Legendary Glasgow duo Silicone Soul have announced a smoldering fifth edition to their long-running series of label mixes Darkroom Dubs. Inspired by the sudden freedom of summer, Darkroom Dubs Vol. V brings us up to date with the underground sound and instantly distinctive signature they’ve spent the better part of 20 years perfecting and refining. We invited the duo to take us on a journey through the lush landscapes of Bogota, Colombia for the latest episode of our City Guide series.
Texts and photos by Craig from Silicone Soul
We all love a good drink, so where are the best places to go before a night out?
My favorite place is Bar Dońa Ceci, located on Carrera 4 in the golden triangle of Candelaria. It’s a local institution for daytime drinkers and late-night revelers. Part diner, part dive bar, this is a place where beers are cold and tequila shots are quick. Don’t forget the salt and lemon!
If you fancy a more British style pint, just across the street is the BBC (Bogotá Beer Company). It is a popular chain selling craft beer and lager. I recommend sharing a Jarra (carafe) with friends. There are BBCs above the city, with even one in the business lounge at El Dorado Airport.
Where can you find the best clubs/night spots in town?
Bogotá has many great clubs spread throughout the city, but there are plenty of taxis and Ubers, so it’s easy to get between clubs. For serious disco, head to Kaputt in Chapinero. I played in the Main Room last month for the first time, and the atmosphere was fantastic – appropriate darkroom style. There are four other rooms, and the music ranges from dark disco and indie dance to house and classics.
El Coq is another favorite for going out and DJing, located in the Zona Rosa neighborhood. It’s a bar/club with a laid-back lounge atmosphere, and the decor is reminiscent of a French country house with friendly staff and punters. The music is laid back with a house/nu-disco/Italo edge, perfect for some early weekend action.
Core parties (Calle 27) are a big favorite for that proper underground vibe, and after-hours are especially special. It’s almost like a private party in a converted restaurant kitchen with a very open-minded crowd.
Also, Asilo on Avenida Caracas is another Bogotá institution and is the perfect place to start the night. Expect everything from new-wave and post-punk to disco. They serve half bottles of alcohol, perfect for sharing a Jack Daniels or two with friends!
Brunches are a must at the weekend, what are the places that make you stand out?
In Bogotá, it’s all about lunch (almuerzo) rather than brunch, and I love the traditional menú ejecutivo that’s available in restaurants across the capital and looks like a Spanish menú del día. My favorite place is Doratto Restaurante, tucked away on Carrera 5. The staff are friendly, even if you struggle with your Spanish. Expect a two-course meal, starting with a soup (usually a sancocho or cuchuco), followed by meat or fish, accompanied by rice, salad, fried banana (patacon) and sometimes croquettes or yuca fried. I find it hard to see past trout (trucha) or mojarra (similar to red snapper). Muy Rico! (PIC 15 &16)
If you have the chance in Bogotá, try ajiaco, a chicken and potato soup usually served with corn on the cob, chopped avocado, capers, guasca (herb) and a drizzle of sour cream. Soup is a popular breakfast after a busy night in the clubs, with even beef rib soup (caldo de costillas) nicknamed levantamuertos (waking the dead). (PICTURE 17 )
Best late night dirty street food option?
It must be El Pastorcito on Calle 60 for tacos al pastor, made Lebanese shawarma style, perfect for the pork lover looking for an after-bar snack. Highly recommend the vampiro with a crispy fried tortilla or the cerdo al pastor with pineapple.
Where can you buy records and musical memorabilia in Bogotá?
Discos Paradisco (Carrera 6) is a record store that I try to visit at least once per trip. They have a great selection of vinyl and a cool bar and radio station. You can find everything from Disco-Edits and House to Electro and EBM, and it’s a great place to hang out and enjoy the sounds.
Fast beats are all over the streets of Bogotá, so if you’re in the mood and looking for more traditional Afro-Colombian and Caribbean sounds like cumbia or classic salsa, try La Galeria Del Coleccionista on Calle 18. They have an amazing collection of rare vinyl and vintage memorabilia from the golden age of Latin music like Fania at Carnegie Hall in the heyday of the 70s. (PHOTO 21).
Your Sunday escape plan when you need to get away?
I would head to Lake Guatavita about 1:30 from the center of Bogotá for fresh air and nature. The lake inspired the legend of El Dorado and a sacred ceremonial site for the indigenous Muisca tribe who cast gold objects. Centuries later, there were many failed attempts to drain the lake and find the lost city of gold.
Something everyone should do when visiting Bogotá, but probably isn’t?
There is a neighborhood (Las Nieves) where all the stores are dedicated solely to the sale of music and recording equipment, sound systems and repairs. It is a paradise and a buzz to walk around. Every cable, connector and part you could ever need. I had a Technics SL-1210 and speaker repaired at a shop, with a skill that has sadly been lost in most other cities these days.
8. A song that reminds you of the city?
It’s one of ours, ‘Fahrenheit 625’, named after the apartment number I was staying in. The track brings back fond memories of wonderful times!
9. What are the other great exports that come from Bogotá?
It must be the musical culture. It is no coincidence that Colombia is called the land of a thousand rhythms.
10. A gift that you can’t leave Bogotá without bringing back to your friends?
I always try to bring back a bottle of aguardiente for friends. It is an aniseed liqueur made from sugar cane and served in a shot. Handsome!
Grab your copy of the release here.