Heavenly Havana, relentlessly raunchy Rio, the fantastically fun city of Buenos Aires — when it comes to nightlife, quaint and unassuming Quito has a lot in the way of competition. And while you might not be picking it as your Spanish language school destination for the salsa, samba or sensual Latin nights out you’d expect in other regional cities — you should! Here are some reasons why…
Where: Diego de Almagro 24–64, Quito
A hot spot for the city’s expats and expat-enthusiasts alike, this bar’s got everything you need in the way of a nocturnal home away from home. An Irish theme in a not-so Irish location.
Where: Corner of Jose Calama and Diego de Almagro, Quito
Again, there’s no shortage of expats hangouts in Quito. And hey, there’s nothing bad about wanting to share your passion for Quito with other foreigners, is there? Bungalow 6 tries to do things a little differently, however, mixing it up with a different theme each night and bringing in a healthy mix of both extranjeros and locals.
Where: General Veintimilla and 12 de Octubre, Quito
Dance unites South America, so get hooked! This seductive Salsa bar is a sure-fire solution to smoothing out your hips and spinning up a Salsa storm during your time in Quito. Note for guys: be prepared to lead your potential Salsa partner! She’ll be waiting.
El pobre diablo
Where: Corner of Isabel la Catolica and Galavis, Quito
If you love live local music and the tight-knit community feel of a local bar, then El pobre diablo is the Quito night hub for you. Dimly lit and always cozy, it’s especially welcoming on colder nights when good company and a warm barrio vibe is what you’re after.
Dim Sum Bar
Where: Corner of Isabel la Catolica and Cordero, Quito
Certainly one of Quito’s most exclusive bars, Dim Sum is where you’ll find the finesse and frivolity that only an inexpensive country like Ecuador can offer you at ease. True, if you’re spending a lot of time in Quito your hip pocket won’t appreciate repeat visits. But for all other type of trips, live it up and spend a little loosely!
Where: Reina Victoria 530, Quito
Beer babies or lovers of the typical British pub rejoice! Named after the street you’ll find it on, Queen Victoria sells draft beer and offers its guests a slice of all things English — the only difference is you’ll find it in the heart of Quito’s bar district, La Mariscal.
Q Restaurant Bar and Lounge
Where: Plaza Foch, Quito
Q will not only blow your socks off with its broad selection of martinis (around 20 to be exact), it also boasts an eco-friendly vibe, which feature a patio area with typically lush, green Ecuadorian vegetation.
With the faint sound of the Andean flute drifting across the Ecuadorian sierra, leading you up to the mountaintop capital, one of the last things you might expect to find in Quito are raves. Think again! Or check this regularly updated rave directory for proof.
And now for the Quito nightlife round-up (some call them ‘tips’):
Know the game!
There’s no one-way to go out in Quito. That’s why you shouldn’t act surprised when, at some bars, you’re asked to pay an entry fee. Often you’ll get a complimentary basic drink at the bar once you’re in, while at other places you simply won’t have to pay at all.
Ladies, gents, everybody!
Nobody, nowhere, is ever guaranteed absolute safety when hitting the town in a foreign country. You’ll no doubt draw attention in some way — perhaps because of your accent, your eye color, etc — so take precautions by going out with friends and always letting them know where you are.
The taxi system in Quito is a brilliant way, once you learn to manage and trust it, to ensure you get home safely and on the cheap. While you might be tempted to wander a few short blocks home, the lack of lighting and the often-confusing street layout in Quito are best not tackled at night (least of all if you’ve had a few too many aguardientes). While generally very safe and friendly, ask around for the details of a trusted driver, or text the license plate of the vehicle to a friend, just to show the locals you know your business!
High above sea level, Quito can get chillingly cold at night, so when you go out take something warm with you just in case! With the same rationale, go easy on your drinking — high altitudes and alcohol don’t mix well for those who aren’t used to being well above sea level!
For everything else you can get up to in Quito check out the activities we have on offer!
Originally published on Ailola by Jayson McNamara on November 21, 2014.