Salón Málaga: Medellin’s Famous Bolero Bar

TLDR? Salón Málaga is a historic bar has been a mecca for singers, dancers, and music lovers since the 50s. 

Salón Málaga is an old-timey bar dedicated to bolero music and tango lovers. As you walk through the doors you are transported back in time. Black and white photos line the walls and a vintage jukebox sits in front of the stage. 

Throughout the week the bar still hosts musicians of different genres. Thursdays, however, are dedicated to bolero. You don’t have to be a bolero fanatic to enjoy this melancholy music, the rhythms are sure to touch at your heartstrings. 

On the weekend tango takes center stage. The venue hosts performances by professionals and even opens up the dance floor for the public. Whether you are a beginner looking to practice some moves or just an admirer of dance this authentic salon has it all. 

History of Salón Málaga

History of Salón Málaga

In 1957, Gustavo Arteaga, born in Caramanta Antioquia, opened Salón Málaga. His vision was to create a place to hold creative and artistic events, where the public could enjoy good music and dancing.

Over the years talented musicians and famous figures have graced the halls of the salon, now immortalized in the photos that decorate the inside. 

Arteaga’s passion for music did not only lead to the creation of the bar. An avid collector of records, he was awarded the Gold Record by CBS in 1968 for his renowned array of vinyl. 

Today Arteaga’s old-fashioned cafe-bar-canteen remains a cultural hub in the city. Under the guidance of his son, current Salón Málaga owner, César Arteaga, the venue puts on live music tributes, parties, dance performances, and dance classes

In addition to providing entertainment to the public, the Gustavo family is dedicated to the next generation of musicians. The Málaga Corporation is a non-profit entity that trains artists and works on different artistic projects in the city. 

Part of this endeavor is the Ensemble Málaga, a group of young musicians in Medellin that learn and perform songs mostly from the 20s, 30s, and 40s.

Events at Salón Málaga

No matter what day of the week you come to this lively joint, you can expect to be treated to riveting performances.

Musicians of all genres are welcome at Salón Málaga during the week, including but not limited to waltzes, opera, and porro. For the performance schedules of the week, it’s best to check their Instagram page or contact them through WhatsApp. 

Let’s check out some of the performances you might see!

Bolero Thursdays 

Bolero Thursdays

The most coveted music genre at Salón Málaga is bolero. Every Thursday evening, live musicians take to the stage and sing hauntingly beautiful bolero songs. Sip on a beverage while enjoying some old-world melodies. 

For those who aren’t familiar with the genre, bolero came out of Cuba in the 19th century. The lyrics are often dramatic and poetic verses that talk about love and heartbreak. In fact, many composers created songs by putting music to lines of famous poets. 

Even for those who don’t understand Spanish, you can feel the emotions of these songs through the melodies. 

The musical component of bolero uses two guitars and is played in a 4/4 time. As the genre evolved, bolero merged with other Latin rhythms such as son and mambo. 

This bohemian hang-out attracts people of all ages, foreigners, and locals. The performances are impressive but the atmosphere is casual. It’s the perfect event to go to to meet up with friends or even go to on a date

In between sets, there’s plenty of time to chat and order some snacks.

Tango Weekends

Tango Weekends

The weekends at this music joint are dedicated to dance. Tango artists frequent the bar to perform daring routines, accompanied by lively music. One of the most popular events at the bar, patrons are encouraged to make a reservation for the shows. 

Tango is an Argentinian music and dance style that dates back to the 18th century. Influenced by African and European rhythms, the sounds of tango comprise of the accordion, guitar, violin, piano, and a human voice.

The dance that accompanies this music is a sensual partner dance, where the partners dance mostly chest to chest, mostly moving just their feet. It is a highly improvisational and passionate style. There are several different kinds of tango that vary in speed, timing, and steps. 

As one of Arteaga’s main musical loves, this venue is a renowned spot for tango events – most notably the annual Medellín International Tango Festival

Each year more than 450 national and international artists perform and celebrate tango music and dance in locations around the city. In addition to dance performances, the bar welcomes the Meeting of Tango Collectors, where music connoisseurs can share vinyl gems from their prized collections. 

If you are feeling inspired to take to the dance floor, Salón Málaga opens its doors every Sunday afternoon to the public for people to practice classic dances. Occasionally, the owners schedule dance classes so make sure to reach out to find out when these are scheduled. 

Do I Need to Make a Reservation? 

Do I Need to Make a Reservation?

Entry to Salón Málaga is generally free. While you don’t have to make a reservation, the bar recommends making one on Saturdays, as this is their most attended event.

You can make a reservation by sending a bank transfer. To confirm your reservation send proof of transfer by WhatsApp.  

For information on phone numbers and reservations, check their website. That way, you don’t miss anything!

How to Get There 

How to Get There

Located a stone’s throw from the San Antonio metro station, public transportation is the most convenient way to get to the salon.

The area in front of the venue is more pedestrian and bike-friendly, so driving there isn’t such a good idea as there are no good parking options.

If you’re coming by car you can get there by ride share or taxi without any problems. 

Salón Málaga Address: Carrera 51 N° 45-80 San Antonio Metro Station

Check Out Salón Málaga! 

Salón Málaga is without a doubt one of the city’s most historic landmarks for musicians and dancers. Don’t leave the city without stopping by to enjoy this cultural time capsule. 

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