Visiting “Cantinas” is not considered glamorous much less recommended for women in the Rio Grande Valley but lately things have changed.  Local “dives” are popular hangouts for people of all ages (over 21) and genre looking for an easy relaxed environment and the lure of the prohibited adventure.

El Jardin first opened its doors in Harlingen, Texas back in  1946, its owner, Luis Rodriguez Sr. catered, according to his son Luis Rodriguez Jr.,  to the servicemen stationed in the local Air Force Base. Servicemen proved to be regular loyal customers and after the closing of the Base, El Jardin found new customers, new temporary management, faced modern challenges, abandonment and is still serving customers today.

One of the most unique features of the place is the ceiling over the pool table. If you look closely, you can read short articles and advertisements from issues of the Valley Morning Star dated in 1946 plastered throughout the entire ceiling. Luis informed us this resulted from the use of newspapers laid over a platform that would hold the cement poured for the foundation of a second floor back in 1946. Once the wooden platform was removed, the newspapers, stuck to the concrete, revived as ceiling wall paper and décor feature.

Needless to say, the place’s décor is eclectic; a collection of items such as Lone Star and Pearl beer signs, Juke box, antiques, and that musty feel of a long gone “saloon” from the Wild West era of Six Shooter Junction; Harlingen’s nickname at the turn of the 20th century when Luis’s mother was born in a home located in the adjacent lot in 1915.

Luis reopened El Jardin Cantina/Bar on New Year’s Eve 1981, he now offers complimentary “botana” (appetizers) on Thursdays along with friendly service delivering memorable times for a good Happy Hour and beyond. Visit early and don’t be surprised if you meet a “vaquero” or someone looking for the adventure of their life.

El Jardin has all the elements of a good Cantina, or “dive” and will certainly be enjoyed by those who seek this type of entertainment.

114 S. C Street – Harlingen, Texas – (956)425-9751

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About the Author

Nydia O
La Vida Valle is where I write about "la vida" my life in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. I write about the food, the culture, the good times and the bad. I write about the people who make El Valle festive and laid back at the same time. Contributions and comments are always welcome .