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Entertainment & Nightlife in Bolivia

La Paz

Once the sun sets in La Paz, the temperature drops dramatically. Instead of going home (often to unheated apartments), many locals seek the warmth of bars and pubs. The nightlife scene in La Paz can hardly compare to New York or even Buenos Aires, but there are some places in the heart of the city where you can relax and kick back a few drinks. Peñas provide a place for visitors to experience traditional folk music and dance, although they tend to be very touristy.

Note: Most bars (except in hotels) are open only Wednesday through Saturday.

Bars & Pubs

The best hotel bar in La Paz is at the Radisson; they have a very popular happy hour nightly from 6:30pm to 8:30pm offering two-for-one drinks, and it's popular with expatriates and tourists alike. One of the most popular British-style watering holes in the city is Mongo's, Hermanos Manchego 2444 (near the corner of Pedro Salazar, half a block up from Avenida 6 de Agosto). It has a cozy feel and a wood-burning fireplace. Get here early, as the place fills up late at night; the food here is also surprisingly good. Coyote Bar, Avenida 20 de Octubre 2228 (corner of Pasaje Medinacelli), is smaller and less popular than Mongo's. Malegría, Calle Goitia 155 (a few steps from the Plaza del Estudiante), is very popular on Thursday nights for its Afro-Bolivian band; the lively music sometimes gets people dancing on the bar.

One of the trendiest bars in town is Sol y Luna, Calle Murillo 999. Metal revolving doors lead into an industrial-looking space with a very in-crowd sipping on rather expensive cocktails. Nearby on Illampu between Santa Cruz and Sagárnaga is Ojo de Agua, where you can drink wine and chew coca leaves while you listen to a mix of classic rock and native music.

Discos & Dance Clubs

El Loro en Su Salsa, down from Avenida 6 de Agosto on Rosendo Gutiérrez, is one of the best dance clubs in La Paz; salsa is the specialty here. Boccaccio, J.M. Reyes 28 in the Calacoto neighbourhood, is also happening on Friday and Saturday nights. Also popular are Coco Loco in Miraflores in the Edificio Providencia, which is on the curve right south of the stadium, and Noa Noa on Calle Conchitas between 20 de Octubre and Heroes del Arce. In general, the cover charge for clubs in La Paz is about 10Bs ($1.30).

Peñas & Live Music

These days, it's hard to find an authentic peña that caters to locals. Fortunately, for the most part, you'll hear authentic Andean music and watch folk dancers wearing unique but traditional costumes. Restaurant Peña Marka Tambo, Calle Jaén 710 near the corner of Indaburo, puts on a good show Thursday through Saturday nights. The cover is 25Bs ($3.25). The traditional Bolivian dishes are good. The show starts at 9:30pm. Casa de Corregidor, Calle Murillo 1040, is a similar venue – typical Bolivian food and music. There is a show here every night during the week; this place feels a bit more laid-back than Marka Tambo. Boca y Sapo, Indaburo 654 (corner of Jaén), attracts locals as well as tourists; there's no dinner here, only live music, which makes it feel a bit more authentic.

Equinoccio, Sánchez Lima 2191 between Aspiazu and Guachalla, is one of the best venues for live music. For live jazz, try Thelonious Jazz Bar, Avenida 20 de Octubre 2172. A lot of the bands that play here are from the United States.

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