Alta Gracia: From Coffee Shop to Chic Bar

Alta Gracia
Alta Gracia offers "another point of view." (photo: David Lee)
Alta Gracia
Alta Gracia offers “another point of view.” (photo: David Lee)

I was on a mission. To find the best bars in Medellín and being the type of person who loves electronic music, I was looking for some pumping house beats.

Poblado, as most people who come to Medellín know, is the place to party on Fridays and Saturdays and has everything to offer from sports bars, salsa bars, and bachata and crossover clubs.

But it’s just as alive during the day with coffee shops, cafés and restaurants full of locals and tourists enjoying leisurely lunches and watching the rest of Poblado go by.

But this was a Saturday night and I had left Parque Lleras to find some new bars. After being in the city for four months, I was ready to experience more of Medellín and knew that this area had a lot to offer.

After visiting Shamrock to experience my first sports bar in Medellin, I continued my mission along Carrera 35, one of the smaller streets that I used to frequent during the day, when a bar with red lighting caught my eye.

The beauty of this area of Poblado is that there are so many places to choose from and at night, each looks completely different. Alta Gracia is a prime example.

Visit during the day and this is just another coffee shop in the area of Poblado, but after 8 p.m. Alta Gracia comes alive with house beats. As the red lights and my favorite style of music enticed me in, I immediately felt as if I had stumbled upon a secret place.

To the left was a long bar area with bottles of alcohol lined up below a white futuristic ceiling that I had never seen in a bar before.

To the right was a large seating area with high ceilings that I’m sure used to be a garage in a past life, and has now been converted into a chic bar area.

As I looked at the menu of drinks, feeling baffled, a female voice came to my aid and explained the different types of shots and what specialities they had to offer.

Advertised as “another point of view,” Alta Gracia has a different take on drinks and their speciality is lychee sangria with a choice of Rosada with lychee and strawberries or Blanca with citrus vodka, apple and kiwi for 52,000 ($25) a liter.

They also have a range of champagne and sparkling rose from the same price for those who are feeling swish.

Being on a budget and not able to drink a whole liter of sangria or champagne, I opted for one of their speciality shots, and with a comprehensive menu there were many to choose from, each one with their own fusion of layered colors.

Calychee is the house favourite and comes with vanilla, vodka, lychee and pineapple for 7,000 ($3,50) with additional four lychees for just 5,000 ($2.50).

Others such as Marciabo are made up of vodka, rum and lulo for 5,500 ($2.70) or there’s the South American drink pisco disguised as a shot of Atarvan mixed with whisky instead.

After sampling a few of the shots, the evening looked as though it was hotting up with people spilling out onto the streets.

The owner told me that this was an ordinary Saturday night and that on special nights they play tropical and electronic music.

All I knew what that this was my kind of bar and my mission had been fulfilled. For tonight anyway…

From 8 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday Alta Gracia turns into a funky bar. Visit during the day for its alter ego as a coffee shop where I have been told they do a mean chocolate cake.

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