“Hot can be cool, and cool can be hot, and each can be both. But hot or cool, man, jazz is jazz.” Louis Armstrong
Think about nightlife in Cabo San Lucas and most conjure up images of loud,
booming clubs with people packed in like sardines and lots of booze poured by
equally loud and booming bartenders. Perfect if you want to get out and go a little
bit nuts. But sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes what
you’re looking for is cool, or hot, or a maybe a little bit of both. Someplace far from
the madding crowd. Someplace where hot is sexy and cool is hotter yet.
Tucked into a corner of the Costa Real Hotel in downtown Cabo San Lucas is a place
where cool flows as freely as wine – Sancho Panza Wine Bistro & Nightclub. Here you
will find what is considered by many to be music in its highest form… jazz. Whether
it’s smoky and suggestive, wild and rhythmic or flavored with Latin spice, jazz is the
main course at this casual yet upscale establishment.
Owner and host Ron Kleist created Sancho Panza about nine years ago and opted to
use Don Quixote’s venerable squire as its namesake. Sancho’s claim to fame was his
insatiable pursuit of food and drink, and although not part of the writings of
Cervantes, I suspect that good music was also the prey in many of his hunts. Much
like Sancho, Ron has always sought to satisfy his cravings for good food, drink and
music and his restaurant and nightclub benefit from Ron’s years of search and
Open seven days a week from four in the afternoon with live music starting at eight,
Sancho Panza brings a more relaxed and intimate setting for dinner, wine tasting,
cocktails and entertainment. Choose to sit inside at the bar or at one of many well-
trimmed tables, or outside where tables line the walkway and a welcoming sea
breeze awaits. A hot summer night usually moves the band outside and the walls of
the Costa Real provide for remarkably good acoustics.
Recently, one such summer night found us joining friends Lori and Craig Harrison at
an outside table for a Wednesday wine-tasting event. The tasting showcased a
wonderful assortment of Australian wines from Rosemount vineyards. The decision
was made to sample a selection of appetizers from a delightfully extensive list. The
menu at Sancho Panza Wine Bistro is based on Mediterranean bistro cuisine with a
Latin American influence. Some of our favorites included; Tuna Carpaccio, Porcini
Mushroom Fondue, Steamed Mussels and Calamari in Ajillo Chile. Each paired well
with the tasting selections for the evening with the 2004 Rosemount Cabernet-
Shiraz being our groups decided star.
Having perused the entire menu, a return visit is already on our books for our next
trip to Los Cabos. Entrees feature such diverse dishes as Lamb Shank Osobuco,
Latin Pork Tenderloin, Sea Bass with Cherry Tomatoes and Wild Mushrooms and
Blackened Tuna Steak. The menu changes frequently with seasonal availability
playing a major role. Ron utilizes many chef-consultants in the planning of the
menu and development of new dishes. Most recently, Chef Rafael Luquin has been
brought in to augment the already impressive offerings. Luquin has studied and
practiced culinary arts around the globe including; The Culinary Institute of America
in San Francisco, Napa and New York; abroad in France, Spain and Italy; as sous chef
at the Four Seasons London; and has also worked as private chef for celebrities like
Barbara Streisand, Paul McCartney and Rod Stewart. The caliber of people Ron
brings in to assist in making his kitchen the best it can be speaks volumes.
Sancho Panza enhances their calendar of events with; the Sancho Panza Classic Car
Show; Belly Dancers; Art Shows; Wednesday Night Wine Tasting and winery events.
Future plans call for charity events and more of Mexico’s and Latin America’s best
Whether your visit to Los Cabos is your first or fiftieth, you owe it to yourself to
spend an evening with Ron and his guests, especially if jazz is your thing. Ron’s
carefree attitude and effervescent personality are at the very least, infectious, and if
leaving at the end of night with a smile on your face and a tune in your head sounds
good to you, Sancho Panza’s is as hot, or cool, as it gets!