Nightlife in Medellín
A city that never stops, Medellín boasts a brilliant nightlife. No matter what kind of bar you’re into, Colombia’s second largest city delivers plenty of options. On weekends travelers gravitate to Parque Lleras, the epicenter of Medellín’s nightlife located in the El Poblado neighborhood. It features everything from salsa and bachata clubs to gastropubs and sports bars. The further you venture from this hot-spot, however, the more likely you are to imbibe with locals and not other foreigners.
Read on for our selection of top bars for every taste in the “City of Eternal Spring.” Also, don't go bar hopping on an empty stomach—get the inside track on local restaurants with our list of the best dining options in Medellín.
This relaxed, third-floor rooftop bar is tucked inconspicuously above an art gallery two blocks up from Parque Lleras. With its wooden interior and casual garden style, Alambique has a retro Haight-Ashbury vibe. It serves a long list of excellent cocktails and also draws fine-dining fans hungry for their fusion menu, which features octopus carpaccio and pork with raspberries and roast potatoes. The music leans towards jazz, and live groups draw a full crowd on Thursdays and Saturdays. There’s no sign here to point the way; look for the blue double doors numbered 10-6.
Carrera 41 #10-6, El Poblado, Medellín
A laid-back bohemian café by day, Alta Gracia, in El Poblado’s Provenza section, evolves at night into a cozy little bar known for its specialty cocktails. The place resembles a converted garage done up with leather seating, and red and blue neon lights inspire a party mood. Alta Gracia draws night owls who flock for great blues, jazz, and, when DJ’s are on hand, smooth house beats. The stars of the cocktail menu are fruity concoctions such as a lychee sangria (made with red wine, lychees, and strawberries). The lychee martini is also delicious, as is the citrus vodka with apple and kiwi. Or maybe you'd prefer the Calychee, made with vodka, lychee, pineapple, and vanilla.
Carrera 35 #8A-81, El Poblado, Medellín
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Calle 9 + 1
Another atmospheric Parque Lleras watering hole, Calle 9 +1 deserves a spot on your late-night bar-hopping itinerary (but don’t even think about arriving before 11 pm). This no-frills joint is set around a covered courtyard and draws a massive alternative crowd who come for the weekend DJs. The tracks span everything from ‘80s pop to funk and techno, but you rarely hear cumbia or other classic Colombian sounds. It’s a great dance spot, and we dig the retractable canopy roof that allows for grooving beneath the stars. This LBGT-friendly venue also serves kick-ass cocktails—the frosty mojito is popular—and on Friday and Saturday, the cover charge includes free beer.
Carrera 40 #10-45, El Poblado, Medellín
Want to know where the A-list of Medellín’s monied class hangs out? Then get ready for some clubbing at Envy, a chic two-level bar atop the Charlee Hotel, off—you guessed it—Parque Lleras. This upscale space draws serious eye-candy and literally looks down on Medellín 18 floors below. It’s even got a neon-lit swimming pool and hosts daytime pool parties. There's live salsa mid-week, and DJs spin house and electro on Saturday. Of course, you’ll pay an exorbitant price for your drink, and there's an air of exclusivity (you’ll need to dress the part to get past the doormen), but the cocktail menu makes it all worthwhile. It runs the gamut of worldly staples, from Manhattans to pisco sours. They also do their own fusion cocktails.
Calle 9A #37-18, El Poblado, Medellín
You’d expect a bar called Panorama to have a view, although this stylish rooftop watering hole in Los Laureles (there’s a sister bar in El Poblado) is too surrounded by foliage to offer much of a vista. Fortunately, the greenery enhances the secluded, laid-back mood as you sip cocktails on the open-air patio. It’s a great spot for Sunday brunch, and it serves a globe-spanning menu ranging from arepas and baklava to wontons. On weekend nights the place fills up for live trova and salsa music. Panorama is known for its sangria (served with a popsicle in the glass), and for craft cocktails like their signature gin and tonic, prepared tableside with fresh herbs.
Carrera 73 con circular #3-8, Los Laureles, Medellín
Considered by insiders to be one of Medellín’s best salsa clubs, Cuban-themed Son Havana is a high-voltage nightspot. Slightly off the beaten path, on the edge of the La 70 party zone in fashionable Laureles, this darkly lit bar is the place to enjoy superb live cumbia, salsa, merengue and Cuban rueda de casino—a type of salsa dance where the couples switch partners simultaneously. Go for the free salsa lessons and rueda practice on Wednesday evenings. A Cuban house band—Son Havana All Stars—performs Wednesday to Saturday. Not a serious cocktail bar, Son Havana nonetheless serves great mojitos. It’s best to arrive and leave by taxi, as the surrounding streets can be iffy at night.
Carrera 73 #44-56, Los Laureles, Medellín
Move over Bogotá Brewing Company, Medellín’s own artisanal brewpub will put a smile on any serious beer fan's face. Its five excellent artisanal beers include Rubia (a refreshing pale ale), and Negra (a rich English-style porter). Located downtown in edgy Barrio Colorado, Tres Cordilleras offers brewery tours on Thursdays, with beer-tasting in the industrial-style bar that looks out to the brewery below. Live bands play the last Thursday of the month, but there’s always cool background music—classic rock predominates—and a lively party atmosphere. Cheveré.
Calle 30 #44-176, Barrio Colorado, Medellín
Combine Disney fantasy with Philippe Starck industrial design and you might end up with the Woka Lounge. A rooftop bar with a truly original décor, this Parque Lleras lounge sits atop La Triada Restaurant. The jungle-cavern design features faux trees with lianas and Spanish mosses, a waterfall, flaming sconces, and even ambient rainforest noises to welcome you as you walk up the stairs. A retractable roof opens on clear nights, adding an al fresco ambiance, and leather seating and colored lights offer a classy counterpoint. The kitchen serves up excellent international dishes such as pad thai, Peruvian ceviche, and sushi. The drinks list includes martinis, margaritas, and special tiki cocktails.
Carrera 38 #8-8, El Poblado, Medellín