Salsa bars in Cali

in Nightlife/Things to do

This post is way overdue. For a city known as the Capital of Salsa, providing a list of the best places to dance in town, should have been the first thing on my mind. Unfortunately, I’m not much of a dancer so it has taken me a while to get to know the bars with the best music and atmosphere. Us Vikings tend to hang in the bar, put out the vibe and if we get drunk enough we might begin dancing with our beer. My moves are robocoptic at best. I do, however, have a Caleña girlfriend who will look at me with her big brown eyes and beg me to bring her to la pista – the dancefloor – to the great amusement of any onlookers.

Better late than never, below is my list of the best places to visit for the ‘real’ salsa experience in Cali. Most are places that I’ve been to, but a few of them are recommendations that come from local salsa dancers and friends of mine. Some of the bars/clubs below will be charging a cover, especially for nights with live music, but usually never more than $10.000.
As a side note, Colombia has 18 national holidays and they are usually placed on a Monday giving the people a long weekend known as a puente. During puentes, most bars also open on Sundays.

La Topa Tolondra

La Topa, as it is known, is a really cool and informal little joint with cheap drinks and often times great live music. A favorite among locals and foreigners alike. The best part is that is they are open almost every day, making it the perfect weekday party for tourists in town.

Open Monday, Tuesday to Wednesday from 6:00 pm to 1:00 am. Thursday to Saturday from 6:00 pm to 4:00 am.

Calle 5 # 13-27

PS. Punto Bare and Baco right next to La Topa are also excellent choices for some late night dancing.

Zaperoco

This is the mothership of old school salsa dancing in Cali. The DJ, Osman Arias, has been spinning LPs since before I was born. A lot of very talented dancer, young and old, come here to show off their skills. But that should not keep you away – and hey – the popcorn is free!

Open Thursdays from 8:00 pm to 1:00 am and Friday-Saturday from 8:00 pm to 3:00 am.

Avenida 5N # 16-46 – Versalles

Extasis

Another old school salsa disco in Cali, attracting an upper-class clientele. Be prepared to buy a bottle of booze before getting a table.

Calle 9 # 4-50 – Centro

I could not find the exact opening hours, but Friday and Saturday nights are a safe bet!

Salsa Night Club

Famous for its Sunday Funday salsa dancing. Bring a partner. This is not a place to find a date. The audience is mature but friendly.

Avenida Roosevelt # 24-67

Open Friday and Saturday from 7:00 pm to 3:00 am and Sundays from 4:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

Tin Tin Deo

Another favorite gringo hangout. The cool thing about Tin Tin Deo is that everybody dances with everybody, making it a great spot if you don’t have a dance partner. On Thursdays from 8 pm they usually have a teacher getting people warmed up. As a nice feature, your cover charge gets deducted from your tab. This place does get packed so if you’re the kind that gets claustrophobic, then this is not for you.

Calle 5 # 38-71

Open Thursday to Saturday from 8:00 pm to 3:00 am.

La Cola del Perro

This is the newest salsa bar in town, owned by the guy behind the city’s most famous salsa orchestra. It is a recommendation from a friend. I have yet to go, but I am looking forward to it.

Calle 5 # 26-52

Open Thursday to Saturdays from 6:00 pm to 4:00 am and Sundays from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

Rincon de Heberth

Locals have been coming to Hebert’s corner for years for it’s live music and because the party spreads all the way out in the street. People are happy, dancing and drinking until the wee hours.

Carrera 24 # 5-32

Open Friday and Saturday from 7:00 pm to 3:00 am.

Siboney

A classic institution with more than 34 years of salsa history in Cali. They recently moved from Menga to Parque Alameda making it more convenient for city slickers. Tuesdays are known as the best day for salsa dancing at Siboney.

Parque Alameda

Open Tuesday to Saturday from 8:00 pm to 3:00 am.

Balneario Las Brisas

According to my good friend Carolina, “Lunes de Brisas” is hands-down the best Monday party Cali has to offer. Expect live music and lots of salsa dancing. Food is served, so there is no excuse for not showing up early.

It takes places at recreational finca at the km 8 mark on the autopista between Cali and Jamundi in the south. A taxi from northwestern Cali will cost you about $25.000 pesos.

Open every Monday from 6:30 pm to 1:00 am.

The above spots are what I would call salsa bars. If you’re looking for more of a salsa club atmosphere, then check out:

Lolas

I went here on the night that I met my girlfriend. Locals love it. Music is so loud that having a conversation is nearly impossible , the service kind of slow, you can’t hide in the bar… that being said, the party is hopping! This is last stop before the motel, but this is not a good place to find a mate – most of them are surely taken.

Carrera 32A # 10-55
Menga (Yumbo)

Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am.

Please be aware that they might not let single guys in the door, so bring a dance partner.

Club Living

Living is one of the hottest clubs in town and they can pack thousands of people into the venue which resembles a small indoor stadium. The massive dance floor is the centerpiece and if you’re not dancing you will be on the tribunes overlooking the ones who do. A young and very pretty clientele ensure plenty of eye candy. But again, you’re better off bringing your own date. In fact, they might not let you in the door without one.

Carrera 40 # 11-83
Menga (Yumbo)

Open Wednesday to Saturday from 9:00 pm to 5:30 am.

Please be aware that they might not let single guys in the door, so bring a dance partner.

Off the beaten path…

If you’re a little more adventurous and looking to get off the beating path, then check out the viejotecas in Parque de la Caña. La Comadre and La Suegra just outside are other local favorites.

Juanchito, located in the far east of Cali is a part of town known for its late night salsa parties. Chango, Baracoa and Dubai are among the most attractive places. Juanchito is not the safest place in Cali, but go in a group or with locals and you should be fine.

Have fun! 🙂

Passed through Cali for the first time in 2011, on his way from the US to Brazil on a motorcycle. Ended up kissing a caleña on his last night and the rest is history. Has been a resident of Cali, Colombia since 2013 and currently living in Barrio Bellavista with his girlfriend and 2 daughters.

4 Comments

  1. I was at the La Cola Del Perro in May and had a great time. Live music on Friday an eclectic group with a college town feel. You can dance or just listen like a salsero. A hole-in-the wall joint with a great vibe

  2. “Los lunes de las brisas” is without a doubt my favorite place in the world being a salsa aficionado. It’s slightly out of town but well worth it! The best local (professional) dancers frequent there and it is the most authentic Colombian experience I’ve enjoyed with an open-air, covered pavilion for dancing. If you’re a salsa dancer or want to see Cali salsa in it’s most authentic expression, this is the place to visit on Monday nights.

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