The key spot for entertainment

By: Ana María Buitrón

Quito night life beckons will all types of offers, some festive, others intellectual, the rest culinary, but all of them entertaining and full of striking details.

Foch Plaza is located in the traditional Mariscal neighborhood, between the Mariscal (Marshal) Foch and Reina (Queen) Victoria Streets. It´s a very popular area. An estimated two hundred thousand people pass through Foch Plaza every day. Many are tourists, from every corner of the world, who have come seeking music and dancing, diverse cuisines and special celebrations with exotic drinks.

The architecture is also diverse. Many houses and small buildings dating from the 1930s to the 1980s have become bars, restaurants, discos, boutique hotels, shops, museums and cultural centers. Some contemporary buildings, a few even avant garde, now share the streets with the older structures. Not surprisingly, this used to be a residential neighborhood when Quito was a much smaller city. In old photos, children can be seen playing soccer on grass fields where Foch Plaza now stands.

This well-known Plaza is best known among adolescent quiteños as “The Zone” while its official name is Quinde (hummingbird) Plaza thanks to a modern metallic sculpture that stands on one of its corners since 2008. It encompasses Quito´s largest concentration of nighttime activities for all persons, including families. The Municipality of Quito named Foch Plaza a cultural area with an agenda of open air concerts, dances and painting and sculpture exhibitions.

This eclectic park of town is at the level of any major city. Its customers are multilingual as well as its inhabitants and workers.

On just the Plaza´s four corners there are seventeen bars, fifteen restaurants, six hotels and five discos. In the adjoining streets, these numbers are easily tripled. Strolling down these side streets is an experience itself as they are, not only picturesque, but alive with vibrant colors and enticing music.

Visitors can find spots suitable for any mood and also any pocketbook. It could be a delicious breakfast at the Magic Bean, a traditional ecuadorean fare at Mama Clorinda, a fancy dessert with coffee at the Coffee Bar, a sampling of various cocktails with appetizers at QRestaurante and Azúcar Beach, an outstanding pizza or steak at La Carnicería, or one of the many craft beers at La Compañía Brewpub and Cherusker.

República del Cacao´s store deserves special mention, starting with its striking shop windows. Its interior décor evokes old cocoa haciendas (large farms) in Ecuador´s coastal plains. Visitors can learn about the process of making chocolate from the world´s finest aromatic cocoa. The history is fascinating and to taste fine chocolate is simply to enter a world of exquisite sensations.

Music is everywhere in Foch Plaza. Tuesday night parties with live salsa bands at the Café Democrático are a must. Other options for fun nights with lively music are the Attik Bar, Bungalow and DJ´s. Lovers of techno music enjoy Xandu and Dirty Sánchez. Bohemians drift to the Ventana Arriba bar where golden oldies are always played.

Luxury accommodations are available at the Nu House as well as the Marquiz, both boutique hotels. Close by, tourists can find a number of less expensive options, including a bunch of hostels established in attractive old houses.

Thus, Quito´s beloved Foch Plaza has become a special place in the South American tour guides, an unforgettable experience for visitors who most likely enjoyed more than one unique experience. Security is no longer a concern thanks to the efforts of Alfredo León, the Municipality´s District Manager who has strived to maintain not only a safe area but also a well-kept one.

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