Vibes & Vices: A Lady Zen Presentation @ El Colibri

Special places attract special people.

Now, understand that it is my personal belief that Puerto Vallarta itself is a special place, but it is also my opinion that there are far too many of the same type of bars in this sunny city by the sea.

El Colibri hopes to break that mold by offering something a little different to those seeking it out.

Where most watering holes try to draw in passerby with promises of cheap domestic beer and all the terrible margaritas you can stomach, El Colibri takes a focus on more eclectic experiences, the latest of which was a poignant presentation by the engaging Lady Zen.

The Vibes: The inside of El Colibri couldn’t have been more different from the outside, an understated storefront on Calle Morelos leading through one door, then another to the interior atrium space where drinks are served and curiosity is stoked. The deep teal green that dominated the space was an inspired complement to the flora that framed it, showing off excellent attention to aesthetics.

Fittingly, stylish co-owner Alex was waiting by the bar to give some background on the El Colibri concept, tapping a keg of craft IPA as he elaborated: “Graham and I really thought this section of the city could use a breath of fresh air, so we thought about sort of an anti-nightclub thing, a tranquil space dedicated to intimate events and conversations. We wanted to create a community, have people feel like they’re part of something worth sharing.”

Looking around the bar, it seemed that the approach was successful. Creatures of the night filtered into the bar backed by the setting Sun, replaced in its role by the soft glow of candles on each table. Lively chatter filled the space as bartender Danny invited me to try the housemade jamaica-infused raicilla.

“We make as much as we can here–the infusions for the spirits, the syrups for the cocktails–and what we can’t produce in house, we source locally. It’s all about building relationships, from suppliers to clientele,” Alex continued. “I’m passionate about the cultural scene here, and we wanted to make a unique contribution to it.”

Judging by the relationship I was quickly forming with the flavored raicilla, they had succeeded.

The Vices: As night fell, the stage was set for the stylings of Lady Zen. In the interest of full disclosure, I wasn’t sure what to expect from her performance…but I suppose that’s exactly what she wanted.

She took her seat at center stage, her chrome orange sneakers blazing in the low flickering light, her floral-print hat a crown of wisdom…clearly this was a woman who had found her own way in life. She opened up with an original poem backed by low-fi R&B, and the room was immediately transfixed by her energy…even the residents of the dwelling next door peered down from their second-floor window overlooking the bar to partake in her presence.

The “Mother of Lyrical Fusion” took a break to draw us in with her perspective as I sipped on a pineapple negroni, a tropical twist on the Italian classic that helped facilitate the receptive state that is so critical to truly appreciating a creative vision. This level of self-actualization simply does not come without a fair bit of adversity, and assembled were fortunate enough to not only be treated to her talents, but the tribulations that helped fuel them.

“I wasn’t always this cool. As a 17 year old girl standing at an LA train station, it took me a while to forgive my parents for kicking me out after I told them I was a lesbian, but today I thank them for it. I credit them for holding strong to their beliefs…they followed their faith, and you have to have faith in something.”

It’s certainly not a sentiment I would share, but certainly one worthy of admiration.

In case her baring her soul to a room full of strangers wasn’t proof enough, the woman was fearless, and it reflected in her next composition. Set to a pensive electronic rhythm, the piece was based on the famous quotation by the Bull Moose himself, Theodore Roosevelt, a speech which I dig so thoroughly I will include it in its’ entirety at the risk of exhausting my word count:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the person who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

Damn right.

The Verdict: If you’re tired of the same brown bottles and cover bands, the distinctive domain of El Colibri definitely delivers. Showcasing the talents of insightful individuals like Lady Zen on some nights and standing as an inviting late-night lounge on others, the newest stop in Centro is set to bring a range of appealing affairs to the slow season. Maybe I’ll catch you there.

& Vices: A Lady Zen Presentation @ El Colibri
Special places attract special people.

Now, understand that it is my personal belief that Puerto Vallarta itself is a special place, but it is also my opinion that there are far too many of the same type of bars in this sunny city by the sea.

El Colibri hopes to break that mold by offering something a little different to those seeking it out.

Where most watering holes try to draw in passerby with promises of cheap domestic beer and all the terrible margaritas you can stomach, El Colibri takes a focus on more eclectic experiences, the latest of which was a poignant presentation by the engaging Lady Zen.

The Vibes: The inside of El Colibri couldn’t have been more different from the outside, an understated storefront on Calle Morelos leading through one door, then another to the interior atrium space where drinks are served and curiosity is stoked. The deep teal green that dominated the space was an inspired complement to the flora that framed it, showing off excellent attention to aesthetics.

Fittingly, stylish co-owner Alex was waiting by the bar to give some background on the El Colibri concept, tapping a keg of craft IPA as he elaborated: “Graham and I really thought this section of the city could use a breath of fresh air, so we thought about sort of an anti-nightclub thing, a tranquil space dedicated to intimate events and conversations. We wanted to create a community, have people feel like they’re part of something worth sharing.”

Looking around the bar, it seemed that the approach was successful. Creatures of the night filtered into the bar backed by the setting Sun, replaced in its role by the soft glow of candles on each table. Lively chatter filled the space as bartender Danny invited me to try the housemade jamaica-infused raicilla.

“We make as much as we can here–the infusions for the spirits, the syrups for the cocktails–and what we can’t produce in house, we source locally. It’s all about building relationships, from suppliers to clientele,” Alex continued. “I’m passionate about the cultural scene here, and we wanted to make a unique contribution to it.”

Judging by the relationship I was quickly forming with the flavored raicilla, they had succeeded.

The Vices: As night fell, the stage was set for the stylings of Lady Zen. In the interest of full disclosure, I wasn’t sure what to expect from her performance…but I suppose that’s exactly what she wanted.

She took her seat at center stage, her chrome orange sneakers blazing in the low flickering light, her floral-print hat a crown of wisdom…clearly this was a woman who had found her own way in life. She opened up with an original poem backed by low-fi R&B, and the room was immediately transfixed by her energy…even the residents of the dwelling next door peered down from their second-floor window overlooking the bar to partake in her presence.

The “Mother of Lyrical Fusion” took a break to draw us in with her perspective as I sipped on a pineapple negroni, a tropical twist on the Italian classic that helped facilitate the receptive state that is so critical to truly appreciating a creative vision. This level of self-actualization simply does not come without a fair bit of adversity, and assembled were fortunate enough to not only be treated to her talents, but the tribulations that helped fuel them.

“I wasn’t always this cool. As a 17 year old girl standing at an LA train station, it took me a while to forgive my parents for kicking me out after I told them I was a lesbian, but today I thank them for it. I credit them for holding strong to their beliefs…they followed their faith, and you have to have faith in something.”

It’s certainly not a sentiment I would share, but certainly one worthy of admiration.

In case her baring her soul to a room full of strangers wasn’t proof enough, the woman was fearless, and it reflected in her next composition. Set to a pensive electronic rhythm, the piece was based on the famous quotation by the Bull Moose himself, Theodore Roosevelt, a speech which I dig so thoroughly I will include it in its’ entirety at the risk of exhausting my word count:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the person who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

Damn right.

The Verdict: If you’re tired of the same brown bottles and cover bands, the distinctive domain of El Colibri definitely delivers. Showcasing the talents of insightful individuals like Lady Zen on some nights and standing as an inviting late-night lounge on others, the newest stop in Centro is set to bring a range of appealing affairs to the slow season. Maybe I’ll catch you there.

AJ Freeman on Email
AJ Freeman
AJ Freeman is an adventurous spirit, serial friendmaker, and general enthusiast. He lives his everyday life hoping to demonstrate the nearly infinite potential for discovery and wonder on this small wet rock orbiting a dim yellow star in the backwoods of the Milky Way.