Even though Bogotanos aren't known for their dancing abilities, they do enjoy an enviable nightlife. An active bar and club scene thrives in Usaquén, La Candelaria, La Zona Rosa, and Parque de la 93. Most bars and clubs get going around 11pm and close around 3am. In large clubs, you'll be expected to buy a bottle of liquor if you want to sit at a table; if you just want a shot or two, sit at the bar. Bogotanos dress up to go out, so make sure to look your best. An extensive listing of Bogotá clubs and bars can be found at www.bogota-dc.com/dir/rumba.html.
Bogotá’s cocktail culture has progressed considerably in recent years. The Apache Bar on the roof of the Click Clack Hotel, Carrera 11 no. 93–77, attracts well-to-do crowds for the burgers, views, and stiff drinks. For gin, Ocus, Calle 69a no. 6–17, has several dozen types that are served alongside an eclectic menu. In Usaquén, Huerta, Carrera 7 Bis. no. 124–36, has an on-site garden with hundreds of herbs and botanicals that they use in their cocktails, which include tiki drinks and punches. Black Bear, at Carrera 11a no. 89–06, has some of the most professional mixologists in town serving original drinks and Colombian takes on classics like the Moscow Mule and Old Fashioned.
At Parque de la 93, Galeria Café Libro, Calle 11A-93-42 (tel. 218-3435), is one of my favorite salsa places in Bogotá and fills up Thursday to Saturday. They only play salsa here, so make sure you've polished up your moves. This rumbero caters to a 25-and-above crowd. Expect to be drenched in sweat upon leaving after a night of intense salsa dancing.
Punto G, at Calle 94 no. 11-46 (tel. 1/616-7046), is another popular crossover club. It resembles a hotel reception hall and is popular with the over-30 crowd. There's live music Wednesday through Saturday (featuring reggae, rock en español, salsa, and traditional Colombian beats), as well as a decent food selection. A night of partying at Punto G will also cost you: The average cocktail goes for COL$20,000, and a bottle of aguardiente costs about COL$90,000. Cover is COL$16,000 Thursday through Saturday.
The Bogotá Beer Company is popular with the post-university yuppie crowd. It plays '80s and '90s rock beats and serves several varieties of beer produced in a nearby Bogotá beer distillery. All locations are popular with Bogotanos, but some of my favorites are on Carrera 12 no. 83-33 (tel. 1/603-071), Carrera 11A no. 93-94 (tel. 1/621-9914), Av. 19 no. 120-76 (tel. 1/215-5150), Carrera 6 no. 119-24 (tel. 1/620-8454), Calle 85 no.13-06 (tel. 1/256-6950), and the Usaquén location.
The always-popular Irish Pub in La Zona T caters to a diverse crowd of Bogotanos and foreigners. One of the few places you’ll find quite a few foreigners, the mojitos are excellent and the atmosphere is festive. This typical pub fills up early, so be sure to show up early if you want to get a much-coveted outside table. (Don’t worry, there are heaters to warm you up on cold nights.)
Live Music Clubs
Owned by Guillermo Vives, the older brother of singer Carlos Vives, the restaurant and dancehall Gaira Café (www.gairacafe.co), Carrera 13 no. 96–11, has frequent cumbia and vallenato shows, as well as other lively performances of regional Colombian music.
Bolón de Verde, 1A no. 12b–20, at Plazoleta del Chorro de Quevedo in La Candelaria, has live jazz and blues, as does nearby El Gato Gris, Carrera 1A no. 12b–12.
Andrés Carne De Res ★★★, at Calle 3 no. 11A-56 (no Transmilenio access), in Chia (www.andrescarnederes.com; tel. 1/863-7880) is considered the king of Bogotá nightlife by many. The kitschy steakhouse has expanded to cover an area of nearly 3 square miles and attracts thousands of people at a time. The owner opened another Andrés in La Zona T that is divided into three floors (Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell), but a trip to the original is still definitely worth a visit—it’s one of the most iconic nightlife experiences in Colombia.
In La Macarena, El Bembe ★ (Calle 27B no 6–73) is a lively salsa bar that stays open late. Hipsters gravitate to Armando Records, at Calle 85 no. 14–46, which blasts electronic and rock music on multiple levels. At Parque de la 93, Galeria Café Libro, Carrera 11A–93–42 (www.galeriacafelibro.com.co; tel. 1/218-3435), is one of the better salsa places in Bogotá and fills up Thursday to Saturday. They only play salsa here, so make sure you’ve polished up your moves. This rumbero caters to a 25-and-above crowd. Expect to be drenched in sweat upon leaving after a night of intense salsa dancing.
Punto G, at Calle 94 no. 11–46 (tel. 1/616-7046), is another popular crossover club. It recently underwent a major renovation and is popular with the over-30 crowd. There’s live music Wednesday through Saturday (featuring reggae, rock en español, salsa, and traditional Colombian beats), as well as a decent food selection. A night of partying at Punto G will also cost you, though.
Theater & the Performing Arts
Bogotá’s premier performing arts venue is the grand Teatro Colón, Calle 10 no. 5–32 (www.teatrocolon.gov.co; tel. 1/284-7420; Transmilenio: Museo del Oro), in La Candelaria. The theater seats nearly 1,000 spread out over five levels and hosts the most important concerts, plays, ballets, and operas in the city, if not the entire country. For tickets, call tel. 1/341-0475 or visit the website. Also in La Candelaria, Centro Cultural Gabriel García Márquez, Calle 11 no. 5–60 (www.fce.com.co), the oversized brick cultural complex designed by legendary Colombian architect Rogelio Salmona and named after Colombia’s most famous author, occasionally has small performances like concerts and poetry readings.
Gay & Lesbian
Bogotá has a vibrant LGBT scene, with nightspots scattered around town. With 13 different adjoining bars and clubs, multilevel Theatron (www.portaltheatron.co), Calle 58 no. 10–18, claims to be the largest disco in Latin America. Each space has a theme, like a German beer garden/rock club, a Mexican cantina, and a gothic cathedral, among others. With locations in Chapinero (Calle 62 no. 7–13) and the Zona Rosa (Carrera 14 no. 83–37), restaurant and bar Estación (www.estacioncafecolombia.com), open since 2003, has become one of the most popular gay hangouts in Bogotá. There are frequent theme nights and drink specials. The Chapinero location also has an attached terrace bar. Nightclub and bar El Mozo (www.elmozoclub.com), Calle 85 no. 12–21, is big and often crowded and sweaty, with DJs pumping house music until 3am.
While you can find modern multiplexes all over town from Cinemark (www.cinemark.com.co) and Cine Colombia (www.cinecolombia.com/bogota), independent movies and most small Latin American productions are seen at Cine Tonalá, Carrera 6A no 35–27 (www.cinetonala.co).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.