that find: bogotá en fuego

Welcome to the inferno. At least that’s how mega-restaurant come bar/ live music venue/club Andrés Carne de Res would like to have you feel. The iconic Bogotá establishment takes diners on a journey down into a blazing underworld, where every sin from gluttony to lust is played out through every detail from the rich food to steamy dance moves.

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Hell is a good place to be if this is it.

Andrés Carne de Res is one of those restaurants of travel lore. It’s impossible to visit Bogotá without hearing about the bizarre restaurant you simply have no choice but to visit. The rambling space is filled with eclectic and disorganized ornamentation that is only challenged by the quirky personalities of the people who patron the space. Both a top tourist attraction and favored local spot, the mix of gringo and local within the Disney-esque interior (though be it a naughty Disney adventure) of Andrés Carne de Res is unlike anything you’ll find anywhere else in Colombia or the world.

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The quirky decor suits the kooky experience that is Andrés Carne de Res (photo courtesy of wandermelon.com).

Oftentimes, I am weary of visiting restaurants that double as tourist trap. But trap Andrés Carne de Res is not. The restaurant is at the same time a cliche and as far from one as possible and either way a trip to Bogotá would be incomplete without experiencing a raucous night there. Visitors once had to make the journey to Chía, about 45 minutes outside of the city without traffic, to experience the lively scene. A second outpost in the heart of Bogota’s swanky Zona Rosa has made the journey much easier.

Mauro A. Fuentes Álvarez

Add this place to your foodie bucket list (photo courtesy of flickr user Mauro Fuentes).

A trip to Andrés Carne de Res is not only worth it for the crazy Colombian festivities that ensue there but also for the food. Heaping portions of classic cuisine like chicharones, empanadas and arepas are served alongside even bigger plates of fiery chorizo and tender salt-crusted sirloin. Not simply an afterthought, the 50+ pages of authentic Colombian dishes on the menu are good enough to warrant firm placement on any foodie travel map. Imaginative drinks rival the food in size and flavor and by the end of the evening you’ll find it hard not to imbibe in at least one (if not many) aguardiente based cocktails.

At Andrés Carne de Res you'll get your Latin groove on even if you didn't know you had one (photo courtesy of the restaurant).

At Andrés Carne de Res you’ll get your Latin groove on even if you didn’t know you had one (photo courtesy of the restaurant).

After the food comes the fiesta. The massive space becomes a wild street party with literally  of revelers dancing their way from one floor to the next. Live performers belt out the intoxicating classic Latin tunes that have you rocking to salsa and rumba even if you don’t know how. Don’t even bother trying to resist getting your Latin groove on- restaurant staff will pull you onto the dance floor if you’re not there already.

Salsa's the word (photo courtesy of Literally Translated)

Salsa’s the word (photo courtesy of Literally Translated).

My night out on the Andrés Carne de Res town.

My night out on the Andrés Carne de Res town.

Emblematic of the vivacious Colombian character, the frenetic energy of Andrés Carne de Res engulfs everyone who visits the restaurant whether they want it to or not. At the end of the evening (which is really more like early morning) it’s hard to leave Andrés Carne de Res and even harder to fathom not to return.

If this is hell, I’m happy to be there.

Andrés Carne de Res, Calle 3 # 11A – 56, Chia, Cundinamarca, Colombia, +57 1 8612233

Andrés D.C., El Espartillal, Bogotá, Bogotá, D.C., Colombia, +57 1 8637880 

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