New Puerto Vallarta Gay Bar Candy Bar Responds To Protests. Candy Bar a new gay bar at 388 Lazaro Cardenas in Puerto Vallarta’s gay zone celebrated its grand opening January 23, 2021. The new owners decided on a massive remodel of its former location, the Hacienda de Carlota, to be neighborhood friendly. However the neighbor across the street from the bar, the Santa Cruz Church immediately organized protests against the bar. 

GAYPV Magazine reached out to Larry Hackett, one of the new owners to give us an update:

Candy Bar: As you can imagine, opening a new restaurant and bar is challenging at anytime.  Opening one in a pandemic and in another country, well they say it makes you stronger. 

What did you do to make the Candy Bar space unique and a good neighbor? 

Our location is not unique as a restaurant and bar, as it was Hacienda de Carlota for many years.  We did an extensive remodel making a large investment in adding sound proof walls, new roof, air conditioning, dramatic lighting, art murals by local artist Misael,  large sound absorption walls in our garden, and many more beautiful things that catch the eye. 

Did you expect a protest and controversy from the church? 

With this large of a project and investment, the objection of the church and it’s members was quite the surprise. A major mission of  Candy Bar is to provide locals with more job opportunities and help boost the economy during these troubling times. Our owners and staff also wants to express the importance we take to follow Covid regulations. We are nothing different than the previous occupants other then we are part of the LGBQT+ community.  Why that would be upsetting, I don’t know? I mean we are the life of the party, right?

So what is the current status of the bar as a result of the protests?

We are currently open and happy to serve everyone with all safety protocols in place! We want everyone to come taste the rainbow with us! We do not discriminate or segregate to anyone, and do not support anyone that does! But we must say many of our neighbors have been amazing and very supportive of us!

Has the city placed any restrictions on you since the protests? We have zero restrictions on us !

We do not want to be classified in any specific way (gay or straight) we want everyone to join the new adventure! The future is very bright for us! We welcome everyone to come tour, the artwork alone is worth a tour!

Why did you choose Puerto Vallarta as the location for Candy Bar? 

We had looked at several other locations, but fell in love with this one!  After coming to Puerto Vallarta for 20+ years, falling in love with the people, the architecture, we knew we wanted to be a part of the community.  Once the location was found, Candy Bar was born. 

How did the name Candy Bar get chosen? 

The name lends to so many fun things!  Just like real candy comes in many shapes, sizes, and flavors, we applied the same idea to the restaurant and bar.  The idea is to have an ever evolving menu and theme. Every time you join us there’s something new to discover for everyone!