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A night out in Montevideo

Karin Ledl
By Karin Ledl

Montevideo is an exciting and vibrant city at night, but you have to know where to go to make the most out of it. So where is the best place to go?

First of all, it depends on your tastes. Do you like to dance all night to electronic music? Or do you prefer a quiet little bar to have a drink and meet new people?

For both options there’s the perfect place to go. I am going to reveal to you some of the best places to enjoy your night out in Montevideo.

Basically there are three different Montevideo neighborhoods that host nightlife:

  • The Pocitos area
  • The Parque Battle area
  • The Old City (Ciudad Vieja)

The Pocitos area


Pocitos is my personal favorite. Why do I like this area in particular? Well, because it is safe at night and has some really fun places to go out. Most of these places are located in and around the World Trade Center (WTC) located at 26 de Marzo and Luis Alberto Herrera.

Lotus  
Cr. Luis E. Lecuender by corner of Dr. Luis Bonavita
(598) 2628-1379
Shaped round like a spaceship, this is a great place to dance to electronic and house music, as well as people watch.

They do charge an entrance fee of around 200 pesos but give you a free drink. Some nights there are special events and the entrance fee may be higher. Be warned the club starts really late, arriving at 2:00 am is almost too early. The best nights to go dancing here are Thursdays and Saturdays.

There is a strict admittance policy, so you need to be dressed nice. As a man, you won’t necessarily need to wear a suit but you won’t be seeing sneakers or light jeans either. Women also dress smartly though a nice pair of dark jeans and boots will be okay.

Bamboo
World Trade Center Plaza – Local 055
(598) 2628-0002
Bamboo has excellent sushi. It’s a relaxed and quiet option for spending an evening with friends.

Burlesque
Luis A. de Herrera 1136
(598) 2623-2808
On Luis Alberto Herrera Street, going toward the coastline from the WTC plaza, there are a number of additional options. For a very relaxed evening Burlesque is just right, offering a selection of Mexican food.

Bar 21
Luis A. de Herrera 1140
(598) 2623-5804
Next door to Burlesque is 21 Bar. This bar/restaurant is popular both among the young and the more mature public. They offer good tapas, some Mexican food and small dishes.

The owners take pictures of the patrons every night and post them to their Facebook page. (21 Bar was originally located on 21 de Septiembre Street, thus, "21 Bar".)

Both Burlesque and 21 Bar are usually packed on Saturdays evenings. There is no dancing at either of these places, though you can certainly people watch. The dress code is more informal than at the places on the WTC Plaza.

Barba Roja
Luis A. Herrera 1154
On the corner of Luis Alberto Herrera and Jose Iturriaga is Barba Roja.
This place brews their own beer and offers some unusual choices, such as raspberry flavored dark beer.

It has some interesting food choices too, like fajitas and burritos. The best days to go are Fridays and Saturdays, and after 1 am they play music, mostly electronic and house.

It gets really full so it might be a good idea to reserve a table, or if you are moving in a big group, a living (there are only two livings with large red couches and small coffee tables where the food is served – maybe a bit uncomfortable to eat but very cool to see people and be seen).

The Parque Battle area


Azabache
Dr. Lorenzo Merola, in, Parque Battle
(598) 2487-2405
In this area the most popular disco/pub is Azabache. Every night there´s something different: salsa nights, oldies, Latin music and cumbia, etc. As well a drink specials. You can check their Faceook page to see what is going on.

This is a totally different atmosphere from the restaurants and clubs on the World Trade Center. There is an entrance fee. You will see mostly locals.

Brickell
Juan Manuel Blanes 1175
094-367-799
Huge variety of beers, good pub fare and a DJ mixing some fun music, this is an ideal place to go relax with a group of friends.


The Old City


Bar Fun Fun 
 922 Soriano near Convención
(598) 2904-4859
Probably the most iconic spot in the Old City is, Bar Fun Fun. This place has been open for over a century and offers mostly tango and candombe, a music with African roots. The public is generally older and there are many locals.

You can either eat or just enjoy a drink, but the food selection is limited mostly to pizzas and finger food. The famous drink to order here is “Uvita” , a secret formula dating to 1895. Weekends there are live performances and it can get full so make a reservation for a table.

La Ronda Café
Ciudadela 1182 at the corner of Canelones
(598) 2901-5659
La Ronda where you´ll find both tango and music of all times. It is a favorite spot with artists and intellectuals. DJs often play vintage records while you eat or have a drink. The most requested drink here are caipiroshkas (caipirinhas made of vodka).

La City
Rincon 618
(598) 2916-7782
With a mix of older and younger people alike, La City is a popular disco. Music is mostly electronic, and it also has a special VIP area called “Sky Club” with tables where you can enjoy sushi and drinks.

Finally, on the Old City's Bartolome Mitre street there are a number of places to go including:

El Pony Pisador
Bartolome Mitre 1326
(589) 2915-7470
Grab a beer, some tapas and prepare to dance to all kinds of music: rock, pop, oldies and electronic. Small place, sometimes it can get packed.

The Shannon 
Bartolome Mitre 1318
(598) 2916-9585
The Shannon is an Irish pub where often live bands perform. This is a favorite hangout for expats - very casual and relaxed.

 I hope this guide will help you find the perfect place to go out in Montevideo. And wherever you choose to go… I hope you will have a fantastic time!

If you would like to read Karin's picks for good places to eat in Montevideo you will find them here: Eating Out in Montevideo 

This post, first published in 2011, was revised and updated by Karin Ledl in April 2016. 

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the very informative night life article!

It would be great to have descriptions of where really good food is. Surely there is more than sushi and pizza around?

Thanks!

Paradise Uruguay said...

Your comment is very timely! Karin is currently working on an article about good places to eat in Montevideo. So, stay tuned!

David said...

Wow, what a well-written and comprehensive article! I'm new in town and had no idea there are so many cool places near my apartment in Pocitos. Thank you for taking the time to write this--you saved me months of searching!

Jeva said...

Fantastic article!!

Karin you really know your stuff when it comes to having fun out in Montevideo. Thanks for taking the time to share your tips! I can't wait to try them all out.

Anonymous said...

Karin excellent article. I'm not sure what you mean or the difference between house and electronic music?
Is there any place where they play latin music? How about Tango?
Thanks!

Paradise Uruguay said...

House is a genre of electronic music, and by modern dance music standards it is mid-tempo.

David Guetta often plays various styles of house so it is still very popular.

Other genres of electronic music include Trance, Progressive House, Ambient, Electroacoustic, etc.

About the Tango, at Bar Fun Fun (Ciudadela 1229) you can both watch and dance.

Latin music can be often enjoyed both at El pony Pisador and at Azabache (see my article about going out in Montevideo). I hope you have lots of fun and enjoy Uruguay!

All the best, Karin

Matt Powell said...

I'm an American musician from Los Angeles planning to move to Montevideo within the year. Does anyone know if there are opportunities for musicians to play in bars/restaurants/etc and make a living? Or even partial income? Any info or leads is very much appreciated. Thanks.