La Cabaña del Recuerdo is a little tango bar located in central Envigado.
Open roughly 15 years, it offers tango singers, musicians and aficionados the opportunity to hear live music in an intimate environment.
I learned about it earlier this year from Don, a friend who recently moved to Medellín from the United States.
He plays the guitar, and had jammed with the other musicians one night, and couldn’t recommend the place highly enough.
In June, I met him and some others at The Art House. From there it was a short taxi ride to the bar.
We arrived at 8:45 p.m., by which time almost all the tables inside had been taken. There was one with four seats still available in the corner, and we immediately took it, though there was little room to move.
We ordered a round of Heinekens for something like 8,000 pesos apiece ($4), at which point the waiter began delivering a steady supply of free snacks including uchuvas, mango, carrots and other salty bar snacks.
I sat back and tried to absorb everything before me. The walls were plastered with old photos, musical instruments and memorabilia.
A group of musicians, including four guitarists and an accordionist were playing music in front of an old jukebox and the little bar at the far end.
At one point, a woman sitting at the table next to us nonchalantly got up and began to sing a tango song. Afterwards, it was a violinist’s turn to perform.
Around 9:30 p.m., after a few more friends arrived from dinner to join us, we were informed that there was a 100,000-peso ($49) drink minimum required to sit at a table. Our group size having just doubled, we would’ve required two tables at that point.
The waiter made no mention of this when we arrived and sat at the table, nor had Don been bound by this requirement on prior visits.
Despite some in our group pushing back, suggesting that we were being subjected to a minimum because we were foreigners, the management didn’t budget. We ended up leaving the bar as a result.
On the street, I asked the violinist if the table minimum was standard for everyone. He responded “yes,” which settled the debate in my mind, but not the others.
Prior to the mention of a minimum, I’d been thinking the bar would be the perfect place to take a date during the week, but knowing we’d have to drink 100,000 pesos worth of alcohol to get my money’s worth, I no longer considered it an option.
To those who want to check out La Cabaña del Recuerdo for the live music Wednesday and Thursday nights, be forewarned that you may be subjected to a drink minimum. Be sure to confirm before you get too comfortable.
Otherwise, it’s a wonderful little bar offering a break from the omnipresent salsa, vallenato and reggaeton.