Irish Pub, Zona Rosa: Underwhelming
I accept its a bit corny going into an Irish bar on the other side of the world as first stop on a night out in a city. I have found it to be useful though to get a feel for a place as there is usually other English speakers there. This place isn't up to much though. Its all geared towards getting people sat down, indeed most of the seating is outside next to the pavement. The layout of the place and the way it is all set up, there's minimal scope for the likes of standing around the bar and mingling and talking with people that way.
The prices are a nonsense in terms of what they charge for such simple things as a rum and a mixer, profits must be good in this place. The extortionate prices are inline with what I was paying when I was in Dublin for New Year. Apart from the prices and a few Guinness logos there is nothing about this bar that has any sort of feel I'd expect to have from an Irish Bar.
Personally, I wouldn't bother.
Zona Rosa: General thoughts on Zona Rosa
Pretty much anywhere you look for info re Bogota nightlife, Zona Rosa comes up as being among the most popular if not the most popular area to go.
I went to a few places and had a look in a lot more. Its certainly very popular on Friday and Saturday nights. Places all seemed to close no later than three. While I met some nice people and had a pleasant enough time, I am not sure I get what the fuss is all about. I suspect Bogota has much more to offer elsewhere in terms of nightlife. The reason I say that is that pretty much all of the bars I was in look like they rolled off some factory production line. For example there's a bunch of places that bill themselves as beer bars. I reckon if you were to remove the different logos and the like from each (eg the Bogota Beer Co signs there, the Guinness signs etc from the Irish bar and so on, they would all look exactly the same. I have similar thoughts on the bars that were playing contemporary music and salsa. It just all feels like some sort mass marketed profit obsessed vision someone had rather than any sort of real taste of the spirit of Bogota.
Prices are very much Western.
If you are taking a cab there, ask to dropped off at a restaurant at Calle 82 called Wok. There's a tourist police tent right next to it so if the cabby tries to to take the mickey with the cab fare, just ask the police to get involved.
Las Galerias: Lots of people, lots of places
I went out in Zona Rosa a couple of times. On both occasions I met some people from Colombia in a bar and when Zona Rosa closed around 3 am, they whisked me off to this area. It seemed busy. I'm not really sure where it was but from a quick look on the net it seems to be at Carrera 27 between Calles 51 and 52.
The Zona Rosa, near the shopping mall Centro Andino and the Parque 93 are good areas to have a night out. Many restaurants, bars, dicotheques. Safe areas.
In Parque 93 a nice cafe is Cafe Renault and opposite it, across the park is Restaurant El Gato Negro (Black Cat); not "cheap": I payed 50 euros for an exquisite lunch for 2 including some glasses of wine.
Another nice area is La Calera, up in the mountains surrounding Bogota and with a nice view over the city.
Updated February 2011.
Heibredo: one very cool place for a hot drink
You could easily spend your evenings having a few beers at one of the local restaurants and probably have a more down to earth authentic experience but the truth is there are lots of different types of places for nightlife in Bogota ranging from discos and salsa dance clubs to trendy cafes. Despite some of them being quite pricey, they are full of locals. The truth is there are a lot of well to do people in the country's capital. While I tend to stay away from such places it is sometimes nice to indulge yourself. You will pay a lot more for a given beverage but compared to drinking in a similar place back home, it's still a bargain. We saw a very cute little place while walking around Candelaria and noticed they had canelazo. We had been exposed to this hot alcoholic beverage in Quito a few years earlier and decided this looked like a nice place to have one.
Heibredo had a warm feel to it and with a Christmas tree in the corner, it was the perfect place to spend the day after New Years. There was a cozy fireplace and comfy couch to sit on. With low lighting, it was quite romantic. The canelazo was good size and strong. It is made of heated agua de panelo (sugar cane paste with water) and aguadiente (a licorice-based alcohol). It is perfect on a cool evening and great in front of a Christmas tree much like Gluehwein in Germany. It was 1300 COP or $6.50 for the two drinks. As perfect as the downstairs was we could not understand why everyone that came in went upstairs, leaving the cozy little spot entirely for us but on going up to use the restroom we discovered that the upstairs was great as well and quite busy. There were bigger tables low to the ground with cushions for people to sit on. We thought we might go back on our return to Bogota but wound up making our own canelazo back at the hostel and drinking it outside in our little courtyard which was very nice too.Related to:
- Beer Tasting
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
GOOD PLACES: NIGHTLIFE SPOTS
Bogota is a huge sprawling metropolis of close to 7,000,000 people. As you can imagine, Bogota is not lacking in places to party. There are literally hundreds of night spots in Bogota, though most of the best are concentrated in Zona ´T´, La Candelaria, Zona Rosa and Usaquen. Gathering the info for this post was tough work believe me, but here we go, the Best of Bogota Nightlife.
1. Best Bogota Nightclub – Cinema is what I would call an institution. Every major city in the World has one and as far as Bogota is concerned, this is it! Cinema has been cranking out beats in Bogota for over 10 years and the newly remodeled space is absolutely beautiful. World class DJ´s from the U.S. and Europe call Cinema home when they are in Bogota. There may be some ´Rope burn´, so come late but dressed to impress.
2. Best Bogota Pub – With two absolutely amazing locations in Bogota, this choice was easy for us. London Calling is, you guessed it, an English-themed pub with a great selection of beers from around the world and from their own on-site brewery. But London Calling is not your typical hole-in-the-wall pub. Both locations are beautifully decorated and are large enough for a dance floor and live music on the weekends. If you´re lucky enough not to get pummeled by two drunk hooligans watching ManU v Liverpool, you just might want to go back.
3. Best Bogota Lounge – Although I hate the name (there must be a Prive now in every small town in America), it is tough to argue with the simplicity of the design and the stiffness of the cocktails at Privé Lounge. We had a great time sampling all of the beautiful lounges in Bogota, but we loved the way Privé manages to pull off the upscale vibe with a very low-profile design. How are the ladies? This is Colombia, how do you think they are?
4. Best Bogota Late Night Restaurant – I will probably get some negative responses for my selection of this one. But it´s my blog. If you want to create your own ´Best of Bogota´list, feel free! I chose Danzashi as the Best Late Night Restaurant in Bogota. If you love sushi as much as I do, you will not find a better restaurant in Bogota. Not only that, but they play killer house music and if you´re not a fan of sushi, you can always lounge on one of the many leather couches and watch the beautiful women stuff their faces with raw fish and mojitos.
5. Best Bogota Place for Picking Up – No, it´s not necessary to have a Colombian Cupid account and an Internet connection to meet girls in Bogota. In fact, its actually quite easy. My crew and I hit what seemed like every little bar in Bogota and we got slapped around more times than Larry, Moe and Curly combined. But, all was not lost and in the end we came away with what we believe to be the best Bar for meeting single women in Bogota. Scirocco reminds me of the bars I used to hit when I lived in New York. This is a first class lounge with a VIP section on the second floor. Find a way to get in there, and your chances of hooking up that girl on the cover of SoHo magazine just went up. Good luck!
6. Best Adult Venue – If you have small children hovering over your shoulder, you might want to give them a ´time out´while you read through these next two beauties. Actually, if you are reading this and have kids you might as well wake up, I seriously doubt you´ll be making it to Colombia anytime soon. Again, after weeks of fighting it out in the trenches, we have concluded that the best Adult Venue in Bogota is El Castillo Nightclub. El Castillo is really more like an adult amusement park than a strip bar. Aside from the huge discoteca with elevated runway, El Castillo offers several options for those patrons who want to be entertained in private. Now I have personally never been beyond the main room, but rumor has it that El Castillo comes equipped with a gym, turkish baths, sauna, jacuzzi, casino, private bar and several luxury suites. God I love Colombia!
7. Best Bogota Escort Service – In Choosing the Best Escort Service in town we solicited the help of a man who is widely considered the foremost expert on the professional women of Bogota (thanks Mike). Thank God we have yet to need one of these services, but we understand that some of you might find this topic interesting. And the winner is Colombia VIP Escorts. Enough said.
8. Best Bogota Live Music Venue – Believe it or not, Bogota actually has some great places to enjoy a live show. If I were giving honorable mentions, this catagory would have several. There are many great small venues which have regular live bands. But for us, the Best Live Music Venue in Bogota is el Teatro Metro. Teatro Metro is a Bogota classic and seats crowds of up to 1,500 people. The biggest bands don´t play here, but watching a show here is really something special.
9. Best Bogota First Date Bar – Let´s face it. First dates are a nightmare, especially when the only phrases you know in Spanish are ´otra cerveza, por favor´y ´cuanto cuesta los buffalo wings´. This is why we had a hard time deciding on the winner in this catagory. I know its weak but decided to give a tie for the Best First Date Bar. The first bar is Mink. We chose this bar because it is quiet and romantic and provides the perfect opportunity to work on your Spanish and really get to know the lovely young thing sitting across the table. Tying for first place in this catagory is El Patron, a death metal bar named after Pablo Escobar himself. As many of you know, many young women in Bogota get frustrated if they cannot communicate with their potential suitor. I have seen this horror show play out first hand on many occasions and have witnessed more than one ´sure thing´crash and burn do to a “lack of communication”. This is why we chose the loudest bar in Bogota as the co´winner in this catagory. If your date can´t hear you, she won´t be able to tell that you speak absolutely no Spanish whatsoever.
10. Best Bogota Sports Bar – If you´re tired as hell of ESPN en Espanol and want a place to enjoy some Monday Night Football (in English) head down to … well Hooters of course! If you don´t mind dropping $25 to fill up on dry buffalo wings then Hooters Bogota is the place for you. Enjoy the scenery and the many large 36 inchers positioned strategically around the room (I´m referring to the flat screens buddy). Should your bets not pan out, there is always the friendly Hooters staff and plenty of alcohol on hand to help ease your pain.Related to:
- School Holidays
- Casino and Gambling
- Women's Travel
North of Bogotá: Zona T / 93's Park at North
Malls, casinos, money exchange, car rentals, bars, pubs, transmilenio, taxi, bus station, and economical prated furnished apartments on the surroundings.
Located to the north of the city between calles 79 and 85 and carreras 11 and 15, near Andino Mall. At night the sector becomes the most exclusive meeting, fun and party place in Bogotá. Discotheques, bars and restaurants are ideal places for dancing, friendly encounters, romantic dates or business meetings.
Commercial stores offer all type of decorative objects, antiques, brand and informal clothes and artisan jewelry. Facing Andino Mall parking lot exit the “T Zone”, brick paved pedestrian passage housing restaurants, cafés, stores and jewelries with attractive exhibition windows and a mobile gallery exhibiting photographs. The next carrera is the Fashion Street or Sun Street, where great Colombian designers have their shops.
PARK OF 93
Calles 93 A to 93 B between Carrera 11A and 13
Located in one of the most exclusive areas of the city, is northern youngsters’ preferred park.
A great variety of restaurants, Internet cafes, bars and ice cream parlors concentrate in the area.
As many other parks in the city, serves as several cultural events scenario in the course of the year. At night the area is filled with noise and music. Park restaurants menus offer food from all over the world.
The park has green areas, native species arborization such as urapanes, Sabana rubber trees and was palm trees from Quindío; child games and water fountain.
Near this commercial center, between calles 111 and 116 and carrera 7th an important business center developed with modern buildings housing prestigious multinational companies, banks, high tech buisness and some hotels. The sector absorbed former Usaquén town urban center. You will find a great variety of restaurants and places dedicated to artisan object sale. On 116 Santa Fe Foundation Clinic and several medical centers and laboratories in the surroundings.
The historical Centre has been the main character and witness all along city life. The area concentrates most historical and cultural attractions of interest, mainly dating from colonial times. Such valuable wealth includes numerous churches, museums, homes, plazas, small squares, and buildings of great architectural and urban interest. Traditionally, public power branches of the Nation and the city have their offices in that area. La Candelaria neighborhood, located to the east of Historical Downtown, preserves the remembrance of a small village, and was large metropolis cradle. Narrow steep streets, large houses with colonial roofs and eaves, were the cradle and home of Creole Spanish aristocracy.
The sector currently concentrates museums housing rich historical and cultural legacy. Also Shrines of interest such as Our Lady or Carmen Sanctuary and San Ignacio Church, cultural scenarios such as Colon Theatre, and theatre groups, i.e. La Candelaria, Teatro Libre and Teatro Taller de Colombia. Cultural life is intense; streets, plazas and small squares provide space for multiple artistic and popular tradition exhibitions.
Universities, such as Externado de Colombia, La Salle, Gran Colombia, Autonomous, Libre and El Rosario; cultural entities as Gilberto Alzate Avendaño and Rafael Pombo Foundations, La Candelaria Corporation, Silva Poetry Home, Colombian Anthropology and History Institute, among many other; artistic workshops, antiquaries and religious articles stores abound.
Historical Downtown institutional centre, located in the lower area, is characterized by grouping buildings used for different national government and Capital District agencies: the Presidency and Congress of the Republic, the Supreme Court of Justice and Mayor Township of Bogotá. Such buildings geographical centre, with the exception of Nariño Palace or Colombian Presidents House is Bolivar Plaza.
The sector groups religious buildings of great interest such as the Primate Cathedral of Colombia and Sagrario Chapel located on Bolívar Plaza, Conception Church and San Juan de Dios Church. Important museums for instance 20th of July Home Museum also known as the Flowerpot House in the northeast corner of the Plaza, and XIX century museums, Popular Arts and Traditions, Francisco José de Caldas Home Museum, Santa Clara Church Museum.Related to:
- Casino and Gambling
- Budget Travel
- School Holidays
Café Negro: Literary Café and Great Music
Bogotá has some of Colombia's best nightlife. Zona Rosa boats the city's most expensive restaurants and nightclubs but it lacks the bohemian charm of La Candelaria. This is where you'll find many traditional places and also eclectic cafés and bars visited by locals, students and artists. Though the area is not the safest late at night (be sure to grab a taxi, especially if you are alone) don't let this dissuade you from soaking up the atmosphere and experiencing the magic of Bogota's nightlife.
I was accompanied by my local friend Iván who wanted to bring me to a place I would like. We walked the streets of La Candelaria looking for something special. Some places changed since his last visit and then he thought of Café Negro. This literary café has two floors with wooden chairs and tables, and a sofa. Most of the walls are painted white with black music notes, others are red. Glass-cases with books hang from the walls. All the books are on sale and you can borrow magazines. Music and lighting create a relaxed atmosphere.
We had delicious canelazo while having a conversation and enjoying the ambience of the place. Time always passes quickly when you have fun. But I had to catch a night bus to Medellín so Iván accompanied me to Platypus. I took a taxi to the bus terminal and he went to a party. At that moment I would rather join him. After all, it was Friday night! :)Related to:
- Wine Tasting
- Beer Tasting
- Arts and Culture
candelaria and parque de la 93: places to stroll
La Candelaria is a good place to stroll about until 10 PM - there are plenty of people in the streets and you'll feel safe. take in the beautiful lit-up colonial buildings. After 10 PM everyone "takes off", and the few peeple around look very dodgy, so it's best to leave immediately, and in a taxi.
Less interesting to stroll about, but safe until late at night, it's the Parque de la 93... with all the clubs and restaurants located around this park, you'll encounter no problems at all. However there are no interesting buildings to be seen.
Dress Code: Dressed, please. Bogota, due to its high elevation DOESget very cold at night. A sweater and a jacket are necessary.
Zona Rosa: Eating out, bars, clubs...
We can highly recommend Zona Rosa, which is Bogota's main nightlife area. There's plenty of bars, resaturants and clubs and also some shopping. It's very nice and also feels very safe with security guards and a lot of people.Related to:
- Study Abroad
- School Holidays
Rock n Jazz Casino: Feeling lucky?
I'm not into gambling, but my buddy Jonathan was feeling lucky one night and he enjoys playing Blackjack so we stopped here for a very brief and unsuccessful try at the tables. It's amazing how quickly a person can lose $200 (like, in about 3 minutes!), but later in the trip, Jonathan avenged himself and won his money back. Security is tight here and there's not much of a scene inside. Just some slots, games and table to play the usual . . . craps, blackjack, poker, etc.
Teatro Colon: Opera, Theater
The Teatro Colon is located next door to the Hotel de la Opera in La Candelaria and has performances of opera, theater and symphony year-round. Most Fridays you can hear the local symphony orchestra (Orquesta Sinfónica de Colombia) play here. I've only seen the interior in pictures on the web, but it looks exquisite. The building was designed by an Italian architect and the theater opened in 1892. Guided tours are offered a few times per day for around $1.50. Students will show you the inside of the theater and give you some historical information in Spanish.
Bogota Beer Company: Cool area
This was one of our first nightlife stops in Bogota and, of course, when I saw the name, I just had to try some local beers. The place is in one of the corners of the park itself (the grassy spot known as Parque 93) and has a cool atmosphere. They had American football on TV and the prices were high for Bogota, but the potential for good beer made it all worthwhile. Unfortunately, I can't say that the beers were anything to brag about, but the fact that they have micro brews here was just kinda cool. Of the few that I tried, I'd have to say that the Montserrate Roja was the best.
Siam is the place you will end up if you are going on a hardcore drinking binge and don't want to pay the exhorbitant prices of Zona Rosa. Prices are about 1,500-2,000pesos a beer.
It is a nightclub of sorts, in an old rundown converted home. It has a covered dancefloor and a large courtyard with a tree, named Monsieur Bucheron, whom likes to be hugged. There is an upstairs area too, mostly reserved for people doing drugs, but all are welcome. There is a hole in the floor upstairs, and the lighting is poor, so beware.
They put on occasional 'parties' hosting international DJ's.
Usually opens by 2am, sometimes later. Goes until whenever.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Beer Tasting
El Toque is a smaller place, but also a very popular place. It can be, and I personally found it to be, very offputting at first due to it being extremely crowded, particularily Friday and Saturday nights. Also the stools are high off the ground and can be fairly difficult to get onto when you're borracho . But after I while I came to love this place and got to know the people working there and made friends with many of the regulars.
Closes at 3am...then everybody goes to Siam.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Beer Tasting
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