Friday, 3 August 2012

Guest Blogger Series: Introducing...Paul Fowler

Beer in Bogota by a Brit

As an expat one of the most challenging things about living abroad can be leaving behind certain rituals deep-rooted in your culture. For many an Englishman, this will be cradling pint after pint in a dingy, carpeted pub that sells beer at room-temperature. Not to mention decent home-brewed ale, or the atmosphere when a good football game is on.

I lived in Buenos Aires for some time and missed this about my home culture. When I was offered a job in Bogota I expected much the same, and at first things didn't really deviate from my expectations. Average quality beer (Poker and Aguila) in tiendas (small shops with tables) seemed to be the norm. After a little while, however, the pub culture became far more apparent.

In fact, there is a wealth of pubs here serving everything from fish and chips to a decent curry to a steak and ale pie and home-brewed beer.

Some postulate that the success of pubs in Bogota is thanks to the cool climate of the city, which undoubtedly has some truth in it. On top of that, however, is the fact that Bogota swarms with trendy, middle-class types that have travelled and enjoyed what they experienced. Furthermore, of course, there's the fact that with quality comes clients, and there's no doubting the quality of some of Bogota's pubs.

Without further ado, here are my top five:

Bogota Beer Company

Bogota Beer Company has the rightful claim to have started all this pub business in Bogota. Not too long ago there was little on offer in terms of delicious beer, but one Bogotano had the smart idea to start up his own microbrewery in the city and, since then, the company has just grown and grown. One of the biggest, most recognizable brands in Bogota, if you come to the city a visit to one of the many BBC branches is a must.

El Ingles

Run by a Southampton native, El Ingles offers homely
English food accompanied by reasonably priced drink. While there is no home-brew beer available, the quality of the full-English breakfast and the cosy ambience of the place more than makes up for that.

The Monkey House

A new spot in town, The Monkey House is located near the fashionable Gourmet Zone of Bogota. Boasting a range of home-brewed beers as well as a dazzling array of international lagers, stouts and ales, it's second to none for variety. On top of that they do a damn fine curry and a good steak and ale pie. Expect the rowdy
English expats there for the big football games.

Britannia Pub

A little outside the centre of the city, in the area of Salitre, is the modern and impressive Britannia Pub. It's run by a Welshman with a penchant for beer and offers up one of the finest beers in town - the Sierra del Tigre. Of all the fish and chips I've tried abroad, these come closest to the real thing.

The Eight Bells

With a name like The Eight Bells (as opposed to say 'Guinness Pub') one can be confident of strolling into a place that knows what makes a pub. Indeed, The Eight Bells takes top prizes for looking and feeling most like a pub in
England, despite the fact the food and drink might not be as unique as elsewhere. Cosy, warm and homely, I feel like I could drop my grandad here and, barring the Spanish-speaking waiters and table-service, he'd swear he was right back home in Sheffield.

About the author
Paul Fowler is a writer and editor for He has been working in South America over 2 years since moving to Buenos Aires in 2010. Now living in Colombia, he spends his time doing what he loves: travelling, writing and sampling local beers.

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