If you’re heading to Colombia, it’s likely that one of the things that attracted you in the first place was the promise of amazing Medellin nightlife. Well, friends, you won’t be disappointed. Medellin is fun beyond belief and is easily one of my favorite cities in the world to party in.
The thing about Medellin is that just being in the city feels like a party, and as day turns to night that feeling is amplified.
Seriously, there are so many things to do in Medellin at night!
Paisas (people native to Medellin) are, in my experience, a really fun group of people to go out with. So find yourself some amigos and get ready to enjoy Colombia-style parties that you’ll never forget (or hardly remember, if you do it right). Here’s my guide to the best nightlife in Medellin.
A bit about Medellin nightlife
When you think of Colombia you’ll probably immediately think of salsa or reggaeton. And you wouldn’t be wrong. But Medellin nightlife is so much more than that. As well as hot and sticky dancefloors made for perreo (bumpin’ & grindin), there’s a huge electronic music scene that attracts world-class DJs.
Or, if you prefer to sip cocktails and chat with your amigos, there are dozens of gorgeous bars and lounges to choose from. If, like me, you enjoy a combination of sipping expensive drinks and grinding to J Balvin, you’re really going to love Medellin after dark.
Where to go out in Medellin
For most visitors, El Poblado is the first stop on their nightlife agenda. This neighborhood is where I spent my first few weeks in Medellin hanging out, and there’s plenty going on to ensure that you never get bored. Parque Lleras is the heart of El Poblado Medellin nightlife. This area is teeming with bars and clubs and it’s packed with locals and tourists every single weekend. If you head up the hill a little you’ll find Provenza: an equally popular but slightly classier area of El Poblado. Here you’ll still find great parties, but there are also some beautiful cocktail bars and rooftop terraces to enjoy, too.
The other main area to party is Laureles. This neighborhood is popular with long-term expats and has a much more local feel to it. La 70, which is a street running from Estadio metro station, is the bloodline for Laureles’ party scene. There are hundreds of bars in that area and you could go out every night and never hit the same spot twice. From tiendas, which are stores where you can sit outside and drink (it’s more fun than it sounds, I promise), to wild reggaeton bars, there’s something for everyone. I really love this area so even if you’re staying in El Poblado I’d recommend hopping on the metro or in an Uber and checking it out.
All of the other barrios in Medellin boast their own party scene, but if you’re in town for the first time you’d be best served sticking to these two key areas.
The best bars in Medellin
If you’ve got two left feet fret not: there are loads of bars where sitting isn’t frowned upon. Here are some of the best bars in Medellin (in my humble opinion, of course)…
El Social is my favorite place to sit outside and enjoy a michelada or five while soaking up El Poblado’s night-time vibe. This bar has been here for decades and hasn’t always particularly special, but now it’s my go-to place for relaxed drinks with my pals. There are a couple of floors with seating and tasty bar snacks are available if you need to line your stomach for a big night out.
If you’re feeling a little fancier, Alambique is dreamy. It’s a bugger to find – the entrance is an unmarked door and when you find your way in you might mistake it for an art gallery. But if you head up to the top floor you’ll find one of the most gorgeous drinking spots in Medellin. The cocktail list is killer and if you’re hungry, the food is equally heavenly. It’s best to book a table at the weekend as it’s a popular spot (as it should be).
If you’re seriously boujee, you’ll want to check out the Envy Rooftop at the Charlee Hotel. The hotel itself is seriously luxe, but if your pockets aren’t deep enough for a night’s stay you can fake it at their rooftop bar. The views are unreal at sunset, so I’d recommend heading over for an early evening gin to start your night right. It’s wise to book for Envy, too. Again, it’s pretty popular.
Love beer? Me too! 20 Mission Cerveza is seriously brilliant and is my favorite spot for tasty brews. The owners are cool guys so if you see them, buy them a tequila from me, wouldya?
My main hang spot in Laureles is Barrio Central. This pub is owned by an English dude and is my go-to place for taking dates. It’s pretty chill but always busy enough to have a good vibe, and the crowd is mainly young and always fun. There’s plenty of outdoor seating and they often show big sporting events if that’s your thing. If not, turn your back to the telly and enjoy cheap beer and great food among the youth of Laureles.
Another option is La Charcu, which is on the corner of La 70 and the perfect spot for people watching (I love people watching). They have a brilliant selection of beers from around the world, and their cocktails aren’t too shabby, either. Service is impeccable and it’s way too easy to stay at this spot all night.
Cafe Zeppelin and Cafe Cliche are, as their name suggests, cafes. But, both stay open well into the evening and offer a more relaxed vibe than the bars you’ll find along La 70. Cafe Cliche’s house wine is so cheap and delicious, and is the reason that so many of my evenings there are blurry.
If you’re staying near Laureles and attempting to learn Spanish, the bar at Ondas hostel in La Floresta hosts a super-popular language exchange on Friday evenings. My Spanish hasn’t improved at all since I’ve been going (turns out, I’m a terrible language learner), but I’ve made a great group of Colombian mates from going here, so if you’re traveling solo I’d definitely recommend checking it out.
The best nightclubs in Medellin Colombia
If you’ll excuse the generalization, Colombian people love to dance. And, they’re bloody good at it, too. That’s probably why Medellin nightclubs are the most fun places in the entire world (probably). There are many, many contenders for the best nightclubs in Medellin, but here are some of my favorites…
Let’s start with salsa. Colombia is one of the best places in the world to dance salsa and there are literally dozens of clubs dotted around Medellin that offer a place to dance every night of the week. If you’re a salsa novice it’s worth taking classes to get your skills on point before heading to a salsa night.
Salsa in Laureles
This article has all the information you need to choose the right dance school for you. My favorite salsa spots are in Laureles, and Son Havana is my go-to salsa club for Friday night dancing. The live band is awesome and the atmosphere is welcoming enough to not be intimidating to first timers. If you like your salsa extra steamy you might want to head to Tibiri. This basement salsa club is hotter than the sun and attracts serious dancers who don’t mind sweat dripping from the ceiling. Even if you don’t make this your regular salsa spot, you should really check it out at least once during your stay in Medellin.
Party in El Poblado
If El Poblado is your favorite barrio to party in, I recommend that you check out Buena Vista. Located close to Parque Lleras, this central spot plays a variety of Latin music so isn’t technically a salsa bar. But I love the authenticity of dancing in between tables full of locals drinking guaro (the nickname for Aguardiente, which is a local liquor) so much that I couldn’t leave this place off my list. For Cuban salsa vibes, check out Mi Habana. This joint was opened by a group of Cuban immigrants and offers awesome food, live music, and all the Cuban salsa dancing you can handle.
For an alternative to Poblado and Laureles, check out Social Club in Aguacatala. It’s sometimes a little quiet but I love it as a ‘starter club’ for big salsa nights out.
Did someone say reggaeton?
If you’ve ever met me you’ll know that reggaeton is my favorite musical genre, and if I could I’d spend every weekend perreo-ing my way around a dancefloor. My prefered way of finding somewhere to dance reggaeton is by following my ear.
La 70, the main party street in Laureles, comes alive with the sound of reggaeton at night, so I’d recommend just picking whichever club looks the most lit (and is playing the Nicky Jam). In El Poblado, Vintrash has the perfect sweaty dance floor for bumpin’ and grindin’ and has a fun mix of foreigners and locals. There’s also a bar upstairs where you can catch your breath/mop your brow/drink some drinks. Sky Bar is another popular place for reggaeton and is perfectly located on Parque Lleras. Some of my favorite Medellin nights have ended in Sky Bar and it’s always a fun place to be.
Best places for a bit of everything
Crossover clubs, or fondas, are fun places to dance reggaeton, salsa, bachata, and pretty much any other Latin genre you can think of. La Tienda de la 70 is my favorite fonda in Laureles, Oye Bonita is the best one in Envigado, and one of El Poblado’s best fonda is Fonda la Catrina.
If you hate Latin music (what is wrong with you??) there are plenty of EDM clubs dotted around.
Fahrenheit and Salón Amador are two of the best clubs in El Poblado, and Calle 9 + 1 a very close third. Technically, Radio City is a bar, but they have great DJs playing electronic music on weekends and it’s a fun place to sink cervezas and do some dancing.
So there you have it: my guide to Medellin nightlife. I hope you love this city after dark as much as I do. And if you don’t, maybe the problem is that you just haven’t downed enough Aguardiente yet. PS if you are worried about safety in Medellin, take a read of this.
Which is your favorite place to head in Medellin at night? Let me know in the comments and if I see you there the cervezas are on me.
Author Bio: Sophie is a freelance writer from the north of England. She has been traveling and working in Latin America since August 2017 and is currently living in Medellin, Colombia. When she’s not working you’ll find her writing for her blog, Table for One, where she talks about what it’s really like to travel the world as a solo woman.0