Eco-Bar: The “Cheers” of the Paisa Nation

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The scene at Eco-Bar
The scene at Eco-Bar (photo: Vicki Marie Stolsen)
The scene at Eco-Bar
The scene at Eco-Bar (photo: Vicki Marie Stolsen)

Editor’s Note: As of May 2015, Eco-Bar is closed.

Philosophy, football and foreigners co-mingling with locals: that’s the foundation for the social scene known as Eco-Bar in the Poblado neighborhood of Medellín.

Forget reggaeton, forget salsa: think American blues and Indie Rock laid down by the DJ in the funny sunglasses, at the same time he pounds out his university essay on the work of American author, Norman Mailer, while mixing your first Caipirinha.

An oasis in the Sea of Sin known at Parque Lleras, Juan Cé Restrepo Pérez and co-manager Tomás Montoya Uribe have defied convention, and opened a twenty-first century bohemian bar, transcending borders, and welcoming all global cool kids over for a drink.

Shots on fire (photo: Vicki Marie Stolsen)
Shots on fire (photo: Vicki Marie Stolsen)

Set in an incomparable urban forest adjacent the Medellín River that cuts through the barrio, take a seat outside on one of the rustic tree stumps that pass as chairs, order your favorite cocktail, and say hello to your neighbor.

 

Even if you don’t share the same language, the vibe is inclusive; in the spirit of great bar climates everywhere, Eco-Bar is the “Cheers” of the Paisa Nation.

The two boyhood friends, both university students, had a plan when they decided to host a bar scene every Sunday—Thursday in the heart of Parque Lleras.

“We think the real literature and the real philosophy is in the bar; it’s with the people: not in a book and not in a library,” explained Tomas when we spoke in March.

To underscore that ambition, the managers invite creative endeavors from all patrons; think of an open mike format that includes music, poetry, literature, photography, and drama.

You got talent? Pitch your idea or your act, then find yourself in front of an international audience.

A local performs at Eco Bar (photo: Vicki Marie Stolsen)
A local performs at Eco Bar (photo: Vicki Marie Stolsen)

That’s exactly what I did, and so on one unpretentious Monday night, microphone in hand, I read from my memoir, “The Bachelor Chapters,” and added new fans from at least four or five countries.

“The people of Medellín want to know about the world outside the mountains, and the people of other countries want to know about the people of Medellín,” Tomás told me with his characteristic glow. “It’s working!”

And so it is. Stop in for a Mojito or a Manhattan: or simply a cerveza and a shot. And tell them Vicki Marie sent you—and tell the barmen that she can’t wait to come back.

Editor’s Note: As of May 2015, Eco-Bar is closed.

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About the Author: Vicki Marie Stolsen is the author of The Bachelor Chapters. After a twenty-five year career in Seattle as a business executive and philanthropic activist, Vicki Marie left the USA to organize her activities of daily living around dance, writing and the accumulation of Vitamin D. She lives in Medellín, Colombia, and aspires to overcome her persistent butchering of the Spanish language. You can also find updates about her book on Facebook.

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