I talked about the club but my passion eventually won him over. We found our location in what’s now downtown Cabo and went to Guadalajara to shop for furniture. We were there for a week, buying doors and fixtures when we decided to go to the town of Tequila. We were like, ‘let’s go see where the real sh*t’s made’ and when I tasted a really great 100 percent agave super añejo, it blew my mind. We found the Rivera family and asked if they’d make us some tequila for the Cabo Wabo and they said, “Sure, you bring us bottles, and we’ll put it in there for you.” The original Cabo Wabo Tequila blew everyone’s mind because no one had tasted the handmade, authentic stuff. Now you can walk into a bar and everyone’s got like 25 handmade agaves.
During construction, I was on tour with Van Halen so I left Jorge and Marco Monroy; our architect and eventual partner, in charge of construction. I loved the blueprints but hadn’t noticed that Marco’s measurements were in square meters and not square feet! So by the time I first saw the Cantina it was almost completed. I liked it but it was huge. I told Marco. ‘This is way too big for Cabo San Lucas.’
Little did we know that Cabo tourism was about to explode and so was everything Cabo Wabo. Now, 27 years later, the Cantina is one of the Top 10 party spots in the world and after building our little “house” tequila brand into a top-selling premium tequila I decided to sell it in 2009. Four years later, I launched Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum and this year I got back into the agave business with a new spirits category: Santo Mezquila is a tequila blended with mezcal that I launched with Adam Levine.
Music is still at the center of everything – whether it’s my birthday bash or an impromptu jam, the Cabo Wabo stage is legendary for good reason.
Little has changed in my routine. ‘We beach all day, eat tacos for dinner, drink mezquila and I get onstage and play.’
I do these things because I love them and they make me happy.
Even so, it has grown into a monster that has a life of its own – one big party animal.
Wow! All that from a dream!
Go there and enjoy yourself. That’s the reason the Cantina was built!