There are a few night options in the center of Lima, though partakers should take a taxi to and from each one. On the Plaza San Martín is El Estadio Futbol Club (Nícolas de Piérola 926, 01/428-8866), which is a soccer-lover’s paradise bedecked with fútbol paraphernalia.
One of the largest and best peñas in Lima is Brisas del Titicaca (Wakulski 168, near block 1 of Brasil and Plaza Bolognesi, 01/332-1901). Foreigners come here on Thursday nights for an extraordinary exhibition of dance and music from around Peru that runs 9:30 p.m.–midnight. Those who want to see the same dances, and do dance a lot themselves, should come on weekend nights when mainly Peruvians party 10 p.m.–4 a.m. This is a safe neighborhood and is an easy taxi ride from Miraflores.
If you have come to Avenida Conquistadores for dinner, there are a few nightlife options (which also serve light dinner) along this strip. The moment’s favorite spot is Bravo Restobar (Conquistadores 1005, 01/221-5700), a swanky wine bar that fills with Lima’s hip, 30-something crowd most nights of the week.
Another good choice is Asia de Cuba (Conquistadores 780, 01/222-4940), which has an upscale bar and an eclectic after-dinner nightlife scene, including a hookah and blackberry-flavored tobacco in the plush loft.
The nightlife in Miraflores is more spread out and harder to find than in the neighboring district of Barranco. And that is precisely why many a traveler ends up at Calle de las Pizzas (The Street of the Pizzas), a seedy row of pizza-and-sangria joints right in front of Parque Kennedy. But there are many other options.
If you want a more classic evening head across Parque Kennedy to Jazz Zone (La Paz 656, 01/241-8139). Mondays are Afro-Peruvian night, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are Latin jazz, Thursdays bossa nova, and weekends for all of the above.
For cocktails and music, swing around to Francisco de Paula Camino Street to Cocodrilo Verde (Francisco de Paula Camino 226, 01/242-7583).
Next door, Scena Restaurante (Francisco Paula de Camino 280, 01/445-9688) has a great wine list and a rotating art exhibit.
Huaringas (Bolognesi 460, 01/466-6536) is rumored to have the best pisco sours in town. Get there early, and try the strawberry, passion fruit, and grape sours.
There are several British-style pubs in Miraflores, good for drinking draft ales and playing darts, and the classic is O’Murphy’s Irish Pub (Schell 627, 6 p.m.–2 a.m. daily), with Guinness on tap, darts, and a pool table.
To hang out with an international crowd, there’s Tasca (Diez Canseco and Parque Kennedy, 01/241-1832), a small, tapas-like bar.
Or there’s The Corner Sports Bar and Grill (Larco 1207, 01/444-0220), whose 26 TVs broadcast international sports games.
There is always something happening at Larcomar (Malecón de la Reserva 610), the oceanfront mall at the end of Avenida Larco. Even those who dislike malls are impressed with this public space, buried in the cliffside and overlooking the Pacific.
Lima’s hottest, and most expensive, new disco, Aura (Larcomar 236, 01/242-5516), is here.
The most happening neighborhood for nightlife, any day of the week, is Barranco. Juanito’s (Grau 274, 11 a.m.–3 a.m. daily, no cover) is a hole-in-the-wall bar that has been a gathering spot for intellectuals since the 1960s. The traditional fare at Juanito’s, right on the main square, is malt beer and smoked ham sandwiches.
La Noche (Bolognesi 307, 01/477-4154) is Barranco’s best live music bar, with tables set on different levels to look down on a range of (mostly jazz) performances. Monday nights, when there is no cover charge, are especially crowded.
Mochileros (San Pedro de Osma 135, 01/274-1225), in a 1903 house, has a great patio, with live rock bands and mind-blowing cocktails.
Located in one of Barranco’s oldest colonial homes, Deja Vu Bar (Grau 294, 01/247-3742) is a dance club for the young and wild.
Barranco is full of peñas (live criollo music clubs) that make for a rowdy night out among locals. La Candelaría (Bolognesi 292, 01/247-2941) is a new and comfortable peña where spectators do not stay seated for long.
With a slightly older crowd, La Estación de Barranco (Pedro de Osma 112, 01/247-0344) is a nice place to hear música criolla in the digs of an old train station.
The most upscale peña in Lima, and a good restaurant, is Manos Morenas (Pedro de Osma 409, Barranco, 01/467-0421). Shows start at 9 p.m. Tuesday–Thursday, and at 10:30 p.m. Friday–Saturday.
The hippest, but still authentic, peña is Peña del Carajo (Catalino Miranda 158, 01/247-7023). Cockfights are waged in the entrance arena and musica negra plays inside.
Excerpted from the Third Edition of Moon Peru.