While the most popular hangouts at nighttime in Quito are the numerous craft beer bars, pubs and clubs around Plaza Foch, where happy hours and two-for-one deals are commonplace, sometimes it’s nice to treat yourself to a cocktail or two in a more upscale location, particularly one with a view. While the city isn’t renowned for its cocktail scene, here are a few places to go for a well mixed drink in Quito.
Top cocktail bars in Quito
Where: Paúl Rivet N30–135 y Whymper, Quito
The stylish Gastro-bar Z(inc) is a hotspot with Quito’s well-heeled locals and tourists so put your glad rags on for the occasion. Located in the chic La Floresta district, the cocktail bar and restaurant has channeled a modern, industrial chic vibe, outfitted with lots of dark metal, treated wood and exposed brick. They aim to surprise with their menu of signature cocktails inspired by the fruits and ingredients in season, such as the Z(inc) & Tonic (their version of a gin and tonic that comes with basil and grapefruit) or the Inka Soul. Their Pisco Sour or Mojito are also solid options. You can either hang out by the bar or step out onto their terrace that looks out over the twinkling city skyline. And if you get hungry, there’s a menu of tasty sharing snacks.
Where: Av. Portugal E11–61 y Catalina Aldaz, Quito
If you love cocktails and steak then Sur will surely impress with its giant plates of grilled, juicy cuts and long list of skillfully mixed cocktails, served from stylishly shaped glasses. If you’re just going for a the latter, head to their sleek back bar area, where an impressive array of spirits and bottles line the shelves and a team of bar tenders expertly juggle bottles and line up the drinks at impressive speeds. We’re a fan of their Beergarita — a bottle of craft beer that’s dunked upside down in a goldfish bowl full of Grand Marnier, lime juice, sweet and sour and ice.
Where: Paul Rivet N 30–127 y Av. Jose Orton, Quito
This colorful, flower-loving establishment is a must for gin lovers. The intimate little cocktail bar prides itself on its variety of imaginative gin and tonic drinks, whether you prefer rose petals, maracuya (passion fruit), red fruits or a hint of orange in your G&T. They also use the locally produced Amaranto gin. If gin is not your thing, the Pacari chocolate margarita is a great option for a sweet tooth and they also serve up other standard cocktails. Check their Facebook page for upcoming after offices, ladies nights and all-you-can-drink gin nights (if you dare).
Where: Mejía Oe4–45 y García Moreno / Manuel Samaniego N8–169 y Antepara, Quito
Wanting to make the most of Quito’s unique skyline and believing that the best bars and restaurants are always located on the top floor, the Vista Hermosa owners opened two locations with a view. One is in the heart of the old town on the top floor of a historic, old building with giant windows and a terrace that looks out over the most iconic monuments, churches and buildings of the colonial, UNESCO World Heritage-listed old town and is perfect for an after-class cocktail at dusk. The other is located in the La Tola neighborhood, bordering Itchimbia Park, that also offers sweeping views of the city and beyond to the majestic snow capped mountains. We like their strawberry and passion fruit Mojitos or, do like a local, and order a Canelazo which is a popular mixed drink on a cold evening, made from brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, orange and lime juice and aguardiente (local version of white rum). This and the terrace heaters will keep you nice and toasty, even on the chilliest of nights. Drink slowly as it has quite a kick to it.
Where: Palacio de Cristal, Calle Iquique s/n / General Melchor Aymerich — Cima del Panecillo, Quito
Come summertime, you’ll want to trade a canelazo for something more fruity and refreshing and what better than a Pimm’s to quench your thirst. This place takes its name from the revered British summertime drink (but spells it differently). Order a Pimm’s or other cocktail and find a seat on the outdoor deck and watch the lights come on in the city below. The highlight of Pim’s is definitely the view but a spectacular view comes at a price so drinks are a little pricier than other establishments.
Know of any other good cocktail bars in Quito that you’d like to recommend? Share the details with our readers in the comments section below.