The Lusher, stumbling his way through Tulum finding the BEST Happy Hours Joints to Imbibe at.
By: Jonty Rees
Aruma, AKA Aruma with a view, a swanky rooftop bar in Tulum Pueblo that rivals with the Beach Scene
Photos by Deike Alexa
Aruma - With a View
What to do when you’re in Tulum, you’re ready for an upscale Happy Hour cocktail or several, but you’re not staying at one of the swanky beach hotels that stud this spectacular stretch of the Riviera Maya? Listen to your pal The Lusher - we’ve got you covered. Tulum Centro, 2.5 miles from the beach road, is awash with great bars, any one of which can put you on the road to a memorable night on the town. And none will do it better than Aruma, on Tulum’s main Avenida, just a block from the Satellite cross street. Scale the 3 flights of stairs to “EL Roof”, Aruma’s rooftop bar, and you’ll find yourself in a surprising little oasis, high above the bustle of the street below, with comfortably cushioned bench seating and a small scattering of individual tables. A set of stretched fabric shades offers respite from the sun until it bundles up the remains of the day and settles behind the jungle, leaving behind it one of the best sunsets on the Riviera Maya. But an oasis is what? A watering hole! We’re not here simply to admire the great view, we want drinks, we want them now, and if they could be really good, so much the better. Oh, and can we have two for the price of one? No problemo, Aruna delivers on all fronts.
not to be confused with double fisting
We arrived at 5:45 pm, in perfect time to enjoy some tasty beverages before heading out to dinner and whatever adventures the night might bring. Aruma is part of a happy trend that offers two for one cocktails all day, without restricting it to limited 2-3 Happy Hour period, something I can really get behind. A crisp sunny evening was very welcome after several rainy, grey days, but even in Tulum, you might want a jacket on EL Roof in the winter months. Aruma is known for its Margaritas, so no sooner had we met our lovely bartender Estefania, than she was rattling up a batch with ice in a large stainless steel shaker. I’m a sucker for a twofer, but sometimes I’m disappointed by bottom shelf liquor, premade mixes, and chintzy pours. Not at Aruma! The Margaritas were outstanding, made with plenty of genuine Don Julio Reposado tequila and fresh-squeezed lime juice. Is it overkill to use DJ for margaritas? Maybe, but we weren’t complaining. These were delicious, nicely finished with a splash of club soda, and served in quality highball glasses with stainless steel straws, in keeping with Tulum’s eco efforts. A nice signature touch was the salted rim, half white sea salt, and half spicy red Tajin salt. Rarely has helping to save the planet tasted so good. Some tasteful techno music from a rich sound system helped to set the upscale vibe, and the whole scene lent itself to good conversation and further cocktails. There’s even a small splash pool up there, and while there were a couple of brave souls getting wet, I might wait to beat the heat in the dog days of summer.
It was quite upsetting to deny myself a second Margarita, but The Lusher is here to serve the public thirst for Happy Hour knowledge, so for round two, I opted for a Mojito. Margaritas and Mojitos, Margs and Mos, the twin towers of MexiCaribbean mixology. If a bar nails these two, it’s a keeper, and again the estimable Estafania came through. In a taller glass, my Mojito Classico was spot on, a rummy, minty, limey winner. The Bacardi White rum made for an excellent cocktail base, but perhaps a less mainstream brand would be more in keeping with the Don Julio that gave the Margarita such a luxurious feel. Havana Club maybe? Whatever. I’m really searching for any faults here - it was another excellent and potent drink.
that's some footage
Pricing at El Roof is shockingly reasonable given the great location and high quality of ingredients and presentation. Our skillfully handcrafted cocktails came in at 120 pesos for two, just a couple of days before Christmas in the high season. Another intriguing offer was a pitcher of cocktails, Margarita, Mojito, Sangria for instance, with a plate of Potato Wedges for 300 pesos. We were heading for dinner, so weren’t looking for eats, but it’s a nice option to have. There’s no full menu, and the bar closes at 8pm anyway, so consider this a launching pad for a stellar evening in Tulum town. There are many great Happy Hour bars in Tulum, and Aruma is one of the best. Just watch your step coming down those stairs!
aruma with a view
the lusher says 'go soon'
Aruma Av. Tulum #88, Col Centro, Tulum, Quintana Roo
Phone +52 1 (984) 871 3870 +52 1 (984) 180 5378
Hours Every day till 8pm
Tulum Eats Magazine is published 12 times a year, unless we decide to go on prolonged vacations. You can find the print magazine at select locations throughout the Riviera Maya, and in some East Coast establishments, where we will randomly place, during selective times. The website will be updated monthly, with selected materials that may or may not be the same as the print version. Look for us soon, in other states of Mexico.