Situated in the busy streets of Santiago de Chile, La Piojera is known as the oldest dive bar in town. This dive bar is probably different from the dive bars you have experienced in the past; it’s loud, full of life and sometimes full of drunks too. It is obviously not for the faint-hearted, but if you are an adventure seeker looking for a local place filled with local people, then La Piojera it is. So, whether it’s for a meal or just a drink, definitely expect a true Chilean experience from La Piojera.
Get to know La Piojera
La Piojera, if translated to English, means “the flea house”. Originally, the name of this dive bar was “Restaurant Santiago Antiguo” (Old Santiago Restaurant) until back in 1922 when President Arturo Alessandri Palma was invited by his friends to grab a drink at this very well-known local restaurant. Just after passing the doors, the president saw the interior design and exclaimed without hesitation, ”Y a esta piojera me han traído?” (which translates, “And I have been brought to this flea house?”). Since then, people connected more with the name that the president had given, so the restaurant changed its name to ‘La Piojera’.
Rustic design that gives a local vibe
From the outside, La Piojera does not seem like much. When you step inside, however, you will find a courtyard leading you to El Comedor (dining room). This dining room is a squarish room with tables and a bar. Around the walls you will see murals, rustic interior design and a gigantic Chilean flag on top of the door. Personally, I thought it felt like every detail in the dining room was meant to give a little more local vibe, and it did.
El Terremoto - The Chilean ‘earthquake’ drink
Once you get to La Piojera, it is almost mandatory that you have a glass of Terremoto. Terremoto, which is Spanish for earthquake, is a Chilean drink that will turn your world upside down. The Terremoto is made of fermented white wine also known as pipeño, pineapple ice cream and liquor (usually fernet or grenadine). The cost for one glass of Terremoto is 2000CLP (approximately 4 USD), which is quite a deal for those hoping to get curado (the Chilean word for wasted).
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Not for the faint hearted
Although La Piojera sounds like an awesome place to hang around and have fun, it is also wise to take some precaution. This popular Chilean dive bar is not for those with a faint heart. Things can get crazy in here since many people often get drunk, all thanks to the Terremoto, especially on the weekends. Also note that the toilets in La Piojera are not really recommendable, so it would be wise to go before or after stopping by. If you are a female traveler, it will be wise to go with some friends and the more the merrier; going alone is not the best idea.
Best time to visit
The best time to experience La Piojera, of course, depends on your preference. La Piojera is open from 12 PM to midnight on Mondays to Thursdays, and from 12 PM to 2 AM on Fridays and Saturdays. If you prefer a more relaxed atmosphere, then be sure to come on weekdays before 5 PM. However, if you want to experience the crazier side of La Piojera, feel free to visit on the weekends.
Getting to La Piojera
Located on Aillavillú 1030, La Piojera is just across Mercado Central, the famous seafood market in Santiago. The most recommended way to get to La Piojera is by taking the metro; you will need to take the yellow line train heading to Vespucio Norte and get off at Puente Cal y Canto. There are many exits at Puente Cal y Canto station, so be sure to find the one that leads you to a street called Puente. Once you have found the exit, head up and not far away you will see La Piojera. Make sure to keep an eye on your things since it is near a market place and pickpockets often wander in the area.
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