The Four Most Unique Restaurants in Playa del Carmen

Everyone knows 5th Avenue is the coolest place to hang out in Playa del Carmen. The storefronts are lit up and the restaurants spill out into the streets. The vibe is relaxed and there’s so much to do and see. However, after awhile in Playa del Carmen the meals can start to blur together. Are you looking for something different? If so, here’s my list of the four most unique restaurants in Playa del Carmen! Enjoy!

 

The Rooftop Pools

These are some of my favorite places to hang out, because they’re completely free! All you have to do is buy a certain amount of food and drink, and you can spend the day in paradise. If you want to eat lunch or dinner poolside, or grab a few cocktails, Be Playa and The Palm at the Playa are both great options.

 

girl in pool, be playa hotel, rooftop pool, playa del carmen

 

At Be Playa, you can drink at a table right in the pool, and order from their extensive sushi menu. We tried the chicken and noodle wok bowl and it was delicious. Here, you only need to spend 200 pesos per person to spend the day relaxing by the pool.

The Palm at the Playa also has a gorgeous rooftop pool with beds, a jacuzzi, sky bar, and ocean view. Here, you need to spend 300 pesos per person on food and drink from Mon – Fri, and 500 per person the rest of the week. I’m also pretty sure I saw a promotion for free drinks for the ladies on Friday nights… call & confirm that though! These rooftop pools aer definitely a unique place for lunch in the sun, dinner, or drinks with a view.

 

bowl of chicken and noodles, be playa food and pool

 

 

Alux Cave Restaurant

If you’re visiting Playa del Carmen, you’ve surely heard of cenotes. They’re the underground rivers and cave systems that the Yucatan Peninsula is famous for. While most people go snorkeling or diving in the cenotes, did you know you can actually eat dinner in one as well?

 

girl standing the front of a wall of stalactites underground

 

The Alux restaurant is built into a huge underground cavern. It’s just spectacular to wander around in, and one of the most unique restaurants in Playa del Carmen. The food is a bit on the pricey side, but if you’re like me and still want to see it, go for a drink at the bar. You have to pay 150 pesos each, and you get your choice of white or red wine, a rum cocktail, or soft drink. Then we sipped it and wandered all throughout the caves taking pictures and enjoying the dark twists and turns. Its seriously such a cool and romantic place! During your stay in Playa del Carmen, a visit to Alux is a must.

 

Lit up sign that says "Alux Bar" and surrounding alcohol

 

Calle 38 Restaurants

The next unique restaurants on my list are on Calle 38, just south of 5th Avenue. Here, the street transforms into a lush, green jungle, and restaurants are hidden inside it. You can visit La Cueva del Chango, an outdoor Mexican restaurant set in beautifully lit gardens, or the stunning Trujillos restaurant and bar for a hip night out with a super unique twist.

Walk down the street checking out the menus at the six or so restaurants who line this forested drive, and enjoy the ambiance as you choose your favorite. You really can’t go wrong on Calle 38.

 

Seafood Truck and Tiki Bar

This is such an amazing hidden gem I feel lucky to have discovered. Visit my favorite beach, Playa Esmeralda (you can access it on Calle 88) for an amazing experience. I may be a bit biased cause I live right by it, but I truly think Playa Esmeralda is the most underrated beach in Playa del Carmen because its the perfect mix of lively, but not too crowded.

 

seafood truck and tiki bar, playa del carmen, playa esmerelda

 

To get to the food truck, turn left when you enter the beach on Calle 88 and walk for about 15 minutes until you get to the tip of the small peninsula sticking out into the sea. Here is the Seafood Truck and tiki bar. It’s not connected to any resort, and has an amazing relaxed and secluded feel. Order some shrimp or fish tacos for only 90 pesos, and wash it down with a LITER of beer for only 80 pesos (thats a great deal!)

You can also rent a sun bed here to enjoy the view. Grab a shaded pair for 500 pesos, and 400 of that will go toward food and drinks for the day. The Seafood Truck is one of the most unique restaurants in Playa del Carmen because its on the beach but not an overpriced, loud, or giant resort club. This place is so off the beaten path I can’t even find their website or Tripadvisor page (although you can see their menu and driving directions here.) If you want to get away from the resort feel and eat with a stunning blue ocean view, the Seafood Truck and tiki bar is a must.

 

shrimp tacos, seafood truck on playa esmerelda

 

So, these are the four most unique restaurants in Playa del Carmen. Rooftop pools, beachside food trucks, dinner down in the caves, and romantic jungle retreats are all on the list. Which one are you going to try first?

All my love,
Di

 

 

 

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Playa Esmeralda is the Most Underrated Beach in Playa del Carmen

Playa Esmeralda is the best beach in Playa del Carmen. There, I said it. I really mean it too. I’m spending one month in the small beachside town in Mexico, and during that time Playa Esmeralda (also known as Playa 88) has become my daily haunt. Here are all the reasons why Playa Esmeralda is the best and most underrated beach in Playa del Carmen.

 

Playa Esmeralda, Mexico, Playa del Carmen

 

1. It’s the perfect mix of lively, but not too crowded. Empty beaches are depressing, and crowded beaches are annoying. This one hits the sweet spot.

2. Playa Esmeralda is in a great location for backpackers. If you’re like me and can’t afford to stay in the heart of Playa del Carmen, you can still be super close to this beach! One main entrance is located on Calle 88 (just for reference, the main drag of downtown is between Calle 2 and Calle 40) so if you live on the “outskirts” of town, you will still be in walking distance to the pristine Playa Esmeralda.

3. It has it’s own private fresh water cenote to hang out in.

4. It has so much greenery. On most of the other beaches in Playa del Carmen, you have giant buildings and resorts spread out behind you. At Playa Esmeralda that’s not the case. The white sand beach is between ocean on one side and lush green plants and palm trees on the other. Although the Paradisus Resort runs along it, it’s hidden so far back from the beach you can barely even see it.

 

blue water, playa esmeralda, playa 88 beach

 

5.. You can swim in places without any rocks underfoot, and the shallow water near the cenote stretches out super far.

6. Playa Esmeralda features one of the most unique restaurants in Playa del Carmen – a locally owned Seafood Truck and Tiki Bar secluded in its own little paradise. You can even rent a sun bed here and relax under shaded palms with the most beautiful ocean view.

 

 

If these reasons aren’t enough to convince you, then hopefully the photos will. Playa Esmeralda is the perfect place to spend a couple hours in paradise, and enjoy all the beauty that Mexico has to offer!

Have you been here? If so, comment below and let me know what you think of Playa Esmeralda 🙂

All my love,
Di

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Boat Cruise from Playa del Carmen: Catamaya Sailing Review

 

This weekend Daniel and I had the opportunity to go on and review the Catamaya Sailing Cruise! If you’re looking for a boat cruise from Playa del Carmen, this is a great option. We had an amazing time, and I’m here to tell you all about it!

 

 

The Stats

Price: $120 for adults $80 for kids
Length: 4 hours
Times: Monday – Saturday from 10am to 2pm
Location: Puerto Aventuras Marina
Included: Round trip transportation, lunch, snorkeling, and open bar
Where to book: 
www.catamaya.com

Our day started with an early wake up call. We packed towels and a change of clothes, then hopped in a taxi to Walmart to pick up some eco sunscreen (essential for protecting the wildlife on the reefs.) Although we didn’t end up taking it, the tours include round trip transport from your hotel in Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos, Akumal and Tulum.

We arrived at the boat at 9:40 for our 10am departure. The second we stepped on board we were informed that the bar was open, and promptly ordered two margaritas. We took some quick photos and then settled in.

People began to roll in and at 10am sharp the boat took off from the pier. The crew introduced themselves and gave a quick safety talk (most importantly, only two drinks allowed before snorkeling) and then we set off.

 

 

Boat Cruise Breakdown

The trip is divided into four parts for the four hours. First, we spent an hour sailing to the reef site. Then, we spent about 45 minutes to an hour snorkeling and swimming. Third was an hour enjoying the water slide and eating lunch hot off the grill, and finally, we spent an hour drinking, relaxing, and enjoying the boat cruise back to Puerto Aventuras.

 

The Snorkeling

The snorkeling. was. AMAZING. I’ve been diving around the world in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Oman, and honestly this wildlife is some of the best I’ve ever seen! Almost immediately I ran into a turtle hanging out at the reef, and I swam around with him for about 15 minutes. While I was watching him, two HUGE stingrays passed underneath us! Little did I know these were the first of many we would see.

 

 

The reef was full of fish of all sizes and the coral was beautiful. Just please be extra extra careful not to kick it! I opted out of the fins they offered because I didn’t want to take the risk, but unfortunately I saw other people getting very close.

 

 

The boat provided everything we needed like the masks and life vests, and even two guides to point out marine life. I really enjoyed the experience because they weren’t too pushy and really just let me mind my own business and float where I pleased (usually away from the rest of the group) for the whole trip. Just watching the many stingrays pass by below me was so amazing, and an experience i recommend to everyone.

 

 

The Party

After the snorkeling, we had fun going down the slide of the boat and messing around taking videos in the water. Then, it was time for lunch. You choose your meal when you arrive and can pick from either steak, chicken kabobs, lobster tail, or a burger. We both chose the steak, and had a side salad and macaroni salad with it as well.

From then on, it was time to chill. The bar offered margaritas, tequila sunrises, mixed drinks and coronas. We laid out on the roof of the boat to catch some sun and listen to the music as we sailed. If you’re looking for a crazy, wild experience, then this cruise probably isn’t for you. The crowd was mostly young, but there were a few families with kids as well. I thought the vibe was great and laid back though, and everyone even started dancing at the end. When we pulled back into the marina at 2pm, I didn’t want the trip to end!

 

 

My Experience with Catamaya Sailing

A boat cruise from Playa del Carmen is a great escape from the town, resorts, and crowded beaches. One of my favorite things about Catamaya Sailing was that it was so relaxed and uncrowded! The spacious boat had about 35 people on our tour, and I thought it was the perfect fit. No long lines at the bar, no jostling with arms and fins while snorkeling, and no hunting for a perfect seat or view on the boat.

Their best feature, though, is definitely the personalized attention form the crew. By the end we knew them all by name because they were all so kind and friendly. They made sure our drinks were never warm or empty, and delivered impeccable service from start to finish. The captain even took the time to personally deliver a cooked lobster tail to us while we ate because I had mentioned in passing hours earlier that I wanted to try one!

At the end, the bar was still open when we docked and they even handed out drinks to go. I’m not the type of person to ever comment on service, whether good or bad, but the crew just impressed me so much. I could tell each person wasn’t just an employee but also friends with eachother, and they truly enjoyed their jobs.

 

 

Boat Cruise from Playa del Carmen: My Take on Catamaya Sailing

So, what’s my take away on Catamaya Sailing for a boat cruise from Playa del Carmen? I loved it! Sure, there are bigger party boats around, but if you want a super chill, fun, and relaxing day trip the boat cruise from Playa del Carmen with Catamaya Sailing is your best bet. Visit their website here and check them out! If you do take the trip (or have in the past) comment below cause I would love to know what you think!

All my love,
Di

 

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Swimming with the Turtles in Playa del Carmen 2018

Ok, so you may be wondering why I included the year in the title of this post, and it’s because there has been a lot of misinformation going around lately. Is it still possible to go swimming with the turtles in Playa del Carmen in 2018? Is Akumal beach closed? Do you need a guide? What’s the situation?

Well, I just swam with the turtles in January 2018, and I’m here to tell you that nothing has changed. In 2018, you can still swim with the turtles in Playa del Carmen for free. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is a SCAMMER.

Akumal beach is has exploded as a tourist destination in the past few years, but swimming with the turtles has not changed. The only difference is that there are plenty of men there trying to rip you off.

 

 

The Scam

The men stand directly in the entrance to the beach with large professional looking signs to make you think they are associated with the actual authorities, or turtle conservation, or any other legitimate company. They’re not. They will stop you and tell you to “look at the rules” and “read the rules” but just KEEP WALKING AND IGNORE THEM. These rules are not real. They say that you now need to be accompanied by a professional guide and rent a life jacket, but you don’t.

If you want to swim with the turtles in Playa del Carmen in 2018, just go to Akumal beach like normal and find a place to sit, preferably down away from the entrance and the scam “guides.” Here, you can spread out a blanket, grab your snorkel (pick them up at Walmart for $10 before you go) and jump into the water completely for free.

 

Does This Destroy Their Habitat?

If you want to swim with the turtles in Akumal Beach, there are some ways you can make extra sure you do not contribute to ruining their habitat. Only wear biodegradable sunscreen, and give them lots of space to be sure not to crowd them. Fins are not allowed as well, to make sure no one accidentally kicks them. All in all, just use some common sense. This is their home and you are a visitor, so treat them with respect!

 

When to Swim With the Turtles in Playa del Carmen 2018

Get there early! Daniel and I arrived at the beach at 8am, and it was practically empty. I spent about 30 minutes just chilling alone with a turtle while he ate breakfast, enjoying the total serenity of the morning. I also snorkeled alone around the reef, seeing colorful corals, giant schools of fish, and even a sting ray!

 

 

By 9:30, the masses were arriving. Giant tour groups in obnoxious orange life vests, following “tour guides” who had successfully convinced them to give them their money. By this point, any turtle had 10 or 15 people around it! Luckily, we were already ready to go.

 

How to Get to Akumal Beach from Playa del Carmen

Getting to Akumal Beach is super easy. There is a collectivo station on the corner of Calle 20 and Calle 2. Just tell the men you’re heading to Tulum and they’ll make sure you get on the right van. Akumal Beach is on the route, and the driver will tell you the stop if you ask him too. The cost is only $2 per person, and the collectivos are comfortable, if a bit crowded.

Once they drop you off on the highway, cross the bridge overtop it and walk down the street to the beach. It’s really as simple as that. To get back to Playa del Carmen, just repeat in the opposite direction. We stood at the bus stop on the side of the highway for about 2 minutes before a collectivo came by and picked us up. So easy!

 

 

What Else To Do Near Akumal Beach

So, like I said, the crowds come into the beach around 9:30 and we took that as our cue to leave. We continued our morning with breakfast at the Turtle Bay Cafe and Bakery. The food was really good, and the servings were huge for only $5 each. It’s a bit off the beach (but still has a super open, outdoorsy, and laid back vibe) so it’s not overpriced like the bigger hotel cafes on the water.

Near Akumal Beach there are also cenotes you can walk or take a taxi to. After swimming with the turtles in Playa del Carmen, walk 30 minutes to cenote Yal-ku. Here you can snorkel more in the super clear fresh waters and see a lot of colorful fish. The entrance price is about $15 per person. Cenote Santa Cruz is also very close, but costs $55 per person for a tour.

 

Swimming With the Turtles in Playa del Carmen 2018

If you’re confused about all the different info on the internet (just like I was) you don’t have to be any longer. In 2018, you can still swim with the turtles in Playa del Carmen for free. Don’t fall for the scam, and tell others about it so they don’t either. Buy your own snorkel, ignore the men at the entrance of Akumal Beach, go super early, and enjoy your own magical and private moments with these lovely creatures. I hope you have as much fun as I did!

All my love,
Di

 

 

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America’s Dining Culture is Super Strange… Here’s Why

I spent the first 22 years of my life in this country and never gave America’s dining culture a second thought. Listen up though… this situation is nuts. America’s dining culture is WEIRD AS HELL. There are literally zero aspects of it that are replicated anywhere else in the world because pretty much none of it makes any sense at all.

After spending over three years living abroad on three different continents, I realized that we are pretty much doing it all wrong (although a few of our dining practices are quite enlightened and really should catch on elsewhere…) Read on to see the good, but mostly the bad, of America’s dining culture compared to the rest of the world.

 

 

Money Madness

Paying for a meal abroad is so dang simple. You look at the menu, choose a meal, then pay the listed price. The end.

In the US, estimating your total bill is pretty much impossible and the final cost is usually a complete surprise due to two reasons: tipping and tax.

 

Tipping

Lets start with the tip. Tips are supposed to be based on service and encourage great work from the waiters and waitresses. However, at some point that got warped and now a 20% tip is completely expected. Just yesterday I had a dinner where the waitress accidentally brought me three ciders instead of the one I ordered, brought my husbands food before mine, completely entered the wrong order, and forgot to give my husband the sauces he asked for on the side.

Guess what we still tipped her? Yep, 20%. Because Americans have successfully been conditioned to feel guilty if they don’t. Now, a 10% tip is reserved for basically the worst service imaginable, and if you don’t tip at least 18% every time you are literally a monster.

 

Tax

The second reason why payment at restaurants is a total crapshoot is because of tax. For some unknown reasons, the taxes in the US are not included in the price like they are EVERYWHERE ELSE ON EARTH. Why? Why add it at the end?? No one knows, but everyone accepts it. So, be prepared to blindly pay a couple bucks extra for every meal on top of the menu price and tip.

BTW for those of you saying, just calculate the tax when you order, it’s not that easy. Remember, some states tax food and drink and store items. Some only tax products in stores, but not food and drink. Some tax neither. Some only tax food and drink if you consume it in the restaurant, but not if you get it to go… yeah. Good luck keeping all that straight and completing “Beautiful Mind” level calculations in your head to properly estimate the price of every meal.

 

Bringing the Bill

The last and weirdest aspect of America’s dining culture when it comes to money is that waitresses bring the bill without asking. I totally thought this was the norm until I moved abroad and realized this is actually SO. RUDE. Everywhere else in the world, you can sit and chat and browse dessert, cocktail, and coffee menus to your hearts content. The waitstaff would never dream of bringing the bill without being explicitly asked. This is because they make a living wage and feel no need to rush out every table to get more tips.

In the US, I’m always surprised now when the waiters bring our bill. Usually, I’m still taking my last bites. They almost never ask if we want another drink or anything else to eat before they do. They pretty much lay it on the table and expect us to pay it and GTFO asap. I just paid ridiculous prices for this meal, can I sit and digest it for a minute before you make it clear you want me gone? This aspect is due to the tipping culture, both of which need to be remedied in my opinion.

 

Food

America’s dining culture is also weird because it has conditioned us to accept and expect horrible produce. For example, one common food that most children hate is tomatoes. They’re weird and mealy and overall a pretty controversial food. Once I went abroad, I realized tomatoes are actually delicious when they’re grown without ten million pesticides and genetic modifications. In fact, so many fruits and veggies actually taste completely different and way more delicious outside of the United States, like strawberries, cucumbers, and avocados just to name a few.

Buying produce abroad is also a completely different experience than in the United States. Confusingly, the US adds tons of chemicals and whatevers to their produce, but it still goes bad so fast. When I lived in Italy, the UAE, and Colombia, I was always surprised because my produce never. went. bad. Seriously, it would last like three weeks. Something strange is going on with US produce, and I don’t like it one bit.

 

Time

Ok, we got the money and the food issues with America’s dining culture out of the way. Now on the to super weird time issues!

 

Fast Service

When I eat out in the US, food comes sooooo fast! The waitress will hand you the menu and pretty much immediately ask if you want to order. I’ve found after living abroad I have to tell her I’m not ready to order two or three times in a row before I finally have enough time to look at the menu and decide what I want (and even then, I still usually feel rushed).

After you order, your appetizer will come in about 10 minutes, and as soon as you take the last bite (or even before) your entree will arrive. Eat it in about 15 minutes and the bill will be on your table. It’s honestly normal to be in and out of a restaurant in less than an hour. This weekend, our food took about 30 minutes and the manager was so apologetic he gave us one of them for free… I didn’t mention that I was actually happy for the “slow” service.

Abroad, and especially in Europe, I’ve found that eating out is a much slower and longer experience for two reasons. First, eating is more of a cultural thing and families and friends are expected to linger over meals to chat and connect. Second, the waitstaff isn’t relying on tips to make money so they have no reason to rush out each table to get on to the next. It actually makes their work easier to have the tables linger while eating.

If you’re wondering if not tipping means terrible service abroad, I found it did not. It was definitely a little slower and the waiters weren’t quite as friendly, but I will gladly take that for a properly paced meal and low or no tip.

 

Early Dinners

People in the US eat so early!! I think this is also part of the reason why we have such an obesity problem. If you eat dinner at 5pm and go to bed at midnight, there’s a seven hour window without food (that most of us and me included usually fill with snacking). It doesn’t really make any sense at all.

When Daniel and I live abroad I find our meal times, even in our own home, shift later and later until we find it normal to eat around 7:30 or 8pm every night. Every time I head home for the holidays and my mom has dinner on the table at 5pm, I’m shocked all over again.

 

 

The Best Things About America’s Dining Culture

I’ve been bitching for awhile about my least favorite things about America’s dining culture. But, there are many totally awesome aspects to it as well (still very very weird, but awesome none the less). Here we go!

 

Drinks

The number one best thing about America’s dining culture is FREE WATER! F R E E  W A T E R wahooo. Huge soda drinkers might not even notice this anomaly when traveling outside of the US, but ew. I pretty much only like to drink water or alcohol. Unfortunately, restaurants across the world do not offer glasses of water for free! I never want to spend $2 or $3 on a bottle of water though, so I end up buying a soda or a beer just to feel like “I got my money’s worth.”

After all that complaining about tipping in the US, I’m just realizing as I write this that the basically forced purchases of drinks in restaurants abroad probably adds up to spending about the same amount of money. Daniel and I got around this by pretty much just bringing our own water bottles out to eat whenever we went and declining to order any drinks at all. Trashy? Maybe, but I found when I asked for tap water I often got declined and hey, I like water with my meals and hate overpaying for it!

Along with the free water comes the free refills. I have had to teach myself to ration my drinks when I eat out abroad because one glass just isn’t enough for a whole meal, and you will never, ever, find me paying for two. So, that sucks. Free refills needs to be a thing around the world, come on guys get it together!

 

Coffee

American coffee is the best. Most other countries only serve espresso and espresso based drinks. I was seriously confused the first time I got a coffee in a cafe in Florence and it was so tiny! I like my coffees giant and, you know, coffee flavored. If I drink a giant cup of espresso it’ll either taste like hot milk (ew) or I get the jitters from caffeine overload.

I also found that when I’m traveling and do find a coffee place, I can only order it black. Asking for “a little bit of milk” means I’ll get it almost white, and just ordering it with cream or milk means it will be whiter than snow and sweeter than candyland. Baristas outside of the US uniformly cannot be trusted to add milk or cream to a coffee without destroying it. I found myself drinking lots of black coffee or being that super annoying customer asking for it on the side to do it myself. Sorry guys. American coffee is the best, and something I always miss when I live abroad.

 

Food

Offering free bread or chips and salsa before a meal is the pinnacle of human achievement. And no, not only do American restaurants give a small serving to enjoy while waiting… it’s a huge basket that is constantly refilled before and during the meal! Literally unheard of anywhere else in the world, but the best.

When Daniel and I lived in the UAE, we found ourselves going to American chains every now and then just to get free rolls with our food because it felt like home. Even most Mexican and Italian restaurants abroad make you pay for bread baskets or chips and salsa, and I just don’t abide by this practice. America, your generosity in this matter does not go unnoticed. Thank you for being you.

The second thing I noticed when abroad was that it was totally normal for restaurants to have items on the menu that they did not have in the restaurant. In the US, you may be told a restaurant is out of something you want once a year. Abroad, it’ll probably be once a meal. However, this may be changing in America too because of the push to source locally and farm to table and all that, but there are so many chains here it will probably always apply.

I think this is because the restaurants abroad actually use seasonal/unfrozen products, and people generally have no problem being told no. Americans, on the other hand, will write a scathing yelp review before the words “Sorry, we’re out” completely leave the waiters lips.

 

The People

Ok, the last thing on my list of American’s weird and terrible and great and strange dining habits (whatever this blog post turned into) is that there are noooo pushy sales people in restaurants in America. Phone stores? Sure. Car dealerships? Definitely. However, restaurants are generally a customer service dream. I found when I was abroad (mostly in the most touristy places) that peoples’ sole job was to come up to me on the street and try to shove a menu in my hand while convincing me to eat in their restaurant.

N O. Respect my personal space. This is the fastest way to make sure I never eat there cause the second I see you approaching I WILL run to avoid conversation. I appreciate the American people’s total disinterest in me until I am actively seated at a table.

 

Wow. Ok. This got really long. But the truth of the matter is that America’s dining culture is frickin’ weird and the world needs to know.  Nonamericans, do you notice these practices when you travel to the US? Americans, what do you think when you eat abroad and it’s totally different? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments below!

All my love,
Di

 

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The Complete Dayton Brewery Guide

It’s about time for a complete Dayton brewery guide. I’m home from the holidays, and have made it my mission to visit, review, and let you know about not just the best breweries in Dayton, but ALL the breweries in Dayton. That meant visiting five in one day (for research of course) and creating and cataloguing a list of the rest that are outside of downtown. If you’re ready to drink local, this Dayton brewery guide has everything you need to know.

 

Location: Downtown Dayton

There are six breweries in downtown Dayton, and five of them are within walking distance of each other. Uber downtown to hit the first one and create your own local Dayton brew crawl by walking to the rest. If you want to visit all six, I recommend hitting ’em in this order…

 

Carillon Brewing Company

Ok, let’s start with the outlier. This is the only one not within walking distance of the others on my Dayton brewery guide, so it should be either first or last on your list.

Where: 1000 Carillon Boulevard, Dayton, OH 45409
I recommend: Checking this out if you’re a history buff, because they make beer with the same equipment and recipes as they did in historical Dayton.
Learn more here

Why you should visit: The Carillon Brewing Company is located in the beautiful Carillon Historical Park, which makes it a perfect day trip all on its own. Walk around the grounds and museum, and then visit the Carillon Brewing Company for lunch or dinner and a couple pints. Just be warned, though, the only house brews here are sour beer… it’s worth trying, but definitely is an acquired taste!

Next: Drive to Fifth Street Brewpub to start your walking tour of Dayton’s breweries

 

Fifth Street Brewpub

Where: 1600 E 5th St, Dayton, OH 45403
I recommend: Start your walking brewery tour of Dayton here! Also, try the mint cookie stout.
Learn more here

Why you should visit: This pub is unique because it’s in a restored house, and because it is a nonprofit organization. The pub is run as a co-op, so you can buy ownership with a one time fee of $125 and receive discounts for the rest of your life. The Fifth Street Brewpub regularly holds charity events and donates to local organizations, and any leftover profits at the end of the year are invested back into the bar. It’s great because not only do they do good, but they also brew good. We tried eight of their nine home brews on tap, and they were all delicious. My favorite was definitely the mint cookie stout! Sooooo tasty, and perfect for the holidays.

Next: walk 13 minutes to Toxic Brew Company

 

Toxic Brew Company

Where: 431 E 5th St, Dayton, OH 45402 (the Oregon District)
I recommend: Visiting this if you’re only going to one, because of its awesome location in the historic Oregon District
Learn more here

Why you should visit: This brewery is in the heart of the Oregon district, so it’s super convenient to visit, and usually has a pretty chill ambiance. I like it because their house brewed beers are good, and they also serve some other local beers as well as meads, wine, and mixed drinks. So, it definitely has something for everyone. There’s also free popcorn and boardgames to play, which is always great. If you’re visiting the historic Oregon district, definitely don’t miss Toxic Brew!

Next: Walk 7 minutes to Warped Wing Brewing Company

 

Warped Wing Brewing Company

Where: 26 Wyandot St, Dayton, OH 45402
I recommend: Ermal’s Vanilla & Cranberry Cream Ale was my favorite, but I also enjoyed the Piroque Black with Coffee, 10 Ton Tiramisu Stout, and trying their Esther’s Lil Secret Winter Ale made with Esther Price chocolates!
Learn more here

Why you should visit: Warped Wing is located in a giant industrial building and has a cool ambiance. It was named after Dayton locals Orville and Wilber Wright’s invention of a flexible “warped wing” for their airplanes, the missing link that allowed them to be the first in flight (and no, North Carolina can’t claim them no matter how badly they want to.) The super high ceilings and large windows in Warped Wing make it the perfect place to day drink. You can also see back into the brewery itself, and even take tours for $10 on Sunday afternoons. Warped Wing Brewery is great because their branding has a super old school cool retro Dayton look, and they had 20 of their own beers on tap. It was interesting to try some very unique brews!

Next: Walk four minutes to the Dayton Beer Co.

 

Dayton Beer Company

Where: 41 Madison St, Dayton, OH 45402
I recommend: Visiting in the summer to enjoy the outdoor beer garden, and also bringing your pup along to their dog-friendly outdoor patio
Learn more here

Why you should visit: The Dayton Beer Co. is encouraging the city to “Think Dayton, Drink Dayton” which I absolutely love. They pride themselves on being Dayton’s first local brewery in 50 years. The Dayton Beer Co has a huge selection of beers, from their own home brews (I think there were about 13 on tap when we visited) and from around the state and country. Their coffee beer was one of the best I had tried all day. If you want a large selection and outdoor seating, this is the brewery for you.

Next: Walk 4 minutes to Lock 27 Brewing

 

Lock 27 Brewing

Where: Dayton Dragons Plaza, 329 E. First St. Dayton, Ohio, 45402
I recommend: The ghost pepper beer! It’s super spicy but has a great chocolatey flavor. Also, try the food. The wings, pretzels, and salmon we ate were all amazing.
Learn more here

Why you should visit: This is the second location for Lock 27 Brewing, but they still have the equipment and make their beers in house. They had seven or eight of their own beers on tap, and we tried six of them. The ghost pepper beer was probably the most unique flavor I have ever tasted, and the spice lingered in my mouth for a good couple minutes after each sip. The IPA was also good and not too bitter, which I like. My favorite part of this brewery was the food though. The soft pretzels and dry rubbed wings were both delicious, and the salmon was really flavorful too. If you need to eat, I think this brewery is the one for you.

Next: This is the end of the Dayton brewery tour! You can still check out some other awesome local bars within walking distance, though, listed below…

 

ProtoBuild Bar This is only 3 minutes walking distance from Lock 27 Brewing. My dad really wants me to include this one, because apparently it’s a 3D printing lab and bar all rolled into one? I’m honestly not too sure how it works, but it sounds interesting. Read more about it here, and if you visit comment below to let me know how it is!

Crafted and Cured This bar is near the Oregon District, only a few minutes from Toxic Brew Pub. The bar has 60 beers and ciders on tap, and an old fashioned vintage ambiance. They also have a meat and cheese bar, where they serve delicious charcuterie platters. Finally, you can grab some beers or a bottle of wine to go from their retail selection as well. The food isn’t cheap, but it’s unique, delicious, and presented well. You can learn more about it here… it’s definitely worth checking out in my opinion.

 

 

Ok, these are the six companies that make up my Dayton brewery guide. However, I’m not gonna leave it at just that! I also took the time to track down the names and locations of every brewery within reasonable driving distance, for those of you that are ready to branch out for more. I haven’t been to these yet, but am hoping to check a few more off my list while I’m home for the holidays. Eight more local breweries as listed below, sorted by location.

 

Miamisburg

Star City Brewery Company  319 S 2nd St, Miamisburg, OH 45342  Website

Lucky Star Brewery  219 S 2nd St, Miamisburg, OH 45342  Website

 

Centerville

Heavier Than Air Brewing Co.  497 Miamisburg Centerville Road, Centerville, OH 45459  Website

Lock 27 Brewing (original Location)  1035 South Main Street Centerville, Ohio 45458  Website

 

Springboro

The Crooked Handle Brewing Co.  760 N Main St, Springboro, OH 45066  Website

 

Vandalia

The Hairless Hare Brewery  738 W National Rd, Vandalia, OH 45377  Website

 

Kettering

Eudora Brewing Company  4716 Wilmington Pike, Dayton, OH 45440  Website

 

Yellow Springs

Yellow Spring Brewery  305 Walnut St, Yellow Springs, OH 45387  Website

 

Beavercreek

The Wandering Griffin  3725 Presidential Dr, Beavercreek, OH 45324  Website

 

Well, there you have it. The complete Dayton brewery guide, not just of the best breweries, but all the breweries. Cause if you’re a beer lover like me, I know you’re gonna want to try them all! Do a walking tour of the five breweries downtown, or take a short trip to hit up the rest. As always, comment below to let me know what you think!

All my love,
Di

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