When visiting Costa Rica, tourists often decide to stay in the capital of San Jose due to its central location. Many of the country's national parks and cultural attractions are within easy reach of the city, making it a perfect base of operations for curious explorers. However, hiking around the rainforest can be thirsty work, and nothing beats chilling out with the locals and enjoying a cold beer. Follow me to find the best bars in the Central Valley!

Tico drinking a beer at Hooligan's sports bar
Tico drinking a beer at Hooligan's sports bar


Sports fans visiting Costa Rica's Central Valley should head to Hooligans to quench their thirst. A popular chain of sports bars located throughout the region, these establishments serve a wide range of local and imported beers, as well as cocktails and spirits. The atmosphere is pretty lively, and tourists can grab a variety of snacks and light bites to accompany their drinks.

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Visitors who want to make a night of it can enjoy a drink at Fandango. This tourist hotspot is a combination bar, nightclub and Mexican restaurant. Fandango stays open later than some other establishments in the area, so visitors can settle in and enjoy the nightlife, Costa Rican-style.

Santa Ana

El Estribo is another sports bar popular with Ticos and visitors alike. Renowned for its food, El Estribo is the perfect place to enjoy some authentic Costa Rican cuisine and sample the variety of local beers on sale. The bar has several big-screen TVs and serves classic American food including burgers and chicken wings.

La Oveja Negra is another great place to chill after a long day. This bar and restaurant is renowned for its seafood platter and affordable cocktails, and serves a wide range of domestic and imported lagers. Tourists who just want a quick drink should be aware that patrons are required to spend a certain amount on their tab, so a visit to La Oveja Negra may be better-suited for larger parties and bigger orders.

San Pedro

One of the most popular nightspots in the Central Valley, the Jazz Cafe in San Pedro is perfect for fans of live music. Featuring a wide range of local and international performers, the Jazz Cafe also serves a variety of beers, cocktails and bar snacks. The atmosphere is laid-back and the service is superb, making it a great place to hear some smooth grooves after spending a day touring the sights.