Learn the trade secrets of Cartagena’s most charming bartender
Sample rare aged rums and hand-rolled cigars
Sip the city’s best negroni to the infectious beat of a live champeta band
Without fail, the person who holds the key to unlocking any city’s best-kept secrets is a trusty bartender. In Cartagena, that means bending the indulgent ear of Oscar Velasco, the mixologist behind the top-tier drinks program at El Baron, whose menu of cocktails—all named after women—is meant to take patrons on a round-the-world journey. Over a Keiko (a bracing blend of vodka, rice liquor, and Japanese sencha tea served in a porcelain cup), Oscar divulges other not-to-be-missed drinking dens around town. Fine rum and cigars? Visit Oscar’s pal Domenico at El Cava del Puro, sinking into a leather sofa while sipping on 20-year-aged rum and puffing a hand-rolled house-brand cigar. Seeking a delicious cure for any ailment? Alquímico’s nattily dressed barkeeps mix up libations, referred to as “remedies,” drawing ingredients from apothecary-style jars and tinctures lined up on glowing glass shelves. The infused-rum drinks are also a standout. Take your cure in the spacious downstairs bar or up on the rooftop lounge.
All of the above are within easy walking distance of the Plaza San Pedro Claver in Centro, which is roughly a 30-minute trip from the Conrad without traffic.
EL BARON: 31-7 Carrera 4, Plaza San Pedro Claver; +57-5-664-3105; elbaron.co; 5pm–1am Sundays and Mondays, 12pm–1am Tuesdays, 12pm–2am Wednesdays to Saturdays