Lleras is perhaps the first name on any traveller’s lips. It is a hub of gringos and gringo hunters alike with international cafés, bars and restaurants. Look out for the BBC (Bogota Beer Company) and Havana in the main square. Here you will also find a couple of great restaurants. My personal favourite bar is Eco Bar, which plays rock music. Its seats and tables are made from tree stumps outside by a flowing river. Nextdoor sits Tinto Tintero, a quiet, romantic affair with live music and great wine.
If Lleras is a little superficial for your liking, Parque Poblado is a bohemian alternative. You can walk between the two party hubs in a few minutes. Spot students and hipsters sitting in circles on the floor between the arches of bars and shops. In the middle of the park, sit with a few cheap beers bought from vendors and watch street entertainment. Look out for the vegetarian pizza restaurant called Zorba. It is set in a cave and has a rustic vibe. There is often live music too.
This is the road that leads from Poblado Station up to the two aforementioned party zones. It is packed with bars and small shops selling beer. There are also many bars along parallel roads as you walk up La 10. A traveller hotspot is a place called Calle 9 + 1, which usually plays electronic music but occasionally puts on sets of rock. It gets very busy on Friday and Saturday nights, full of Gringos and Colombian hipsters.
Away from the bright lights of Poblado, find the even brighter lights of La 70. While hints of international music remain, such as the small Punto 70 at the end of the street, this is a much more authentic Latino zone. There are families out until after midnight at some of the more relaxed bars – though relaxed does not mean quiet – Colombians like their music LOUD! Dance to Vallenato music and or practise your Salsa moves in this neighbourhood.
This place can be a lot of fun. It is like a downgraded version of La 70 with a few fast-food joints for burgers and pizza. Watch out for pre-pagos. These are women who seem innocent (well, not really) but turn out to be a more casual kind of prostitute. You might dance with one all night without knowing it and receive a hefty bill! There is a cool rock/heavy metal pub called The Underground. As in most places in Laureles, popcorn and crisp/chip refills are free, so take advantage – you can tell the Gringos by how many bowls they go through in a night!
There are plenty of bars in the centre of town but it can be a bit dangerous at night. You should definitely check out some of the clubs in the hills towards the airport, such as Dulce Jesus Mio. It’s a really unique experience!
One of my favourite hangouts is a place called Villa de Aburra near Los Molinos shopping mall on La 80. It is a small plaza surrounded by shops, cafes and small bars. In the day, video console shops are open – you pay about one dollar or pound for a couple of hours playing the latest FIFA game. At night, locals hang around playing guitar and knocking back beers. There is street-food and a great ambience.
I also like a similar area called Carlos E Restrepo at the end of La 70. It has a more hippy vibe due to its proximity to a university. Arrive early Thursday evenings to enjoy an imaginative market where they sell works of fiction and art.
About the author:
Andrew is a freelance journalist who lives in Medellin. He holds an NCTJ qualification and worked as an online reporter for The Sun and several other publications before moving abroad. His passions are travel, football and languages – he speaks French and Spanish. He is constantly astounded at how much Colombia – and Medellin in particular – have to offer.
- Things to do in Medellin (www.uncovercolombia.com)
- Bar Dulce Jesus Mio in Medellin (www.uncovercolombia.com)
- A Tale of Two Cities – Medellin (Paisas) vs Bogotá (Rolos) (www.uncovercolombia.com)