Las Pulgas is “el mejor lugar para bailar (the best place to dance),” according to their slogan. It is known as one of the bars that sell the most beer in all of Latin America; beers cost less than $1 each. Open 24/7, Las Pulgas is a sizeable club for norteño, narcocorridos, and more banda music. It’s a staple of the nightlife in downtown Tijuana. Thousands attend daily.
Wild night at Las Pulgas
Customers fight, throw bottles
On Saturday morning, around 3:20 a.m. while Grupo Codiciado played their show, Las Pulgas turned to the best place for a drunken royal rumble. A viral video shared by a reporter for Grupo Healy, José Ibarra, shows the moment the fight starts to get out of control in a melee that included women. Beer and liquor bottles flew in all directions. Some fled the scene covering their heads while others threw punches, chairs, and bottles at anyone.
There was no one detained or severely injured, according to authorities.
“I was there on the above area,” commented Redditor with the username KikoGM. “It started downstairs as a small bar fight but it quickly grew when people started throwing bottles from the second floor. I came all the way from San Francisco, and I only got to see half the show.”
I reached out to the KikoGM for more details and he replied with the following:
“I live in San Jose, my wife and I are from Tijuana and our whole family is there. We visit frequently. We used the excuse of the concert to spend the weekend over there.
"The concert began at 2 am. That’s when Grupo Codiciado, the main event, started. They sang for about an hour and some. I took a video of the fight and the time stamp is at 3:26 am. This was my first time in Las Pulgas, so I thought they were going to remove the trouble makers and the show would go on. The problem was that there were only waiters there shining their flashlights and asking for people to calm down. From the second floor, I couldn’t see any cops or guards.
"The band stopped singing and asked the public to calm down. It seemed things were going to get better. But as soon the music started so did los madrazos (the fight).
"Once the fight started again, they turned all the lights on. That’s when we saw it was ten times worse what we thought. Bottles started flying from the left of the stage from the second floor and then bottles flew back from downstairs towards the second floor. We were with family and friends and my wife said we should leave. We left without any trouble, the other rooms didn’t even notice there was a fight going on at the main stage.”
KikoGM signed the message simply as David.
Despite the brawl, Las Pulgas continued to operate as usual in the other sections of the club. The club is so big that it has several linked rooms playing different music, each with its own crowd of hundreds or thousands of people.
I have been in the club a handful of times, and I’m always in awe of how massive it is and how much beer flies from the bar in iced buckets. It is quite the site to observe hundreds of drunk people leaving the club as the sun is rising. Several immediately turn the corner and head to Hotel Ticuan.
It wasn’t until 7:30 p.m. of that same Saturday, 16 hours after the brawl, that police arrived to shut down Las Pulgas. The police closed Avenida Revolución between 7th and 8th Street for a few hours as they cleared the club of the hundreds of clients inside. The 24/7 dancing club closed its doors at around 10:30 p.m. Orange stickers that read “Clausurado” (closedown) were placed on the big white iron curtains.
It was not clear why the government shut it down. The fire department cited the club for not having extinguishers, some blocked emergency exits, and exposed wires that could cause a fire. Nothing related to the brawl. The lawyer of the club quickly reprimanded the government’s shutdown in an open letter posted on their Facebook. page.
On Monday afternoon, workers were removing the orange “Clausurado” stickers. After paying an undisclosed fine, Las Pulgas re-opened its doors on Tuesday.