Santiago de Chile–city full of nooks and crannies and little secrets right under your nose–no wonder I love it.
Despite having lived here “forever” it took a foreigner less than 2 days in Chile (that’s you @cfarivar) to find a place I’d walked by a zillion times and never noticed! So the other night, after an incredible Chinese meal at Mr. Wu (which I’ll leave for another post), the four of us were still enjoying ourselves too much to go home, and as we zipped along Alameda (Santiago’s main drag), I asked if anyone had ever heard of what had been described as an “unpretentious” bar called 777… and the next thing you know, there we were, standing in front of the entrance with no sign, a barely legible and heavily tarnished brass street number about 8 feet up, a tattered liquor license posted above that, and a steep and winding, dark, and heavily graffitied stairway leading to who knows where…
Weird that I’d never heard of the place. It’s not like it’s new (apparently it’s been around at least 20 years ). Nor have I been living in a closet or even tucked away in some fancy-schmancy part of town. In fact, I worked a couple blocks from the place for years, and apparently they offer pretty decent lunches (note to self–check out the 777 lunch special!)
It turns out that even Lonely Planet knows about this place and had this to say:
You’ll either love it or hate it here. If you have any airs and graces, it probably is not for you. If, however, you enjoy drinking bargain-basement booze sitting on plastic beer crates surrounded by students, punks and goths, then welcome to nirvana.
The place is about as low-key as you can get. Beer by the liter, simple wines, borgoña (a pitcher of a wine & fruit mix something along the lines of sangría)… but we’d already had enough wine under our belts with dinner, so we opted for a typical after-dinner drink–manzanilla (a typical Chilean liqueur made from chamomile) for me and pisco-manzanilla for everyone else.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a surface that wasn’t covered in graffiti or artwork of some kind, and we asked about the two large pieces that flanked our table. Student work apparently. Cool. Like indoor graffiti!
Don’t know as I fit into the Lonely Planet love-it hate it dichotomy, but apparently I’m low enough on the airs & graces scale to give it a thumb’s up for a low-key, low-brow place to hang out on the cheap… and I’ll be back to tell you about the daily lunch special before long.