The Best Clubs for Traditional Music in Colombia

Bazurto Social Club
Bazurto Social Club | © FNPI / Flickr
Chris Bell

Traditional Colombian music like cumbia, vallenato, champeta and salsa is still remarkably popular in the country, and there are a wealth of bars and clubs to visit in order to enjoy live traditional music from bands and DJs. Ranging from little hole-in-the-wall salsa joints to large live-music venues, here are the best Colombian clubs for traditional music.

1. Bazurto Social Club

Bar, Caribbean, South American

Champeta
© FNPI / Flickr
Bazurto Social Club is a bar that oozes onda caribeña (Caribbean vibes), even from the outside. It’s a real local gem and perhaps the best place in Cartagena to enjoy the local music of champeta. With a live band playing champeta hits throughout the night, 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.

2. Zaperoco

Music Venue

With epic live music on Thursdays and a legendary local salsa DJ spinning on Friday and Saturday nights, Zaperoco is the most happening place for old-school salsa in the city of Cali. Some of Cali’s best dancers pack out the floor, which can be a little intimidating at first. Nevertheless, newbies are still welcome to get in on the action.

3. Quiebra-Canto

Bar, South American

Live salsa in Colombia
© klem@s / Flickr

A long-standing and popular establishment, Quiebra-Canto is located in Getsemani, about five minutes away from the walled city center in Cartagena. 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 the second floor, the bar overlooks the clock tower in Getsemani’s main square.

5. Donde Fidel

Bar, South American

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.

6. Cafe Havana

Bar, South American

Cartagena Colombia Old Walled City Center centre Getsemani Cafe Havana tavern bar pub inside decor vintage photos Cuban musicians
© RosaIreneBetancourt 9 / Alamy Stock Photo

Café Havana is the place to be if you like listening or dancing to salsa music. Even if you’ve never danced salsa in your life, it’s still worth heading to the city’s cultural and party centre, Getsemani, to try out this Cuban-style bar. Café Havana draws a mixed crowd of locals and expats, and welcomes talented live salsa bands who keep the crowd entertained until the early hours. Even if you’ve got two left feet, head on down for some perfectly mixed cocktails, to enjoy the music and watch others take to the dance floor.

7. Boogaloop

Bar, Nightclub, South American

Boogaloop is a discrete little bar in Chapinero which has become the go-to spot for traditional live music in Bogotà. The club regularly hosts live shows from some of Colombia’s best traditional bands and musicians, and there are also DJs spinning classic champeta, cumbia, vallenato and much more. It has a laid-back atmosphere and is mostly visited by locals, so a visit to Boogaloop will be a truly authentic live-music experience.

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