24 February 2010

Party in Colombia: My top 5 rumbeaderos in Bogota

Colombia is the only  place in the world in which " rumba" means much more than the musical rythm known as, well..." rumba". Lets see how can we define " rumba" ... a simple translation could be "to party" , but " rumbear"  can also mean:

1) Going out for a drink.
2) Going dancing.
3) Going to a gig.
4) Singing away in a Karaoke.
5) Going to someone's house for a party.
6) 1 + 2 
7) 5 + 4
8) 3 +1 + 2
9) 5 + 1 + 6 + waking up next day in a farm with a killer hangover.
10) 7 + ... well, I guess you get the idea.

So, in the very tough mission of recommending the best 5 places to party or " rumbear"  in Bogota, my home town, the humble writer of this Colombia Travel blog has taken the freedom to  first divide the city in 5 highly recommended night life and party areas for educational reasons, all of them in northerm Bogota where you'll find a lot of options for you to enjoy a nigh out, from salsa or electronic music through a quite glass of black beer.... bars, pubs, restaurants, and coffee shops.... the whole lot.

Bogota's Party Zones

 La Zona T. Located in Calle 83 and Cra 13  is called T because is made of two pedestrian roads which have a T shape. La zona T is a great place to have a few drinks before going to the nearby discos, or just to seat on one of the many terraces to see people walk passed. In la zona T you'll not only find loads of bars and restaurantes one right next door to the other, but also, 3 of the best shopping malls of Bogota: Centro Andino, Atlantis Plaza (with Hard RocK Coffee Bogota) and El Retiro which holds various upscale boutiques such as Lacoste, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Bulgari, Cartier, Loewe and many more.  Most of the bars and restaurants will be open every day of the week, even on mondays and sundays. 

 La zona G. This zone has some of the finest eateries in Bogota. Within a few small blocks you will find plenty of options. The restaurants are more oriented toward fine dining more so than night club type activity. If you want elegant or romantic, this is a good choice. These are five star restaurants such as the internationally reknowned Astrid y Gaston. This area goes from the Calle 69 and Carrera 7 to Calle 72 and Carrera 4.

 Parque de la 93 The 93 is a beautifull park with loads of good mid priced restaurants and bars and some 5 star restaurants too. The 93 is popular for a drink after work, so, during the week you'll see loads of locals wearing ties and meeting their friends for a coffee or a swift half in the pub... gosh that sounds so british. During the weekend is a great place to go for dinner and then dancing. You will find the park on Calle 93 and Carreras 12 and 13.

 Usaquen One of my very favorites.  About 60 years ago, it was only a small town close to Bogota, today is a colonial little pueblo within the big city. Usaquen is located on Calle 119 and Carrera 6 a couple of blocks north of Hacienda Santa Barbara shoping mall. It has the best atmosphere in town with its beautiful colonial houses, some small shops and boutiques. It offers one of the best views of the city with the eastern mountain range as a natural border to the east. It has a variety of restaurants and bars surrounding the traditional town square.  A perfect place to enjoy the sunday flea market and then a nice lunch and a well deserved ice cream for dessert.

Chia. Chia means moon in Muisca, a Chibchan language; its about 20k north of Bogota and is home to the legendary Andres Carne de Res one of our top 5 places to go out in Bogota. Chia is specially popular on weekends where families leave the city looking for fresh air. There are many restaurants and discos.

All right , now that you -hopefully - have a geographic reference , let's go to our main topic:

 Marcela's personal Top 5 Rumbeaderos in Bogota 
(in descending order)

5.Gaira (La Casa de la Cumbia) 

Guillermo Vives, a famous actor and brother of Carlos Vives (a world wide known vallenato singer) brought to Bogota about 6 years ago a place usually known as la Casa de la Cumbia, here you have a wide selection of  traditional home made gourmet  Comida Costena (food from the north coast of Colombia). The actual name is " Gaira" ,  as a tribute to one of the Vives Family's favorite beaches from their beloved Santa Marta area. The combination of traditional food, tropical music and a bright decoration sets the atmosphire to remind you of la costa colombiana.  It may be a good idea to go for a late lunch and stay for the live music and party all night. I would recomend to have a  patacon or a carimanola  (flat plantain or yuca friter). This is a great place to enjoy some  real cumbia and vallenato from the north and if you are very lucky you might listen to Carlos Vives live! Click here for a video of Bomba Estereo and Carlos Vives. If you haven't heard of him he was the one that revived Vallenato and made it famous again.  Great cumbia and vallenato rumba!

4. Full 80's

Although it has been a while since the 80s left us, we have a very cool place in la Avenida 19 with Calle 118 that reminds us of those cool times. This is the perfect place to hear the house clasics form the 80s and to watch in the background things like "Automan", "Chips", "American Super Hero". The deco includes a cool colection of Transformes and Star Wars memorabilia. Full 80s is open from Wednesday to Saturday and Sunday if Monday is a bank holiday. On thursday there is a live band ( the cover is about US$13) My favorite cocktail there is Full 80's consisting of vodka, brandy, vermouth and strawberry juice ( about US$10) ,a beer is about US$4.
3. Bogota Beer Company 

BBC (no relation to the British Bradcasting Corporation) has 10 branches all over the city, you wont miss it even if you wanted to, they're really all over Bogota. I love BBC because is a truly Colombian "pub" (if that is possible). They produce 5 different types of beer,  but i'm only going to tell you about my 3 favorite ones:  1. Chapinero Porter, which is a black london inspired beer; 2. Monserrate Roja (red and a must) and 3. Candelaria Clasica a more traditional lager beer. You can buy your beers in pints, half, jar or the local atraction Jirafas (giraffes) which are a 1 yard long glass full of any beer you want. As for food goes,  they have named some of their starters after some of Bogota's most famous neighborhoods such as  Campin Calamari or Cedritos Chips. 

2. Salto del Angel 

El Salto del Ángel is an enourmous place with lots of terraces and levels and bars and stuff. When going to el salto you must be ready for partying and jumping all nigh long. During the day its a classy restaurant  but when it gets dark its packed with very good looking people going to ‘party”.  I've always had a fantastic time there but it is better if you go within a group. They have live bands almost every weekend and a fantastic DJ that will keep you dancing on your table.

1.Andres Carne de Res 

Well we have reached my top 1! I shouldn’t really write anything about Andres and just say YOU HAVE TO GO AND SEE IT for yourself.
There are no words to describe a night out in Andres. It has such a special atmosphere. Andres is rumba and food Colombia style and really lives to its name ( Andres Beef is an approximate translation) , I have eaten good meat in Buenos Aires and Montevideo but if you want to try some tasty, yammy pice of beef you must go to Andres. And it doesn’t stop there, their fruit juices and friteries are to die for.  Pleases try a Punta de Anca and a portion of Criollitas (tiny yellow fryed potatoes) and a glas of Maracuya juice ( passion fruite) and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

The deco… well… where do I start? . Once you get there,  you are greeted by hundreds of staff members dressed in all sorts of costumes and the first couple of things you’ll see are windmills and winged cows  … then you know you’ve reached Andres.  In side is like a zoo, loco place there are all sorts of antiques and crafts hanged from the ceiling. There are around 23 areas called comedores where you can seat and enjoy your meal. Remember to look for your comedor’s name before going to the toilet, they are usually heart shape and glow in the dark. It is for sure the best rumbeadero (party place) and a must whe you travel to Colombia.

OK, people ..enough is enough ...now that you've read this you have no excuse, if you happen to come to Bogota please try at least 3 of my Top 5 rumbeaderos...and if you happen to do so drop me line..... and if you've already been in Bogota , dont hesitate to comment about YOUR  personal top 5!


Marcela -Colombia Travel

Photo Credits: Full 80s website, Carcajal in Flickr, Cattivik in Flickr, Federico Puyo/Cambio


  1. this is very helpful thank you

  2. Welcome Anonymous,

    I'm glad it was helpful!



  3. Grandioso... ya sé para donde ir cuando valla a Bogotá.
    Espero que visites otras ciudades y nos brindes tu opinión.
    Estaré muy pendiente de tú blog.

    Pdt: Espero que vengas a mi ciudad... Medellín.

  4. Falto uno de los lugares de mayor importancia La Villa - Exchange Events. Cada martes 800 personas acuden a este lugar! Saludos