We debated whether to visit Andres DC during our week in Bogota. Frankly, it sounded cheesy. Waiters dressed in Halloween costumes. Roving brass bands. Impromptu salsa dances.

Andres DC seemed like a super-charged version of America’s TGIFridays or Chili’s.

Meh.

But when we got to Bogota, the locals insisted we had to check out this Colombian institution.

“You will not find any place like this in the world,” said Claudia Valencia Chaljub, our guide for a visit to the Zipaquira salt mines and Lake Guatavita.

A mosaic behind one of the bars in Andres DC, a Bogota institution. Image care of modular/flickr

Andres DC was conveniently located next to our hotel. The branch is an offshoot of the original restaurant, Andres Del Res, in Chia, a town about 45 minutes outside of Bogota.

We popped in around 8:30 on a Wednesday night and were told there would be a 90-minute wait. So we did what we usually do in situations like this: hit the bar.

Around us gaudy star and heart-shaped lights dangled from the ceiling along with shrines to the Virgin Mary. Spotlights highlighted graffiti-like drawings of women on the walls. From somewhere in the restaurant we could hear a group slurring a song in Spanish.

We found a few open seats at a bar on the third floor and ordered a round of aguardiente, Colombia’s local liquor. Similar to Greece’s ouzo or Argentina’s fernet, the anise-flavored drink’s alcohol content hovers around 30%.

Aguardiente

A fist-sized shot of aguardiente. In the background you can see Greg flipping through the restaurant’s 60-plus page menu.

At Andres DC the aguardiente is served in a fist-sized glass with lime. I had already downed a few local IPAs at the nearby Bogota Beer Company.

At this point, the night gets a little fuzzy.

I do remember our table opening up sooner than we expected. It was decorated with rose petals. The menus were more than 60 pages long and featured ads for brands like BMW and Visa. See the video below.

We ordered an appetizer of grilled mushrooms which was good, if not particularly inventive. A platter of grilled meat served as our main dish.

Our waitress brought large white bibs to accompany the sizzling plate of chicken, kielbasa and carne asada. She draped the bibs ceremoniously over our heads before allowing us to eat.

Later came the crowns. And the capes. And the kazoos. And more beers. By the end of the night we were fully sloshed and decked out in Andres-branded paper goods. There may have also been singing. The next day I found a goody bag full of chocolates in my purse.

While the details may be blurry, I do remember thoroughly enjoying Andres DC. This place had more flair than Chili’s could handle. Three plates, two shots of aguardiente and a few beers came to just over $80 including tip.

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