QUITO FOR EXTROVERTIDES
To the beat of electrocumbia, get out on the dance floor. Check out the raves, party on with “electro-folk” and the all-new “Andes Step”, created by Quito-electronica-artist DJ Nicola Cruz. It has taken the international scene by storm. Move your hips to local bands at the salsoteca… who says Quito gets chilly at night? And if dancing is not your thing, try a good beer with guayusa. Craft options are growing by the second and bars compete to offer original food, quality beer and live music.
We used to say “Quito is the city that always sleeps” when leaving a party at only 2 a.m. seeking something more. We just did not know where to look. This time around, we’ve everything that moves: after-hours parties, bars, concerts…
Here is our mini guide to Quito’s nightlife today.
Bars with personality and beers with canelazo?
The most traditional neighborhoods of Quito such as La Tola, San Blas and San Marcos – where until a few years ago, almost nothing had changed for centuries — have unexpectedly something new to share: night life.
In San Marcos, there is a bar that is eclectic and extravagant.
“We are more of an underground place”, according to the owner, Andrés Silva. You walk through the entrance hall of SIRKA and gloomy paintings with pieces that protrude from the canvas and painted faces, almost funeral, observe you. They are mostly paintings by the artist Diana Armas and murals by other local artists. What a find! A place where you can enjoy live music and great food. Like Sirka, Bandido Brewing is located in La Tola, where parking is almost impossible at night.
The old house comes with a chapel and a wide gamut of beers difficult to choose from (best to try at least two!).
Try La Guapa (with guayusa, an Amazonian plant that boosts your energy like coffee), the Rio Negro Stout (with nibs of cocoa from Mindo), or the Achachai (with chai tea)… And there are plenty more options.
Two blocks north of Bandido, on Esmeraldas and Vicente León, stop at Sereno Moreno, a family business formerly known as Pato Lucas, famous for its fritada (deep-fried pork), it’s now managed by brothers Josué and Cristian Moreno, who have completely renovated the place and, apart from sticking to its claim to fame, also make craft beer. On the second floor, find art collective Averff, with gallery space and workshops for artists and members of the local community.
We can walk further north to the neighborhood of San Blas to another gem: La Oficina. Edward Ellis is a cinematographer who came to Ecuador a few years ago and fell in love with this special little corner of the city. He dedicates himself to creating his own beer, which he’s christened the San Blas (don’t miss out on the Blondazo, blonde beer with the local canelazo, a high grade spirit made with cinnamon and fruit!). Also check out its new stage for live music shows (it used to be the auditorium of a religious school). Thursday is salsa night.
In the Historic Center, you also can’t miss the Wonder Bar, located inside the Teatro Bolívar… you have to check out the schedule, since events only take place on chosen dates.
But that said, they usually don’t disappoint… the ambience and sheer personality of the place makes every party something to remember (or forget!).
In the north of the city, there’s a lot going on as well, too.
Although it is difficult to know what to expect at every joint, we’ve had a great time at La Roots, on Francisco Andrade Marín and Antonio Navarro, which offers an extensive list of craft beers with a décor to fit: pallets and a zillion lights. The baked potatoes are delicious.
You also can’t miss La Reserva on Giocoma Roca and Bosmediano if you’re into tasting craft beer, as well as L’Abadía, just across the street from La Vicentina park. To see live concerts, visit La Roots 2 on Calama and Diego de Almagro or La Estación, a good sit-down moment with good food before setting out to beer-hop your way across the city, and maybe end up at classic Dirty Sánchez on Reina Victoria and Joaquín Pinto to enjoy the tunes of DJs and excellent cocktails.
If your feet are itching to salsa with the best dancers, Lavoe is the place. There is also Café Democrático, with Tuesday night salsa (check their calendar to see what other events they have during the week; they also have another branch inside the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo in San Juan). Azuca located right on the Plaza Foch also offers a good atmosphere to enjoy tropical music accompanied by delicious cocktails.