Cartagena is famed for being home to some of the most beautiful colonial-style buildings in all of Colombia. It also happens to have some great restaurants and bars and a vibrant nightlife. Here’s a list of the best bars in town.
Bazurto Social Club is a bar that oozes ondacaribeña (Caribbean vibes) even from the outside. Located just off the main street Medialuna, this is a local gem and it’s well worth a visit for any tourists in town. With a live band playing champeta hits (think of pop salsa music), Bazurto is an unpretentious spot with inexpensive drinks and a fantastic crowd. If you get hungry while dancing the night away, they also have a kitchen serving tasty bites until midnight.
Café del Mar has a prime location on top of the Baluarte Santo Domingo, the westernmost point of Cartagena’s 17th-century fortifications, giving the bar a historic and cultural feel. Beautiful sea views can be admired while visitors enjoy delicious cocktails and sample top quality snacks. This is not a cheap option yet it’s worth splashing out a bit to be in such a great location overlooking Colombia’s Caribbean coast.
If you’re looking for an evening filled with salsa while visiting Colombia’s Caribbean coast look no further than Cafe Havana. Located in the city’s cultural and party center, Getsemani this is a haunt that is popular with locals and ex-pats alike. This Cuban-style bar features live salsa bands and attracts a keen salsa-dancing crowd. If you’re not a dancer yourself don’t worry, it’s just as much fun to grab a drink and watch other people demonstrate their expert salsa skills.
Part of a popular Colombian chain of bars that started in Cali, Bourbon Street Cartagena opened in 2013 and is a fun Mardi Gras-inspired drinking spot situated right in the city’s historic center. Located in a renovated two-floor colonial house it peers over one of Cartagena’s busiest squares, Plaza Santo Domingo. As well as perfectly mixed cocktails, draft beers and a great selection of wines, Bourbon Street offers American-style food such as burgers, ribs and cakes.
Donde Fidel is one of Cartagena’s most famous bars, located within the historic walled city just by the Portal de los Dulces. Here you’ll find a fun mix of locals and tourists swaying to classic salsa. Drinks are cheap and the punters and staff are friendly, making this a great place to come and spend the whole evening. The area can get a little seedy later at night but is still pretty safe, with a constant police presence, so don’t let it put you off.
A bar that only really gets going after midnight, Mister Babila is a popular stop on many chiva tours (a chiva is a party bus). Having been around for more than 25 years, Mister Babilla is a well-loved local bar which isn’t particularly fancy but provides guests with great DJs and strong, simple drinks; the perfect combination for a straight-forward, low-key night out.
An established and popular sports bar, Leon De Baviera is a German bar which provides the city with a football fix, showing all the Premier League games meaning football fans will never have to miss a match. The drinks menu is basic and mainly featuring beer, with the exception of some Jaigermeister mixed drinks, but Paulaner beers are the real star of the show. While you enjoy the beers you can dine on German bratwurst, currywurst, spaetzel, sauerkraut or a grilled meat platter.
Located in the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara hotel, one of Cartagena’s best places to stay, El Coro Lounge Bar is the height of drinking sophistication. Come here to experience some of the finest cocktails Cartagena has to offer in a stunning setting. Live music during the week keeps customers entertained while they take in the sheer elegance and beauty of the hotel’s grand design. This is not a budget option but the bar provides a great setting for special occasions.
A long-standing and popular establishment, Quiebra-Canto is located in Getsemani, about five minutes away from the walled city center. Frequented by a diverse crowd, this is a go-to salsa spot for expert dancers but those who want to come and watch are just as welcome. Located on a second floor the bar overlooks the clock tower in Getsemani’s main square.