In Spain, a cantina is a bar located in a train station or any establishment located at or near a workplace where food and drinks are served.
Cantina was one of the foreign words that entered in from Renaissance Italy. During the 16th century, the Spanish Empire included large holdings in Italy.Luis de Bávia wrote in his Tercera y Cuarta Parte de la Historia Pontifical y Católica (1621): "Perdiéndose en las cantinas y lugares baxos [sic] gran número de mercaderías..." ("Losing itself in the cantinas and places of ill repute a large quantity of merchandise...").
In rural Mexico, a cantina traditionally is a kind of bar frequented by males for drinking alcohol and eating botanas (appetizers). Some cantinas are also known for being places where people gather to play dominoes, cards or other table games. Cantinas can often be distinguished by signs that expressly prohibit entrance to women and minors, as opposed to a club, salon de bailar (dance hall), or salon de mariachi (typified by the Salon Tenampa, at the Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City) which are intended for socializing between the sexes. Also, some cantinas explicitly prohibit entrance to dogs and men in police or military uniform. Some of the traditional restrictions on entry to cantinas are beginning to fade away. However, in many areas it is still viewed as scandalous for proper ladies to be seen visiting a genuine cantina.