Bogotá, for so long a city associated with crime and danger, is now emerging from the ashes of its ruined reputation as one of the most up-and-coming cities in the world. Little wonder, since the infrastructure has always been here, it’s just a case of it being discovered by us foreigners. Bogotá boasts some excellent museums and galleries, great culinary options and over 5000 parks for you to relax in. I’m not interested in that so much today. I’m looking at one of my other favourite pastimes in Bogotá, i.e., going out to enjoy a potent cocktail of 3 shots of great times, a large dose of great clubs and a splash of questionable dancing.
So where do I start? Firstly, of course, in my house. I put on some songs by my favourite Western artists since there’s a good chance the only Western music I’ll hear during the night is Sean Paul and Shaggy. I live in La Macarena, and if you’re looking for a great burger you should check out La Hamburgueseria on Kr. 4a with Calle 28. This is what I’ll do for dinner.
Once I’ve eaten and lined my stomach, I’m ready for my night to begin. I hop on a bus and head to Zona Rosa for some drinks. Zona Rosa can be a bit expensive, and it takes me a little while to get tipsy enough to be comfortable with parting with my hard-earned cash, so I go to one of the cheap bars opposite Burshka (on Cll 83 with Kr 13 you can get a litre of beer for $7,000COL) to enjoy some questionable beer.
Once I’ve loosened up and I’m ready to reach into my pockets I’ll head to one of Bogotá’s pubs, like The Pub, and order a pitcher of Roja with some chums of mine. Here we’ll people watch, try to guess who in the pub is foreign and who is local, and begin to plan where we’ll be heading afterwards. This is where things get difficult because there’s a wealth of options. Two cheap and trendy options are K and Porompompero. If you’re looking to spend a little more money but want the guarantee of great music, try La Villa or Le Coq.
Unlike back home the protocol in Colombia is to all chip in to buy a bottle, usually Aguardiente or rum, and then to share it among everyone. So we head to the bar, buy our bottle, and drink just enough to build enough confidence to dance, just enough to improve my Spanish… But not so much that I forget my English. I might do this at home, but in Colombia getting off-your-face-drunk just isn’t the done thing.
So, I work up a sweat, I dance, I chat, I enjoy myself, and then the club closes at 3am. Maybe though, just maybe, you’re still in the mood to party. What do you do? Well, don’t tell anyone I told you, but there’s actually a couple of after-hours parties available to you. One is Radio Berlin way back down in the centre, opposite the bull-ring. Another is Chinchirra, but you’ll have to do your own research for the direction, since it moves around…
Next day: Bandeja Paisa, the closest you can get to the classic cure for a hangover, the English breakfast.