Medellín nightlife is truly hopping, and whatever your scene–salsa or jazz, grungy or cool, dress to impress or comfy casual–you’ll probably find it here. For whatever night out you can imagine in Medellín, this is where to go.
Since 1969, El Social Tienda Mixta (Cra. 35 No. 8A-8, tel. 4/311-5567) has been selling the basics to local residents (soap, sugar, coffee); it’s only been a recent phenomenon that it’s now the hippest place to be seen at night, when it is converted into the most popular bar in Provenza! It’s so popular on weekend evenings, you can forget about finding a vacant plastic chair.
Want to check out the nightlife with other party people? That’s the idea behind the Pub Crawl Medellín (cell tel. 300/764-6145, Sat. evenings, COP$30,000). In this night of shenanigans, revelers (groups of about 12) get together, then hit several bars (enjoying courtesy shots along the way), and then wind up the night dancing to the beats at a popular dance club. Each Saturday the group explores different nightspots.
Every Thursday evening, the Medellín microbrewery 3 Cordilleras (Cl. 30 No. 44-176, tel. 4/444-2337, 5:30pm-9pm Thurs., COP$20,000) offers a tour of their brewery, during which you learn about the beer-making process. At the end of the tour, the grand finale is tasting several of their artisan beers and friendly socializing. On the final Thursday of each month, after the tour there is live music and beer.
Calle Nueve (Cl. 9 No. 43B-75, tel. 4/266-4852, 6pm-2am Mon.-Sat., no cover), in a nondescript white house, is a hipster’s paradise in El Poblado. Music varies wildly from salsa to house to folk. The dim lighting and well-worn couches provide the perfect chilled-out atmosphere.
Salsa, Tango, and Jazz
Medellín is no Cali, but salsa has its aficionados here. If the musical genres son, la charanga, el guaguanco, and la timba don’t mean anything to you now, they might after a night at Son Havana (Cra. 73 No. 44-56, tel. 4/412-9644, 8pm-3am Wed.-Sat., cover Sat. COP$8,000) which often has live performances. Nearby is El Tíbiri (Cra. 70 at Cl. 44B, hours vary Wed.-Sat.), an underground salsa joint on Carrera 70, which is hugely popular on the weekends. They say the walls sweat here, as after 10pm it gets packed with revelers, many of whom are university students. Friday nights are big at El Tíbiri.
The downtown Salón Málaga (Cra. 51 No. 45-80, tel. 4/231-2658, 9am-11pm daily, no cover)—boy, has it got character. It’s filled with old jukeboxes and memorabilia, and has its clientele who come in for a tinto (coffee) or beer during the day. The Saturday tango show at 5:30pm and oldies event on Sunday afternoons are especially popular with locals and travelers alike, but a stop here is a fine idea anytime.
Near the Parque de la Periodista, a major weekend hangout for the grungy set, there are some small bars big on personality. Tuesday nights are bordering on legendary at Eslabón Prendido (Cl. 53 No. 42-55, tel. 4/239-3400, 3pm-11pm Tues.-Sat., cover varies), a hole-in-the-wall salsa place that really packs them in! El Acontista (Cl. 53 No. 43-81, tel. 4/512-3052, noon-10pm Mon.-Thurs., noon-midnight Fri.-Sat.) is an excellent jazz club downtown. It’s got a bookstore on the second floor and live music on Monday and Saturday evenings. They’ve got great food, too, making it an excellent stop after a day visiting the Centro.
An authentic tango spot in Envigado is Bar Atlenal (Cl. 38 Sur No. 37-3, tel. 4/276-5971, 3pm-2am daily). Friday night is the best time to go to see a tango performance, but to listen to some tango music from the juke box and have a beer, go any day of the week. It’s an institution, with more than six decades of history. Allegiance to the soccer club Atlético Nacional is evident on the walls of the bar. Included is an homage to star player Andrés Escobar. Also in Envigado is La Venta de Dulcinea Café Cultural (Cl. 35 Sur No. 43-36, tel. 4/276-0208, 2pm-11pm Mon.-Sat.), where salsa, milonga, and tango nights are often held. Check the webpage for a schedule.
Famous Mango’s (Cra. 42 No. 67A-151, tel. 4/277-6123, 5pm-6am daily, no cover), decked out like a Wild West saloon, is a festive club popular with foreigners and locals alike, and gets going late. Jesús Dulce Mío—Mil Juguetes (Cra. 38 No. 19-255, Km. 2 Vía Las Palmas, tel. 4/266-6020, 7pm-3am Tues.-Sat., COP$10,000 cover) is a popular club near El Poblado. Wednesday is karaoke night.
If you go to Fahrenheit (Cra. 42 No. 79-125, Itagüi, tel. 4/354-6203, 10pm-6am Thurs.-Sat., cover varies) you should dress to impress. It’s a late-night place in the neighboring town of Itagüi. Thursdays are electronica nights, while Saturdays are for crossover, a mix of popular music with Latin tunes. Guys should expect to pay around COP$25,000 for cover, ladies nada.
Gay Bars and Clubs
There is a lively gay and youthful nightlife scene in Medellín. Donde Aquellos (Cra. 38 No. 9A-26, tel. 4/312-2041, cell tel. 313/624-1485, 4:30pm-2am daily) is an easy-going kind of place near the Parque Lleras in El Poblado. This friendly bar is a good place for a terrace drink. Culture Club (Cra. 43F No. 18-158, hours vary Thurs.-Sat., cover varies) is the hottest dance club and gets hopping at around midnight on weekends. It’s a fashionable place, with chandeliers and red velvet.