While the bigger cities obviously have the higher concentration of places to drink, you can pretty much get a drink anywhere – restaurants are almost always licensed, as are gas stations and corner stores (unless run by Evangelicals, in which case there will be no alcohol whatsoever). While alcohol consumption is certainly not frowned upon, public drunkenness is.
The Big Night Out
Guatemalans love going out and you shouldn't have any trouble finding a place to grab a beer wherever you are in the country. The only question remains where. Generally speaking, you can go anywhere without too much trouble, but you should be aware that there are some significant differences in the way that nightspots get named.
Cantinas Generally the roughest of the establishments – this is where you go to get falling-down drunk while listening to Mexican cowboy music. It's an all-male atmosphere, and while women are most certainly welcome, they probably won't feel comfortable.
Bars This is a tricky one. In big cities, a bar can be exactly what you imagine it to be – a place with music, mixed drinks and a mixed crowd. In smaller towns, however, a bar generally has the same atmosphere as a cantina, except it doubles as a brothel.
Nightclubs 'Nigthclubs' (as most of these places would have it) are not at all the same as they are back home; these places are basically strip joints, with prostitutes working.
Discotecas More what we think of when we say nightclub; they have big dance floors, dress codes and sometimes charge an entry fee.
Fancy a Brew?
Traditionally, if you fancied a beer in Guatemala you had two choices – either Gallo or Cabro, with both of them made by Cerveceria Nacional, the country's monopolistic brewer. Things have started to change in recent years, however, and Guatemala has a small but growing craft-beer scene.
The arrival of Brahva, made by the world's biggest brewing company, in 2012 started to prise open the doors. Brahva is about as un-crafty as you can get, but while Gallo slugged it out with the new player, several local microbreweries sprang up to try their luck. Working in a grey legal area and short on technical supplies, innovators like Quetzaltenango's much-missed Xelita brewery showed what could be with a bit of vision.
Today, players like El Principe Gris in Guatemala City, Antigua Cerveza and the Antigua Brewing Company are broadening the beer palates of the country – often literally bar-by-bar, as they help install CO₂ supplies and other hard-to-locally-obtain equipment. And if imitation is the best form of flattery, then even the Cerveceria Nacional has finally got in on the act, producing dark ale under the Moza brand.