From the American Songbook to fifties rock to country to Mexican, and of a course, to the selfie entertainment of Karaoke, there is live music of different styles every night at La Bodega.
As low-key as its name, La Bodega is a modest, patio-garden restaurant and grand bar with a warm, friendly greeting for all, most often by Javier, the owner himself. La Bodega might even be considered two venues in one, offering a quiet, home-style serenity before 8:30 p.m. and the more boisterous music-and-dance venue afterwards. That said, many diners will take advantage of both: come early for a quiet meal, refresh with a walk to the lake, which is only three minutes away, and then return for a long evening of live music and dancing. To that end, the bar remains supremely accommodating. Among Mexicans and ex-pats alike, it’s known as one of Ajijic’s most popular gathering-points for sociality and a good time.
The menu is broad and interesting: a variety of interesting Mexican fish and shrimp dishes and favorites like fajitas with any fill. Chicken came in mostly standard and some unique presentations, such as the Mustard Cream Chicken and the Chicken Albahaca. There are favorites from a selection of pastas, highly-respected pizzas and burgers for the ultra-casual waiting for the music to begin. Beef dishes: arrachera, fillet mignon and BBQ ribs. At all events, La Bodega is about easy-eating done well and serving ideally the wishes of a casual dinner crowd.
I ordered the Chicken Albahaca, which is grilled chicken chunks served over rice noodles with a tasty basil sauce as light as the rice noodles. It was a perfect early dinner evening choice. And when I wished to accompany it with a non-alcoholic beer, Javier informed me he had none left. Rather than let me dither through another choice, he said, “Wait one minute and I’ll go and buy you some.” Which he did. Therein lies the homey nature of the La Bodega. My partner had the vegetable fajitas, a plate loaded with fajita-style vegetables, regrettably missing an expected mound of guacamole and tortillas, which I’m sure Javier would have delivered at our request. We deferred to the dish as it was, a crisp-tender, skillet-fried serving of spiced vegetables, with the fresh garlic bread subbing for tortillas. Desserts were sparse the night we dined there, an oddity for a place with a zero sum system for calories in – and calories out (on the dance floor.) The music stage and dance floor are virtually one, so the gyrating and excitement can get pretty pumped up.
La Bodega, minimalist in décor and aura, leaves one with the feeling that it is, first and foremost, a dance and music hotspot that pounds with rhythm, good food and good times.