In the 12 years we have been in Cabo I have met an array of interesting people who have packed up, left their home country and moved to Cabo to enjoy all it has to offer.
The other day I stopped by the Happy Ending Cantina in hopes of learning more about this popular bar in Cabo and how it came to be. I repeatedly noticed reviews on Trip Advisor and wanted to know more. It was mid day and Regine the owner was sitting at a table chatting with a local friend. I was happy to have the opportunity to meet her and to hear about her story and her life in Cabo. She was kind enough to share this story with me so I can share it with you.
|The owners of Happy Ending Cantina, Gene, El Jefe, and Regine, La Jefa, began living in Cabo San Lucas in December 1986 with their five-year-old daughter, Rena, and their one-year-old son, Rex. Shortly after moving to Cabo, Regine learned she was pregnant with twins and Rio and Regine were born in August 1987.
Since 1982, Gene has been a California licensed private detective who has traveled the world conducting international investigations. He specializes in conducting Complex Litigation Investigations and Covert Intelligence Gathering & Analysis.
Gene and Regine visited Cabo San Lucas for the first time in the summer of 1986 and almost immediately fell in love with the lifestyle, weather, people, etc., and seriously considered moving there. Because Rena was beginning kindergarten they began inquiring about the availability of private schools and learned that Cabo’s first private school, “El Camino,” had opened two years earlier. After personally checking out and approving El Camino, they decided to purchase a beach home that was under construction on the best beach in Mexico.
According to Gene and Regine, this was long before Cabo had golf courses, fancy hotels and time share resorts. There were only three flights per week from the USA to Cabo San Lucas. There was only one Pemex Gas Station in Cabo San Lucas and one in San Jose del Cabo. There were only a couple paved streets in Cabo. There were no divided highways, no supermarkets, no shopping centers, no traffic lights and virtually nothing to do but fish or lay on the beach or by the pool. All the beaches were accessible and virtually empty. Everything was inexpensive. Bottles of Corona were only 12 cents each when purchased by the case after paying the bottle deposit. It was a different world back then. It was incredible! In 1986, the only “nightclub” in town was the Giggling Marlin that had been opened by a couple of young American guys in 1985.
Gene and Regine owned three ATVs and three scooters which they brought with them to Cabo. Everyday they would be flagged down by tourists asking them where they had rented it. There were no such rental businesses in Cabo at the time. Although Gene and Regine hadn’t planned on opening a business in Mexico they realized a business opportunity when they saw it. Gene returned to southern California and purchased 60 scooters and 25 ATVs. They purchased the property where Happy Ending is now located and opened “Chubasco’s,” the first scooter, motorcycle and ATV tour company in Mexico. Business was terrific! A couple years later Squid Roe was built, followed by the Melia Hotel on Medano Beach, Pueblo Bonito (Blanco)……and the rest is history.
Rena attended El Camino school through the fifth grade and Rex through the second grade. In 1991, Gene and Regine decided to return to southern Cal so their kids could get an American education. They closed up Chubasco’s, built and rented three stores on the property and moved back to the states. Rena is now a Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles County, Rex and Rio are Police Officers for the City of Los Angeles and Regine works for one of the world’s largest advertising agencies in Los Angeles.
After moving to California in 1991, Gene, Regine and their kids vacationed almost every summer in Cabo San Lucas. They watched, year-after-year, as the prices of almost everything skyrocketed. It was as though Cabo was no longer part of Mexico and had become a beach resort town somewhere in Kauai, Hawaii. They could understand when many tourists told them the prices, from beers to tacos to activities, had become outrageously expensive in many Cabo establishments.
In 2008 Gene and Regine reacquired two of the stores on their property. They decided the property was too valuable to keep as a location for retail stores and decided to build a bar and restaurant. This would be their first endeavor in the bar/restaurant business. They describe the property as being on the “50-yard line” in Cabo’s nightclub zone. One “end zone” has Cabo Wabo and the Giggling Marlin and the other has Squid Roe, the Hard Rock Cafe, Mandala’s and the Pink Kitty.
Happy Ending Cantina opened on October 29, 2008. It’s motto has always been “Bringing Mexican Prices Back to Cabo.” It quickly became one of the most popular bars in Cabo. In August 2010, www.TripAdvisor.com rated it the Number One bar/restaurant among the 169 in Cabo San Lucas. Gene and Regine attribute their “Best Bar in Cabo” status to a variety of factors: They have the most affordable prices in Cabo; Ice cold bottles of Corona and Pacifico are always only $5; A double shot of their super-smooth tequila is always only $1; Or, you can get their “Promo” of 2 beers AND 2 shots for only $5. Everything else is similarly priced. For example, large freshly made margaritas made with Jimidor tequila are always only $5. Gene and Regine proudly proclaim their “No B.S. Pricing Policy” by never offering 2X1, Happy Hour or Ladies Night like so many others.
Happy Ending is the only bar in Cabo that offers Beer Pong and Flip Cup. They actually have 18 regulation size Beer Pong tables as well as pool tables. When the second story is finished, smoking will be permitted upstairs and hookahs will be available. A professional Shuffle Board table, at least 20 feet-long will also be available upstairs. Other fun activities are in the works.
Happy Ending’s bar and four bathrooms are kept spotlessly clean by the cleaning crew from 10:00 am until 3:00 am. Most nights will find a four women cleaning crew hard at work keeping everything immaculate.
Unlike some bars, Happy Ending will never charge a customer for any drink that wasn’t ordered and consumed. You’ll only pay for what you drink and not a peso more.
Gene and Regine only hire the best bartenders and servers in the business and require that all employees follow strict written rules of conduct. A day never passes without customers complimenting the way they’re treated by the employees.
Happy Ending Cantina has become so popular that it’s constantly expanding. A 25 foot-long “Cowgirl Bar” was recently constructed to supplement the original 30 foot- long “Bikini Girl Bar” in order to provide more efficient customer service.
The largest open air palapa roof in Cabo was just completed over the entire property. In a few months construction of Happy Ending’s new 45 foot-long Sky Bar on the second floor, as well as additional bathrooms, will be complete. Cabo’s only professional Shuffle Board table, at least 20 feet in length, as well as hookahs will be available upstairs. Other amenities are in the planning stage.
Regular customers come from practically everywhere: Local Mexicans, Americans and tourists from around the globe. Many well known athletes and celebrities party at Happy Ending every time they visit Cabo. Almost every night bartenders and waiters from other clubs in Cabo come to party at Happy Ending during their free time.
Gene and Regine hope they will be able to personally welcome you to Happy Ending Cantina the next time you visit Cabo San Lucas.
Happy Ending always welcomes suggestions and ideas. Please send your comments directly to Gene, “El Jefe,” at HappyEndingGene@gmail.com, or to Regine, “La Jefa,” at HappyEndingRegine@gmail.com.