My Medellin Nightlife – Definitive Guide (UPDATED)
This Medellin nightlife article was originally written on December 24, 2014, but I updat it regularly. Latest update was April 12, 2017.
Table of contents
The Medellin nightlife I will be describing in this post is based on my experience for the past six years. First of all, I am a 36 year old single male living in Medellin, Colombia. I have lived in seven different neighborhoods, and am familiar with all of Medellin.
The neighborhoods I have lived in (in order): Patio Bonito, San Diego, Calazans, El Centro, Floresta, El Salvador (part of El Centro), and now I am in El Poblado (barrio manila).
Nightlife in Medellin has expanded in the last four years and it is growing. As more tourists discover the amazing place that Medellin is there will be more restaurants and dance clubs opening up in the coming years.
Monday – Mellow
Monday night has always been a stay in night for me. Many of the restaurants actually close on Mondays in Medellin. When I was living in Floresta, sometimes I would go to a rock bar called Minuto Urbano on Carrera 90 and San Juan in a neighborhood called Santa Monica. I was seeing the waitress there, otherwise I would have never heard of it, but if you do go I recommend going on a Friday or Saturday. They have live music sometimes and it is great. The music they play is Rock in English and Spanish.
When I was living in El Centro I would usually order from The Mexican House. They have really good burritos and they have this hot sauce that they make using passion fruit, which is spectacular.
Now that I am living in El Poblado I usually play basketball at 6:00 p.m. make dinner at home, and go to bed early.
On the occasions that I do have a date on a Monday night, my favorite spot is El Acontista in El Centro. They usually have live blues or jazz on Mondays.
Tuesday – Salsa
When I first got to Medellin Tuesday nights were always salsa night at El Eslabon Prendido in El Centro. Nowadays I hardly ever go to El Eslabon Prendido, I usually only go if I am showing the place to someone for the first time. It is too crowded and too small to dance in, too muggy, you will be soaked in sweat if you try to dance, the highlight for me has always been the live salsa. The musicians that play there are amazing. It is a must see in Medellin.
Nowadays, Tuesday nights are gym night. It’s funny but I’ve actually taken girls to the gym. I get 5 free passes a month, and since the gym is only 2 block from my house it’s cool to go back to my place, make food, drink wine, and watch a movie.
Wednesday – Gringo Party
If I were new to Medellin and wanted to party on Wednesday, I would check out the Medellin Pub Crawl. This pub crawl, headed by Erin and Hillary, is the best pub crawl in the city. They usually start early, and they go to some cool bars in El Poblado. Check them out: Poblado Pub Department.
I run a business from home, so weeknights are usually mellow and short for me. Wednesdays are slow around the city. So for me, Wednesday night is basketball night. I play from 6pm to 8pm then head home to eat dinner and go to bed.
When I do have a date on Wednesday night I like to take her to the movies. I usually go to the movie theater in Premium Plaza, called Royal Films. I like that movie theater because it is close to were I live, and it is 2 for 1 on Wednesdays, also there are a couple bars near the movie theater on the 3rd floor, so it’s cool to get a couple cocktails while waiting for the movie.
Sometimes I like to just have a beer or a cocktail at El Codo de San Lorenzo or at El Social in Provenza. El Social is a little bar on Carrera 35, a couple streets above Parque Lleras. Local soccer games are often played on Wednesday nights, since I do not watch t.v. at home I usually go to one of those places to catch the game.
UPDATE (4/18/16) – On Wednesdays it’s really fun to go to Dance Free on Calle 10A. They do free Salsa and sometimes Bachata lessons. I’ve gone several times…and although the ratio of women to men is low sometimes, it’s still fun because I like to dance and I like to learn. This is one of the newest/hottest places for salsa and bachata dancing in Medellin, here’s their website: http://www.dancefree.com.co/.
Thursday – Language Exchange
My weekends usually start on Thursday.
When I used to live in Floresta, I would start my night off by going to the Wandering Paisa Hostel for their language exchange at 8:00 p.m. then heading over to Son Havana for live salsa and dancing at around 10:30 p.m.
Here in Poblado the best place to go used to be Babylon Nigh Club. This used to be an epic spot for women on Thursday night. Every Thursday night they have ladies night, where the first 200 girls are let in for free, and it is open bar so they drink for free too. Even today there is usually a line of women going around the block at about 10:00 pm.
The problem is that they were featured in The Lonely Planet and that fucked everything up. Now at 11:00 p.m. you will find a giant line of guys out front, and most of them backpackers. “Ain’t no body got time for that.”
So if I am in the mood to go clubbing on Thursdays I go to different, less touristy clubs.
I will highlight a little secret one, La Garganta on La 33 in Laureles.
Friday Medellin Nightlife
Medellin nightlife on Fridays is usually active and full of possibilities. When I was living in El Centro i would take dates and/or friends to El Pequeño Teatro located right there on Cordoba street and La Playa.
This is one of the best little play houses in El Centro, though you’ll find others that are great, but I especially like this one. Entrance is free, you are asked to give a donation, and they have a little bar inside serving beer, wine and snacks, so it is a good idea to get there early.
When I lived in Floresta I would take special ladies to Alberto Lechona on la 80 before going out dancing. Alberto Lechona is somewhat of a hidden gem. It is known to be one of the best place for lechona in Medellin. Lechona is basically stuffed roasted pig, traditionally served in December, but Alberto Lechona has it year round, and it is good.
After eating some lechona I would go to la 70 near the stadium and pick one of the clubs at random. La 70 has many night clubs starting by the stadium and ending all the way down by the university, UPB. The newer hipper clubs are by the university. Also there are other great food joints there, Opera Pizza being one of them.
Not so well known salsa place: El Suave on Colombia street. You will probably never see any foreigners at El Suave, which is great!
Saturday Nightlife in Medellin
Saturday Medellin nightlife is awesome, especially if they fall on a quincena (payday – the first or 15th of every month).
For a single guy in the city you can pretty much choose any neighborhood and go to the bars and/or clubs and have a great time.
Manrique is one of my favorite spots to party. The main street for all of the night clubs is Carrera 45. If you ask any cab driver to take you to la 45 in Manrique on a Saturday night he will know exactly where it is. Once you are there you can just jump around from club to club exploring. My friends and I usually go early, find the nearest liquor store, buy a bottle of tequila, post up somewhere and drink, then head into the clubs.
Envigado is also a fun Saturday night spot to party at. The section with the best clubs in Envigado is called La Bota. It is near the Envigado main square, so again, my friends and I like to hang out at the park, drink a bottle, maybe have one of those famous enpanadas envigadenas, then head in to a place.
La 33 in Laureles is also great. There are many places along la 33 to party at. We usually go to Bling Bling or Emporium. I could not find websites nor facebook pages for those two, but they are the most notable on la 33.
Barrio Colombia is pretty cool. There is really no street life at Barrio Colombia, you mainly have to choose a disco and go in and make due. All clubs in Barrio Colombia have a cover charge.
My favorite places are Luxury (UPDATE 9/24/15: Luxury is now at a new spot in Parque Lleras, it’s still great with Reggaeton and dirty booty grinding all night), Trilogia and Karma. Karma plays more hip hop, so I like that one better. Regardless, I have been to pretty much all of the clubs there and I can say that I would much rather go to Parque Lleras on a Saturday night. Due to the fact that most girls come in large groups with guys, so if you are not going for a birthday party or with a large group then it is not so fun.
Poblado is the place where you will find the most people and by people I mean single girls.
Poblado park is too hipster/hippyish for me, so I do not really hang out there much. It is also a younger crowd, just sitting around drinking, which is cool, but not my thing.
Parque Lleras on a Saturday night is like a giant catwalk. You will see the most beautiful women you have ever seen strutting around, dressed to impress and looking to dance. There are many places for cocktails and dancing around Parque Lleras.
Drinking at the park is a good place to start, but you can easily spend too much time there gawking at the beauties and that is not cool. I start the night at a cocktail place or a place were I can order a bottle and have drinks, then go dance somewhere.
El Pub de Octavia is another favorite. This place is smaller and gets cramped, but the music is good and there are always ladies to dance with. The music there is also crossover but they throw in more rock and reggae.
When we are feeling like chasing some high income level tail we head over to Rio Sur. Bar/Club hopping there can be expensive, but always fun.
There are too many places in Parque Lleras to mention them all here. Many times my friends and I walk around until we see a spot that we want to go into. It is always a fun time in Parque Lleras, Saturday nights in Lleras rock!
Sunday – Snooze
I never go out on Sunday night. I run a business from home and I teach English, so Sunday nights are really mellow. I usually invite a friend over, cook and/or watch a movie. Most Sundays I use to write blog posts.
The dynamics in social settings here in Colombia have proven to be different than in the US. Typically people go out in groups here.
As a bachelor in Medellin I love to go out with friends and meet women. This is not hard at all. The best nights to meet women in Medellin are always Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
I tend to go out in la Zona Rosa because this is where women typically go out in groups, without guys. They feel safer in those areas so logically there will be more single girls out.
Even if there are guys in the group it is not uncommon for my friends and I to mingle with the girls and even say “what’s up?” to the guys. Colombians are generally friendly and guys do not mean mug as much as in Southern California. On the contrary if you are a foreigner, many times locals will invite you over to the table for drinks and a great time.
Invite you over to the table, yes the table, Colombian’s love tables, they sit around drinking aguardiente until they get buzzed enough to stand up and dance. Once they are tipsy they’ll dance all night, it’s awesome.
I’m not very shy, and I’m pretty generous, so when someone treats me to a drink I always return the favor and this typically wins over any table.
Restaurants for Dinner in Medellin
Colombians don’t really eat dinner when at home. There’s no real supper, I mean, the main plates in Colombian cuisine are for breakfast and lunch. When I got to Medellin 6 years ago, many of the places Paisas would go to for dinner would be fast food joints. Straight up hamburger, hot dogs, and pizza. Thankfully Medellin has grown and we now have some awesome restaurants to go to for dinner.
These are restaurants to take a date you want to impress.
Places for Cocktails in Medellin
My drink is vodka tonic or gin and tonic. Not very hard to fuck that up right? Wrong! Colombian’s love sugar, so if you order a vodka or gin and tonic make sure to tell them not to use the sweet tonic water (they typically used the sweetened Schweppes or Canada Dry. To make things easier I just tell the bartender to give me a double shot of vodka or gin and a bottle of Bretaña (soda water) and lime. Regardless, I’ve made a list of some of my favorite cocktail bars in Medellin.
- 37 Park
- Victoria Regia
- Botanika Lounge
- La Bolsa
- Vibes Bar
- La Cantine
Places for Dancing in Medellin
Medellin nightlife is mostly about drinking and dancing. Whether it’s Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Vallenato or Reggaeton, music is key. Talking at these places is hard because the music is usually very loud, so just grab a drink and grab a girl, dance and have a great time. These are some of my favorite spots in Medellin.
- La Clinica
- Office Liquor
- El Tibiri – Salsa only
- Son Havana – Salsa only
- El Eslabon Prendido – Salsa Only
- Buenavista – Salsa Only
- Cuchitril – Salsa Only
In the end the Medellin nightlife is pretty diverse. Pretty much all major neighborhoods have nightlife. I’ve been to many other places I did not mention for example Madera, Bello, Robledo, Copacabana, and Itagui. I do not frequent those places, so I do not feel experienced enough to write about them.
If you have any good nightlife suggestions or questions feel free to write them down in the comments.
About the writer – Andrew Macia
Hello, my name is Andrew Macia and I am the founder of the Medellin Buzz. I am an advanced level English teacher, and I also run a digital marketing company here in Medellin.
I love Colombian and Medellin has been my home since 2010. I like to write and I want to give back to the community. This is the best way I know how. I hope you enjoy my blog!
About the Medellin Buzz
I started the Medellin Buzz as a resource for my English as a foreign language students. A site where they could read about their city in English, that wasn’t boring. It slowly turned into a personal blog and hub for information for people discovering Medellin. I check comments frequently, so feel free to leave your comment and/or questions below.