Bodeguita del Sur - Salsa in Montevideo

Visiting Uruguay, maybe coming from Buenos Aires like I did?
If you’re Salsa addicted surely you want to know where to dance Salsa in Montevideo, don’t you?

The Salsa scene in Uruguay’s capital is rather small.

There are just two places with regular parties but don’t panic, they are great!
And this is because people are friendly, easy going and willing to dance. After all, this is the country that gave birth to one of the greatest dancers (and my personal favorite): Fernando Sosa, founder of Tropical Gem dance company.

Below my experience after spending almost a week in Montevideo in March 2015.

 

Fridays: La Bodeguita del Sur – El Templo de la Salsa

Location: Soriano 840, Motevideo, Uruguay
Entrance Fee: 150 UR$
Drinks: soda for 40 UR$
Website: www.labodeguitadelsur.com.uy

Bodeguita Salsa Montevideo

I showed up at midnight and guess what? It was empty because people start pouring in after 1am.
And when I say pouring in, I really mean it! The Bodeguita got very crowded by 2am, both inside and outside the dance floor.

The music was pretty good with a mix of Salsa dura, Cuban and some bachatas. The DJ spun some good songs I never heard before.

The crowd was as well a mix of locals, some expats and some visitors like me and a group of tourists that were supposed to reach a tango show but got sidetracked by the Salsa beat. Oh well…
In fact, the first two dances I had were with girls from Germany and we were both surprised or disappointed for being so far from home yet not dancing with Uruguayos.

And with Uruguayos we danced soon after. People here dance mainly on1, with few on2 dancers that are normally the most experienced ones. There are also Cuban dancers and around 2:30am they took over the floor to do their rueda thing.

Something I noticed is that no matter how packed was the dance floor, people were dancing pretty ‘big’, and I mean with fully-stretched harms and dangerously high elbows. Even good dancers were using much more space then available. I saw the same in Buenos Aires and I thought that was because of the porteños big ego 🙂

I enjoyed the night so much that I didn’t realize was already 5am. By that time most of the people were gone and the dance floor was livable again.

The atmosphere is excellent, people are there to dance and it was easy to invite girls even for a stranger like I was. That’s not always the case when traveling to new places, plus they dance a familiar style (let me say: how we dance in Europe!).

The best party is on Friday, while in the other days there are only classes. La Bodeguita is very hot in summertime, but you can get some fresh air in the small balcony enjoying the breeze.
PRO TIP: watch out for the pigeons sleeping on the roof when you’re on the balcony! 😉

 

 

Wednesday: Azabache

Location: Avenida Dr. Lorenzo Merola, Montevideo, Uruguay
Entrance Fee: free till midnight
Drinks: Beer (bottle of 0.75l) for 200 UR$
Website: Facebook page

Azabache Salsa Montevideo

This is a great place.
I arrived there just before midnight and, as it happens in this part of the world, there was still a class going on. It was a workshop of urban bachata and the teachers were showing spiced-up moves.

Around 00:30 the lesson was over and the social party started, with bachata and Salsa music alternated.

It got crowded by 1am and the dance floor was full with good dancers!

Keep in mind that they’re latino so even when a girl says “I’m not good at Salsa” she can probable move pretty well. It happened to me a few times mainly because I was inviting random people outside of the dance floor.

PRO TIP: the real Salsa folks are the ones on the dance floor. The girls hanging around may not be into dancing, especially when they are beautiful and play too easy to be true. Locals confirmed that there are girls doing the world’s oldest profession.

Back on the dance floor, Uruguayans dance mainly on1 but on2 is growing and the most experienced dancers usually can dance both styles.
I liked this place a lot because it’s the same atmosphere I’m used in Europe: people go there to dance and it’s easy to invite girls and have non-pretentious dances.

The party goes on till a crazy 6-7am, but by 3am the Salsa & bachata part got replaced by reggeton and quite few Salseros called the night.
Including me.

 

If you’re going to Montevideo, don’t forget to bring your Salsa moves! (and don’t forget to leave a comment to this article)

Special thanks to Christian Lamanca, founder of Salseros de la Costa Canelones for showing me around the city and his insider tips!
Where to dance Salsa in Montevideo
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Written by Daniele
Hi, I’m Daniele! In April 2012 I quit my full-time IT job to pursue entrepreneurship and a location independent lifestyle.