Paisas love to party. From sauntering through salsa clubs, getting low in reggaetón bars, fist-pumping to techno, belting out the lyrics to vallenato, or simply enjoying beers and ‘guaro at the tienda, you can guarantee the nights are loud and continue into the early hours of the morning. As the capital of Antioquia, Medellín certainly has a reputation for its nightlife – El Poblado is generally thought of as the area to be come nightfall, with places like Parque Lleras attracting flocks of locals and foreigners alike. However, for those who prefer a less touristy scene, Laureles (in the west of the city) is also home to tons of party spots.
Carrera 70 – south of the Estadio metro station and commonly known as ‘La 70’ – is one of the best strips to indulge in drinking, dancing and socializing any day of the week. The road – which recently changed its name to ‘Libertadores de Américas’ as a tribute to the soccer team Atlético Nacional – is lined with an array of bars and clubs, as well as street vendors selling Colombian snacks for when you stumble home in search of food. For a distinctly Latin night out, here’s where to visit on La 70:
Calle 44B #70-03
This small basement transforms into a hot, thumping dancefloor each night from Wednesday to Saturday as locals pour inside hoping to show off their loose hips and quick footwork. There are no frills here; no fancy artwork, overpriced cocktails or beautiful people standing idle – everyone gets involved and everyone takes salsa seriously. That said, don’t be intimidated if you’re yet to find your salsa feet. The atmosphere is very welcoming and you’re sure to find a Colombian who will take you by the hand and lead you through the basic steps.
The outside of the club is now signposted (it didn’t use to be) but if you’re not familiar with La 70, it can be easy to miss. El Tíbiri is on the corner directly opposite Hotel Lukas, and the entrance is located at the bottom of the stairs. Cover charges only apply when there are live music performances.
La Tienda de la 70
Carrera 70 Circular 3-28
Unlike El Tíbiri, you can’t miss this spot. Kitted out in full Colombian fonda décor, the outside is a mix of blues and yellows, flowers, balloons and flashing lights. Inside, the bar/restaurant is filled with rows of tables and chairs, a stage, colorful beads dangling from the ceiling, oh and a giant pig. La Tienda de la 70 is a quintessentially Colombian experience – it’s loud, bright and a whole lot of fun. Nights here tend to begin with groups of people sitting down to rounds of Aguardiente, but end with dancing (on the tables) and some wild live acts. If you can face returning the next morning, the restaurant also serves a mean breakfast.
Cover only applies to events – otherwise, admission is free.
Carrera 70, Circular 2 #48
A good place to begin the night early in the warm afternoon sunshine and enjoy being able to hear a conversation, La Charcu is a cool bar with sidewalk seating and art splashed across the walls. The bar attracts a mix of locals and foreigners, so it’s popular among the ex-pat community (who also come for the impressive selection of international drinks). La Charcu has a more laidback vibe than other bars on La 70, rather than overwhelming lights and Latin tunes, here there’s normally the sound of chatter and cocktails being mixed. If you come with an appetite, you won’t be disappointed either – the menu ranges from hearty snacks like nachos and empanadas to sandwiches and tapas-esque options.
Carrera 70, Circular 4 #11
Boasting five venues across Medellín, Oye Bonita is a bit of a household name in the city. The Caribbean-inspired club prides itself on its liquors, vibrant parties and a good-looking clientele. Complete with a cocktail bar, beach balls, surfboards, inflatables and Caribbean music bands, this is one of the top places to rumbear – plus the prices are very reasonable, so be prepared to stay until it closes. There’s additionally a VIP section which can be reserved for special occasions, or guests can purchase a birthday package at the table which comes with bottle discounts and a gift box including a hat, beer, cake and candles. There’s never a cover fee to enter Oye Bonita.
Melodía Para Dos
Bulevar Libertadores De América #5-22
Definitely a cheesy option, Melody for Two is known for its retro pop music blaring through the night. And by blaring, we mean blaring. The kind of bar where you have to go outside to hear each other speak. The ambiance here is romantic mixed with a little fun and silliness – so if you’re searching for love without the aggressive grinding on the dancefloor, this is an awesome pick. Although it claims to be a wine bar, the standard drink here are beers and spirits, so don’t overdress – you’ll regret it later when you’re flailing your limbs to 70s pop anthems.
Bulevar Libertadores De América Carrera 70N C3-43
OK, not a bar or club but as responsible party-goers, you’ll know it’s necessary to have a full meal before heading out on the town. And what better place than the restaurant famous for serving up huge portions of traditional Colombian cuisine? Plates here range from steak, chicken and fish, alongside beans, pork rinds, rice, arepas, avocado and a whole lot more. The restaurant is spread across two floors and has a balcony overlooking La 70, so even if you’re not the fiesta type, it’s perfect to watch the street below get rowdy from a distance.
Mondongo’s has a particular Paisa feel about it – there are normally large families filling the place, laughing and knocking back beers. Whether you want to line your stomach or simply make some pre-night out friends, Mondongo’s is a great option.