Barrio Lastarria’s Bar Berri (Rosal 321, tel. 02/6384734) is a quiet neighborhood bar that also serves fixed-price lunches.
A throwback to the Allende years, Barrio Brasil’s N’aitún (Av. Ricardo Cumming 453, tel. 02/6718410) is an activist bookstore that has an upstairs bar with basic food—sandwiches and snacks—along with folk-oriented music and political theater.
Bellavista’s La Casa en el Aire (Antonia López de Bello 0125, tel. 02/7356680) is a direct descendant of 1960s and 1970s peñas, with folkloric music, storytelling, films, and the like in an alternative milieu. Down the block, Altazor (Antonia López de Bello 0189, tel. 02/7779651) is also a folk music venue, like the traditional Peña Nano Parra (Ernesto Pinto Lagarrigue 80, tel. 02/7356093).
The consistently best rock-music locale is Plaza Ñuñoa’s La Batuta (Jorge Washington 52, tel. 02/2747096). Improbably enough, one of Chile’s most popular bands is the homegrown reggae group Gondwana; when it’s not in town, Santiago’s wannabe dreads hang out to hear Bob Marley at Bellavista’s Jammin’ Club (Antonia López de Bello 49).
The Club de Jazz El Perseguidor (Antonia Lopez de Bello 0126, tel. 02/7776763) offers live jazz on weekends.
North of Avenida Providencia, Avenida Suecia and cross streets sport a swarm of theme bars that tend toward kitsch, but the drinks are good, often imaginative, and a bargain during happy hours that can last until midnight. Among them are Australian-run Boomerang (General Holley 2285, tel. 02/3345081), which has managed to survive and even sustain its popularity in a highly competitive environment; the roughly comparable Brannigan’s (Av. Suecia 035, tel. 02/2325172); and Wall Street (General Holley 99, tel. 02/2325548). Many of these places are also popular for light meals, though the food is only ordinary.
The food is far better than ordinary at Ñuñoa’s Borne 19 (19 de Abril 3550, tel. 02/3563077), a subdued tapas bar with great drinks (happy hour until 9:30 p.m.) and moderately priced Spanish food.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition