Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Where Everybody Knows Your Name


Since moving to Mexico there are very few things that I miss from my former life in Canada. I love the lifestyle, the people and the culture here. But there is one thing they do not have. The Neighbourhood Pub.

There are restaurants, bars, nightclubs and old fashioned saloons. But there are no Neighbourhood Pubs. The closest thing I have found here is the bar at Hank’s Louisiana Grill. They play great old music, have 2 for 1 drinks every day from 5:00 PM to 8:00PM and a wonderful staff that always greets us with a smile and a kiss on the cheek. A huge polished wood bar, in authentic British pub style, dominates the room.

You have to get to Hank’s early if you want to get a table as it will be standing room only by 5:30. I will always continue to go to Hank’s, as a matter of fact we are meeting another local blogger friend there tonight for Taco Tuesday, when they offer crunchy Texmex style tacos for 20 pesos each.

Still……it is just not quite the same as the Neighbourhood Pubs of Vancouver. Near our home in North Van, there was the Pemberton Station, the Rusty Gull, Sailor Hagar’s and the Maplewood Inn to name a few.


The Gull at Night

The Rusty Gull


The bartender knew what our beverage of choice would be and it often made it to the table before we did. There was lots of seating so you could almost always expect to get a table. The atmosphere was easy going and convivial. You could shoot a game of pool, play darts, challenge a friend to a game of cribbage or just relax and enjoy the live music that was usually offered in the evenings.


Sailor Hager's, North Vancouver, BC

Sailor Hagar’s


For a wonderful ( and fattening ) lunch, pub fare usually included Shepard's Pie, Steak and Kidney Pie and Cornish Pasties among other tasty and hip-enhancing meals. You could also often get a huge steaming bowl of clam chowder at many of these venues, which was one of my personal favorites. 

Enter Hansen’s Bar and Grill. To San Miguel that is. If I could actually stroll, it would be a short stroll from our house. It is not in “El Centro”. It is not a trendy tourist spot. Although I’m sure the tourists will enjoy it if they find it. It is located at #12 Calzada de la Aurora a few blocks past the Fabrica La Aurora, going towards El Centro.


Hansen's menu 001


Okay, it’s not exactly like a North Vancouver Neighbourhood Pub. It’s in a small Mexican city, in a small Mexican colonia with Mexican staff. Absolutely great Mexican staff! You can get a bucket of 6 beer for 80 pesos, about 6 1/2 or 7 Canadian dollars. The 3 partners are charming and personable and all of the staff are friendly and helpful. Right now they are only open Thursday through Saturday but I hope that they will get enough business to expand that, should they wish to do so.


Hansen's 003

Hansen’s Bar


Hansen's 004


The menu is small but very well thought out. They offer sandwiches, roast beef, Ruben, turkey or chicken breast, Italian sausage and Ratatouille. You can choose from chapata, multigrain or rye breads and a side of French fries (which I think are the best in town), potato salad or coleslaw. And then there is the pickle. It is the best pickle I have ever eaten.

There are also salads, minestrone soup, soup of the day, garlic bread and desserts. But the absolute best thing on the menu is the chicken liver pate. It is served up with what must be a baseball size ice cream scoop and comes with garlic toast slices.

That, however, is just the menu. Each day they also have a dinner special. Thursday is a pork chop. You may not think that this is very exciting but wait until you see it! It is at least 2 inches thick ( I am not exaggerating ), cooked through perfectly and still juicy. Last Thursday I had it served with linguini in a light fresh tomato sauce with fresh parmesan. I ate my dinner there, made a sandwich the following day, Todd made 2 sandwiches the following day for dinner and I finished off the pasta. Did I mention that this was 98 pesos?

It was all so good that we went back on Saturday for Prime Rib. Really…Prime Rib.


Hansen's 002 


Now I’m not a Prime Rib fan, but Todd assures me that it was some of the best that he has ever had. I had Tortilla Soup and that incredible Chicken Liver Pate.


Hansen's 005


Sorry, I ate half of it before it occurred to me to take a picture. I was hungry. And the soup was wonderful. Just the right amount of spice. Friday is Osso Bucco night which I have yet to try, but I most definitely will.

The restaurant has a small intimate feel but is actually quite large, as there is the main floor, the bar area, a sort of terrace above the bar and another room upstairs, which I have not seen as stairs are not my strong suit these days. Hansen’s motto is “Our specialty is making people who recommend us look good”. Indeed they do.

All in all, Hansen’s Bar and Grill is a welcome addition to our neighbourhood, and sort of fills a small void in our otherwise near perfect lives here in Mexico.


  1. Some people desire to be famous. Not me. And, I suspect, not you. We simply want to go places where people know who we are and we know who they are. Relationships truly add joy to any place. Real relationships.

    1. I totally agree Steve. I have no aspirations to be famous but it gives you a warm feeling when you go to familiar place where you are known and treated well.

  2. I had heard from someone else that their pate was excellent. I'm going Thursday night with friends. I'm sure they will have the pork chops. Not me, just give me pate! I had some excellent pate in Houston - it is truly, when good, one of my favorite things to eat. I don't know of another restaurant in town that has it...Yippee.
    Dick Weber, the brains behind Hansen's is a fab restauranteur and one of the greatest guys in this town. A true gentlemen who cares about the people he meets. Can't wait to try it out!

    1. I'm positive that you will really enjoy it Barbara. Great atmosphere and really great food. A combination that can't be beat!

  3. Thanks for sharing that, keep eating and writing!

    1. You're welcome Peter. I will most definitely keep eating at Hansen's! We are very lucky to have so many really good restaurants here in San Miguel.

  4. I think I read on another blog that Hansen's makes a great hamburger.

    Don Cuevas

  5. I haven't tried it but Todd has, and he said it was wonderful. It was huge and made of freshly ground Angus sirloin. Their french fries are very good as well.