el batey

i almost have no words for this place. i don't even know where to start.

my boyfriend and i discovered this bar in old san juan, on a night we were trying to keep ourselves awake to beat jetlag and the restaurant in our hotel was closed. as soon as we walked in i was in heaven. it was like we were on the set of the coolest f*cking movie ever made. like, if this design were a recipe it would be one of those that only has a handful of ingredients but it's the best thing you've ever tasted. unintentional and effortless, oozing history and experience.

when we arrived there were only four other people, one of them an old man who would make his way behind the bar from time to time to turn the music up when his song came on the juke box and three others who just smoked their cigarettes to the butt and asked the bartender to hold their spot when they got up to go to the bathroom. a couple tourists fell inside, realized this wasn't the "senor frogs" they were looking for, and left.

we only stayed for a bit but it was the best.

oh, and this was playing.

photos: j. kurtz