Downtown Santa Cruz, Bolivia has always been a traditional meeting place where locals and tourists alike congregate in the central plaza. With its hundreds of stores, offices, banks, restaurants and other services, el centro
(also known as el casco viejo
, which means historic center
) has never known a truly silent moment.
As the city sprawls and residents move outward, downtown homes are rapidly being replaced by shops and boutiques, offices, hotels and inns, and numerous museums and art galleries as well as dozens of cafés, bars, ice cream shops, restaurants, nightclubs, almost all of which now offer live or at least musical entertainment at night. As more nightlife moves in, more residents move out making room for more nightlife. The other main areas for dining and nightlife in Santa Cruz are Avenida Monseñor Rivero and Equipetrol, and you'll find great restaurants in both areas.
Downtown Nightlife: Right on the Plaza
Calle Sucre No. 8
On the corner of the main plaza next to Café 24, this large open-patio café preserves its colonial architecture while offering modern gourmet food and live entertainment every night of the year. Rock, pop, classical orchestras, poetry readings, others.
Calle René Moreno Esq. Sucre
This smaller café, directly across the street from the cathedral, is a favorite tourist meeting place day and night, and offers international food plus live music from Thursday to Saturday. Salsa, rumba, pop, rock, jazz, others.
La Pascana Center
Calle Sucre, Esq. 24 de Septiembre
Located across the street from the cathedral (diagonally), is a favorite at night, offering diverse genre of live music such as pop, rock, and even folkloric bands.
Restaurante la Bodeguita de Cuba
Calle René Moreno No. 44
Located next to Café 24, this pub seeks to imitate the bar where Hemingway spent so much time in Havana. Bohemian style and Cuban decore, with folklore, salsa, and other Caribbean rhythms at night.
Plaza Rock Café
Calle 24 de Septiembre
Shopping Bolivar (mall), top floor
Rock decor with full meals, juices and drinks, this café is especially popular because it overlooks the plaza at night. Expect to hear mostly classical rock here.
Calle 24 de Septiembre
Shopping Bolivar (mall), 1st floor
With the traditional decor of Irish pubs (thus the name), you'll find a bohemian ambiance, great food and drinks, and international pop-rock classics day and night.
Downtown Pub Lounge
Calle René Moreno, top floor
Across from the cathedral
If you're into classic pop and rock and classic drinks such as long island ice teas, daquiris and vodka tonics, this is the place for you.
Downtown Nightlife: Walk a Few Blocks
Bar de los 80's
Calle 24 de Septiembre No. 163
Go back to the 80's in this theme-decorated bar. Of course 80's music rules here but you may be treated to live music some weekends.
Calle Buenos Aires
Near the corner of 24 de Septiembre
Enjoy great local foods, salads and grill-type fare by day and a variety of pop, rock and tropical bands or music by night.
Near the corner of Libertad street
With an underground semi-grunge style, this is popular among the young crowd and combines rustic and industrial decor. Expect reggae, house, techno and alternative music.
Calle Libertad No. 352
This once ancient house has been decorated with VIP disco elegance. DJ's play anything from reggaeton to techno and on some weekends live groups play pop, rock, and tropical music.
La Casona Bistro
Calle Arenales 222
This pretty colonial restaurant has been around for years and specializes in German and international foods. Live groups play rock, jazz, reggae, and other rhythms of Thursdays.
Calle La Paz, corner of Ballivián
This darkish French-Swiss bistro is one of the first nightlife offerings in the downtown area with live national folklore and/or Latin American music from Wednesday to Saturday (and great escargot!)
Calle Ballivián No. 66
This unique artsy/hippie/beatnick bar offers peace and love plus three separate music environments for your choice of reggae, rock or techno.
Calle Ballivián No. 159
This legendary "blues" bar, now at a new location, has expanded to offer reggae, funk, and jazz as well. Music is live most weekend nights.
Calle Beni No. 222
A mix of colonial and modern styles, you'll find pop, rock and hip hop plus live groups on Friday and Saturday.
Calle Beni between Arenales and Bolivar
This large and very unique nightclub is decorated in Egyptian style with lounge-type sofas, 6 separate dance floors (expect reggaeton, pop, tropical, and hip hop) and room for 600 people!
Calle Florida No. 228
Between España and 21 de Mayo
Like it's name, we're "in doubt" about what this bar's style is: you can hear all types of music here as you take in the eclectic decor.
Play Off Sports Bar
Calle Ballivián No. 138
From Tuesday to Sunday, you can watch national and international games on a large TV screens while you down a few. Modern music is played in the background.
Calle Beni No. 116
Corner of Bolivar
Young Latin rock, blues and alternative music reign here on weekends where you can sit either indoors or outdoors.
Calle Arenales No. 15
Near the corner of 24 de Septiembre
Buri means party or festival in the Guaraní language. This disco has several rooms and plays a variety of the latest mod music styles while conserving the structure of the ancient house it used to be.
Calle Ayacucho No. 340
Between Colón and Vallegrande
A very rustic tavern with modern electronic, reggaeton and tropical music.
Downtown Nightlife: Walk a Bit
Etcétera Café Bar
Calle Moldes No. 591
About 10 blocks from the main square, this café bar is typically a long-night starting point with modern rhythms and one of the long island iced teas it's known for.
Manuel Ignacio Salvatierra
Near the corner of Potosí
Just 3 blocks from Etcétera, this twice-hyphenated pub just a bit farther from downtown is another option to start the night earlier on.
La Tirana Bar
Calle La Paz No. 457
Between Republiquetas and M.I. Salvatierra
This Mexican style bar is decorated with Latin American art and plays Latin American music. It's Latin American to the core.