FX Excursions

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Montevideo’s After-Hours Activities

by Sharon King Hoge

Mar 1, 2019
March 2019

BUSINESS IN MONTEVIDEO may wind up at 5 p.m., but in this typical Latin heritage city, evenings don’t actually get underway until well after 9 p.m. For those on a Western schedule, there’s plenty to fill in the gap before joining nighttime festivities. At the base of the financial district, separating the old town and the new, Plaza Independencia offers a range of activities in a central location.

Bordering the square, the Radisson Montevideo Victoria Plaza Hotel offers one-stop opportunities: a spa, casino, restaurant and bars. Buying a one-day pass for about $30 entitles visitors to use facilities of the comprehensive sixth-floor health club: a large swimming pool with city views; a multiroom gym stocked with weights and Life Fitness machines; a room for exercise classes; and even a bright green, indoor, 80-meter jogging track on which 20 laps equal a mile. To rejuvenate, book body scrubs, hot stone massages, mud therapies and other spa procedures.

Downstairs, roulette wheels, slot machines and card dealers amuse gamblers in the Radisson’s Casino Victoria Plaza. Upstairs, Arcadia, one of the city’s finest restaurants, serves dinner — as early as 7 p.m. — and drinks are on tap in the blue neon-lit lobby bar.

Look for live music and dramatic performances in two nearby theaters. The ultramodern Auditorio Nacional del Sodre and the landmark Teatro Solís entertain audiences 8–10 p.m. Farther afield, you may find a soccer game scheduled at the home stadium of Uruguay’s national team which, in 1930, won the inaugural FIFA World’s Cup.

By 9 or 10 p.m., it’s time to walk a block or two west to the traditional nightlife precinct around Bacacay and Mitre streets. The Pony Pisador plays live music indoors and out on both sides of Mitre Street for patrons snacking on mounded chivito sandwiches while downing the media y medio sweet combination of white and sparkling wines. Next door, fiddlers play jigs and reels at The Shannon Irish Pub, where a full-page menu lists draft beers from Denmark, Russia and Spain as well as Belgian brews such as Delirium Tremens and nine local Uruguay brands. At Parrilla del Teatro, perch on red banquettes for barbecue grilled on the open fire, then walk a few more blocks to Baar Fun Fun to enjoy tango dancing until morning. Known to be gay-friendly, the city has many LGBTQ+ choices, and nearby Chains Pub remains a popular favorite.

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