Posts tagged with "nightlife"

360 MAGAZINE, Vaughn Lowery, bar, spirits

How to Get Financing to Start a New Bar

So you’ve decided to become a bar owner, congratulations! Now, you find yourself in the same dilemma many creative, business-minded entrepreneurs know all too well: You need additional funds to make your dream come true. What to do?

Lucky for you, there are several options you can look into. Let’s examine each one to see which one is the right move for you.

Take out a personal loan

This is a popular option among budding entrepreneurs because it has a higher success rate and offers a greater degree of flexibility. This is your best bet if you are starting a bar from scratch or if you don’t have an established business history yet.

Unlike a business loan, a personal loan will not require you to put down collateral or provide proof of cash flow. After all, it’s difficult to show income if you don’t have it yet. Business loans also have major restrictions on how the loan is used, but a personal loan gives you more freedom.

Your personal financial history and credit score will determine your eligibility and the rates and terms of your loan. A credit score of 600 puts you in an excellent position to qualify. Documents you need to submit include but are not limited to personal identification, bank statements, W-2 or pay stubs, and tax return.

Keep in mind that personal loans are generally smaller compared to a business loan so you may need to look into more options to acquire the rest of the funding you need. We discuss more below.

Look for investors

This is an excellent solution to share the financial burden with someone else. Investors provide startup money and can bring their business management expertise to the table. For this to work, you’ll have to get comfortable with splitting profits and giving up a share of your business.

If you wish to retain control of your bar, silent investors are great because they get out of your hair after providing the funding. They might be involved in big-picture dealings and will offer help if needed, but other than that, they stay in the background and leave the daily management to you.

The catch? They might pressure you to turn a profit sooner rather than later though. They may get restless and force a sale.

Active investors will generally be more involved in the day-to-day operations of your bar in an effort to enhance the return of their investment. They can also be helpful to first-time entrepreneurs looking to make industry connections and learn the tricks of the trade.

While active investors bring their business to the enterprise, you will definitely have to give up a degree of control. Some investors might agree to simply advance capital in exchange for collateral and payback with interest or a percentage of your profits.

Turn to your friends, family, and peers

Use your connections! Do you know someone who has the resources to spare? You can start reaching out to your peers in the industry or even to friends and family. This fast-tracks your funding process by skipping the legal entanglements typically involved in a traditional loan.

If you go the family and friends route, the pitch probably isn’t going to be all that complicated. But keep in mind that money and family sometimes don’t mix. If your bar fails to take off, things might get ugly. Especially with equity involved, put everything in writing and bring in a business lawyer as a safety net.

Reach out to the world through crowdfunding

If you’ve exhausted all your connections to no avail, the internet might be your savior. Yes, you can raise money for your new bar from strangers online through websites like GoFundMe, Patreon, and Kickstarter. How great is that?

Needless to say, you will have to convince these people why they should fund your bar. Tell your story and make sure to let your passion shine through.

Transparency will get you far down this route. Be specific on how you intend to spend the money they give you and provide updates. You would be surprised at how many people would be willing to donate their own money to help you with your venture.

Depending on your campaign, you can give these backers perks or rewards in return. However, if you choose to do it via equity crowdfunding, which will easily attract investors, you are selling off a degree of ownership control over your company.

Know that you will also need to actively market your campaign, so it can be seen and gain traction fast. This will take a lot of patience and hard work.

Use your 401(k)

If you are looking to ditch the 9-to-5 life in favor of being your own boss as a bar owner, this might be something to consider if you have saved up enough from your previous jobs.

You’re staking your retirement savings here, so make sure you are 100% certain of your bar idea. Most people can get overconfident for their own good. Consult a tax attorney, if needed, and look at all angles before you take the leap.

Consider the other options presented in this article first before cracking your 401(k) nest egg.

Get funding for expensive equipment

Equipment is an essential investment for any bar operation that comes that a premium price. A lender or bank can help you purchase the required furnishings to get your business up and running through equipment financing.

Here, you receive the entire amount based on a price quote you provide to the lender. You can’t use the funding for anything other than the equipment you intend to buy.

The collateral here is the equipment itself, which is great because you won’t have to worry about paying off more in the unfortunate event that your bar goes under.

When securing your bar equipment, it is important to anticipate your needs and choose the right configuration for your establishment. For a bar, you’ll need equipment such as keg coolers, undercounter refrigerators, and commercial ice makers.

While it can be tempting to go for second-hand items, buying brand new equipment can benefit your business in the long run. Used equipment can lead to unpleasant surprises that might cost you way more than the savings you initially had. Replacement parts for last-generation models will likely be very hard to find, thus halting your operation longer than it should.

Plus, it can be difficult to find out how well it has been maintained and the service life it has left. With any luck, you might be able to track down the original invoice and check the warranty it comes with.

With brand new equipment, you enjoy more savings and peace of mind that your business runs as it should. Benefits include:

• For the higher price tag, you get equipment that is less likely to break down to avoid disruptions that can cost you precious business, especially during peak hours.

• New units are generally more energy-efficient and environment-friendly than older models

• They go for much higher resale value, especially for well-known brands

• You can count on a more responsive service department for servicing and readily available replacement parts

We are committed to protecting your investment. We have an excellent selection of brand new and highly durable products from Manitowoc ice makers to Beverage Air refrigerators that come with excellent warranties and unrivaled customer support. We make sure your purchases work their best beyond the initial quality control.

Explore the benefits of a business credit card

This is the perfect option for buying ingredients and supplies. You’ll only need your credit score as qualification, and it doesn’t have to be all that impressive either. If you are at 600, you have a good chance of getting approved. Plus, the application process is easy.

You know how you get some perks and rewards every time you swipe your personal credit card? You can enjoy the same for your bar here. You can get excellent cash back and credit for business expenses.

Consider credit card receipt financing

There are some lenders that partially base their loan on receiving part of the credit card receipts from your customers. The process basically involves selling your future credit card sales in exchange for a cash advance. A portion of each credit card sale is taken out as payment. This can be an interesting approach but can also interfere with your finances.

Financing your new bar the right way

As a rule of thumb, you should have at least six months of expenses available in the bank when you start. Most businesses fail because of a lack of financing. So either do it right from the beginning or hold off until you can.

Spark Joy with these 4th of July Cocktails

The most-anticipated summer weekend is just around the corner! Level up and make your Independence Day celebration sparkle with these simple yet elevated cocktails, each profiling a different flavor and sure to suit everyone’s preferences. After a heavy afternoon of  burgers and hot dogs, wash it all down with refreshing and low-sugar cocktails while jiving to your favorite tunes.

From a delicious Watermelon Firecracker Margarita to a Berry United Lemonade and elevated G&T, sip back and enjoy the summer weather.

The Independent G&T

    • 4 ounces Fever-Tree tonic water
    • 2-3 frozen cranberries (garnish)
    • 1 popsicle (garnish)
  • Ice

Pour Jaisalmer Gin and tonic water over ice in a tall glass. Stir and garnish with a popsicle and cranberries.


Berry United Lemonade

    • 3 cups lemonade
    • 1 cup cold water
    • 4-6 dashes Angostura bitters
    • Lemons (garnish)
    • Blueberries (garnish)
  • Ice

In a pitcher, pour Diplomatico Rum, lemonade and water. Add in lemon and bitters. Garnish with lemon slices and blueberries. Serve chilled.


Firecracker Margarita

    • Kosher salt
    • 1 lime wheel
    • 3 ounces fresh watermelon juice
    • ¾ ounces fresh lime juice
  • Watermelon (garnish)

Place some salt on a small plate. Rub rim of an old-fashioned or rocks glass with lime wheel (reserve for serving); dip in salt.

Combine watermelon juice, Partida Tequila, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Strain cocktail into prepared glass and garnish with watermelon lime wheel.


Daydream Masi Drops “Nightlife”

Daydream Masi drops new track, “Nightlife” as part of his new forthcoming project with Interscope Records.

Newcomer and Ohio naJve, Daydream Masi, is increasingly favored for his sensiJve electronic, soul and hip hop-influenced sound. The newest signee to Interscope Records became known for breakout tracks “Marguerite” and “Eucalyptus Tree” which have received 443K and 250K listens, respecJvely on Soundcloud.

In “Nightlight”, Masi croons “But I know that I got you and I know I got some work to do,” over a high- energy variety of beats. Masi conJnues to sing his soulful, emoJonal lyrics, “I’m in hell without you,” with a complex and tropical producJon aiming to be this summer’s passionate, yet energeJc ballad.

He is set forth to release his new project, “Slow Rage”.

David Guetta at Hï Ibiza

DAVID GUETTA’S F*** ME I’M FAMOUS! RESIDENCY MOVES TO HÏ IBIZA

EVERY FRIDAY FROM 7 JUNE – 4 OCTOBER, 2019 SUPER EARLY BIRD TICKETS ON SALE NOW

The Night League, the team behind award-winning club Hï Ibiza, today reveals that David Guetta’s ‘F*** Me I’m Famous!’ will take over Friday nights at Hï Ibiza in 2019. The weekly extravaganza will run from 7 June – 4 October 2019 and a limited amount of super early bird tickets are now on sale at hiibiza.com.

“I’m super excited to bring F*** Me I’m Famous to Hï Ibiza for the first time this year! We will bring you the same crazy party, but with some new surprising elements. I can’t wait to return to Ibiza to party with everyone!” – David Guetta

F*** Me I’m Famous! was created by Cathy and David Guetta and is without a doubt one most talked about events in the world. Often selling out within hours of being on sale, the party has become an Ibiza institution.

Known for its unbeatable feel-good atmosphere, incredible production, fierce dancers, unrivalled VIP glamour, and of course the world’s biggest DJ’s in the booth each week, F*** Me I’m Famous! is a force to be reckoned with. One of the island’s most coveted parties, F*** Me I’m Famous! has also become synonymous with sunrise appearances from some of the world’s biggest stars with whom David Guetta has collaborated with.

Hï Ibiza is now in its third year and with a whole host of awards and accolades to its name, the forward-thinking club is the ideal setting to experience everything that F*** Me I’m Famous! has to offer. With two incredible rooms boasting slick interiors, a powerful and state-of-the-art sound system, and LED-lit dance floors, plus the ‘Wild Corner’ unisex toilets complete DJ booth and stunning open-air gardens, Hï Ibiza is one of the world’s most unique clubbing destinations and the perfect new home for the most famous party on the island.

The line-up for F*** Me I’m Famous! at Hï Ibiza will soon be revealed so watch this space for more announcements. The super early bird tickets are now on sale at  hiibiza.com  and are sure to sell out fast, so act now and don’t miss your chance to catch David Guetta’s groundbreaking residency in its brand new home.

The Night League, the team behind the success of Hï Ibiza will bring these two brands together in what is sure to be the hottest ticket for 2019.

Connect with Hï Ibiza

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

ABOUT HÏ IBIZA

Since opening its doors for the very first time in 2017, the multi-award-winning Hï Ibiza has played host to many of the biggest names on the electronic music scene. Welcoming thousands of party revellers from all around the world each week throughout the season, Hï Ibiza has fast become one of the most sought-after tickets on the island. With world-class residents, state-of-the-art design and sound, plus a commitment to putting the clubber at the centre of the experience, the groundbreaking club has proved itself a force to be reckoned with.

ABOUT THE NIGHT LEAGUE

Founded in 2001 by events entrepreneur Yann Pissenem, The Night League is 360 music and entertainment company dedicated to every facet of event and venue management and responsible for hugely successful brands including Ushuaïa Ibiza, Hï Ibiza, ANTS, BIG, Children of the 80´s, GangStar and DYSTOPIA.

Kareem Bunton’s Creating a Scene in Brooklyn 

*Photo by Taylor Sessleman

Kareem Bunton is a veteran of the NYC nightlife having romped around at revered spots such as Mr. Fongs, VON, Union Pool and even Max Fish. He’s also got musical collaborations with Run the Jewels, Prefuse 73, and TV on the Radio under his belt. Now he’s loading up all of his experience in the limelight and taking it to a refreshing venue in Bushwick.

New York nightlife has found a new breeding place in Brooklyn, so it’s no surprise Bunton’s World Famous is taking root there. BWF is embracing an unexpected vibe of a Tangier hotel bar – obviously one enticing to the young urban “cool kids” ready to relive their ‘90s dreams.

“What I like best about the’90s scene,” he says, “was that it didn’t really matter what you had in your pocket or what you did in the daytime. Looking good, being a great dancer, or just having a lovely personality were often enough to get you through the door. Building a space is easy, creating a scene is not. To do this we are attempting to build a sense of community by hiring old school DJ’s and youngsters.”

The cozy 1400 square foot space will be importing the Tangier’s tropical vibes with drinks that’ll make you mistake Brooklyn for a sultry tiki bar on the beach, high in contrast to the mainstream cocktail lounge. Lucas Moran of Mr. Fongs will be constructing the menu, “Think flavored daiquiris, hurricanes, rum runners,” says Bunton. “It’s usually my preference to keep cocktails simple and quick to make. Waiting 10 minutes for a drink while listening to an unsolicited speech about botanicals is not my idea of a good time.”

Kareen bunton, 360 MAGAZINE, Claire de Lespinois

Photo by Claire de Lespinois

In a time where emphasizing unity and equality is pertinent, Bunton’s mission is to bring together the diverse community of artists and fashionistas into a memorable night of dancing reality away to old-school hip-hop.

Remaining unconventional and consistent with his exotic theme, Bunton says, “We are going to structure the schedule by genre rather than promoters or weekly residents. Different DJs will be able to share their interpretations of reggae, afrobeat, nuyorican soul.”

In addition to creating a unique and sexy scene, Buton’s World Famous also has a captivating retail element made up of t-shirts and snapback hats flush with the classic Bunton’s logo for the stylish enthusiasts of the scene to rock.

Debuting during New York Fashion Week on Friday, February 15th at 1005 Broadway, Bunton’s World Famous is a venue to explore for those ready to delve into a sultry salvation.

Kareem bunton, 360 MAGAZINE

Photo by Hannah Grankvist

Kareem bunton, 360 MAGAZINE, Claire de Lespinois

Photo by Claire de Lespinois

BEST CITIES TO VISIT IN 2019

From cities that may be closer to home to exciting overseas destinations, these are some of the top places to visit in 2019.

Auckland, New Zealand

The vibrant capital city of New Zealand recently became one of just 31 cities that are part of the UNESCO Creative Cities network for music. This trending travel destination is home to many of the nation’s renowned artists and institutions. No matter when you visit you can expect to find fabulous live tunes and there’s likely to be a music festival or special event to enjoy too. Visitors can also look forward to the famous panoramic vistas from the iconic Sky Tower and exploring countless museums like the Auckland Art Gallery, the largest art institution in the country featuring more than 15,000 works of historic, modern and contemporary art.

Chicago, Illinois

The Windy City has been popping up on lists of top travel destinations everywhere in recent years, and for good reason. It’s one of America’s top foodie cities, with high quality dishes served at all price points from deep dish pizza to hot dogs and fine dining at the two Michelin-starred Acadia. Chicago is also home to one of the world’s greatest museums, the Art Institute of Chicago and five pro sports teams: the MLB’s White Sox and Cubs, the NFL’s Bears, the NHL’s Blackhawks and the NBA’s Chicago Bulls making it easy to catch a game just about anytime of the year. There’s so much to do in this midwestern city you might just find yourself browsing through Chicago real estate looking for your next new home.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires is a place everyone should visit at least once and 2019 may be one of the best times to check this Argentinian city off your travel bucket list. Airfares are lower than ever thanks to low-cost carriers and emerging airlines, and the dollar is incredible strong against the Argentinian peso too, making that famously tasty Malbec more affordable than ever. Look forward to walking through the delightful pedestrian areas and watching tango dances in the streets as you explore the wealth of wine bars, cafes and steakhouses.

Berlin, Germany

There are two important anniversaries in Berlin that will be marked in 2019, including the 30-year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the centenary of the Bauhaus, with its festival held from January 16 to January 24. Stroll through Berlin Mitte, the historical heart of the city. and you’ll be able to check out many of its top sites like the Brandenburg Gate, the iconic symbol of Berlin that symbolizes the reunification of the West and East. If you visit in September, the weather is not only likely to be ideal, but you can attend the Lollapalooza Berlin, hosted on September 8 and 9 in 2019. It’s sure to bring plenty of big-name artists – last year’s lineup included headliners like Imagine Dragons and Liam Gallagher. It also features an open-air art gallery, street theater, wine bars and a festival for kids.

UPRISING × TRAKTIVIST

LA AREA! Come out to our FREE Uprising x TRAKTIVIST #representASIAN event at Hotel Indigo’s 18 Social on December 27! Appearances from Young Bae, Masia One, G Yamazawa, Dolly Ave and DJ Achilles Aurelius!

RSVP for entry password
HERE!

Benny Benassi, 360 magazine

EXCHANGE LA

By Vaughn Lowery

Exchange LA [EXLA] is one of Los Angeles’ premier performance venues with an occupancy of 1500 people – it’s architecturally stimulating with a Vegas-style ambience.

Lots of A-list celebrities, top level corporations and Grammy award-winning EDM DJs like Benny Benassi (former 360 cover star) have held celebratory events and/or headlined the space. State-of-the-art sound system alongside of projector screens and pyrotechnics will leave a permanent impression on your cerebral cortex.

‘The Wall’ which sits directly behind the DJ booth is literally loaded with LED clarity.

Unlike many of LA’s emerging venues, Exchange LA offers not only bottle service, but also VIP entry and rooms to savor an intimate night with close friends inside this four story venue. For just approximately a $100 (prices vary every weekend depending on the artist and show) – you’ll receive 3 drink tickets, unlimited non alcoholic beverages with balcony access.

Situated at 618 S. Spring in downtown Los Angeles, this will continue to be one of LA’s best nightlife experiences with an attractive diverse 21+ crowd that’s dressed to impress.

*Formerly the LA Stock Exchange.

For additional information visit ExchangeLA.com

360 MAGAZINE, exchange la

Exchange la, 360 magazine

Exchange la, 360 magazine

Surface × 2×4 × Rockwell Group

Surface Presents The Diner by David Rockwell in Collaboration with 2×4

Opening at Salone del Mobile 2018, The Diner will celebrate American design now through design, food, and activations

April 17–22, 2018, Via Ferrante Aporti 15, Milan

In honor of its 25th anniversary, leading American design magazine Surface will unveil The Diner, in collaboration with architect David Rockwell, during the Salone del Mobile in Milan this April. The Diner will be a celebration of American design, presented as an unforgettable contemporary interpretation of the archetypal roadside restaurant.

The installation will immerse visitors in four distinct environments. Drawing on an expertise in hospitality and set design, Rockwell and the LAB at Rockwell Group are using the rituals of the diner as reference and departure points, linking the past and the future of an essential American icon. The entrance, inspired by the Airstream, will feature fresh coffee and homestyle pie. The journey will continue with an East Coast-style luncheonette, where visitors can enjoy milkshakes and other classic diner fare. A branded version of grilled cheese sandwiches will be served in the third segment of the space, a room that pays tribute to diners of the Midwest. The experience will conclude with a laid-back West Coast lounge concept.

“We are thrilled to be working with Surface on The Diner,” says Rockwell, founder and president of Rockwell Group. “Diners are uniquely American and enduring in our cultural iconography. Our goal is to capture the restaurant’s inherently optimistic and democratic spirit that draws people of all backgrounds to create a welcoming, lively, engaging, and fun environment.” To round out The Diner, Surface is tapping additional emerging and established U.S.-based designers and firms, including the renowned design studio 2×4, which is creating the project’s visual identity, from custom fonts and signage to menus. “Outside of the U.S.,” says Susan Sellers, creative director and partner at 2×4, “many would say one of

America’s distinctive qualities is optimism—an endless appetite for openness, possibility, and potential. I would say that American identity is currently challenged. We wanted to capture that paradox in The Diner’s identity.”

“I couldn’t be more excited to be partnering with David Rockwell and 2×4,” says Surface editor-in-chief Spencer Bailey. “Bringing this powerhouse team to the international stage during the world’s largest design and furniture fair is the perfect way to celebrate Surface’s 25th anniversary.”

The concept, strategy, and execution of The Diner is being done in partnership with strategic consultancy firms Jacob Peres Office and Allenby Concept House. A collaboration with Ventura Projects, the installation will be part of the Ventura Centrale exhibition at warehouses underneath Milan’s Central Station. Open for seven consecutive days, The Diner will be a place to eat, relax, meet old friends and make new ones, and recharge. During the week, it will host a daytime talk series and in the evenings it will transform into a nightclub with late-night performances and parties.

Press Preview:

Monday April 16 3pm – 7pm

Opening Dates and hours:

Tuesday April 17 to Sunday April 22, 10 a.m.— 8 p.m.

About Surface Magazine

Surface is the definitive voice of global design. For 25 years, the publication has produced authoritative and thought-provoking stories on architecture, art, design, fashion, and culture. Surface offers a clean aesthetic and incisive writing with an emphasis on process and craftsmanship. Surface is a compass for today’s creative leaders and a barometer for what’s new and what’s next.

www.surfacemag.com

About Rockwell Group

Based in downtown New York with a satellite office in Madrid, Rockwell Group specializes in a wide array of work from luxury hospitality, cultural, and healthcare projects, to educational, product, and set design. Founded in 1984 by David Rockwell, Rockwell Group takes a cross-disciplinary approach to its inventive array of immersive projects. A strong commitment to explore and experiment resulted in the formation of the LAB at Rockwell Group, a design innovation studio that blends interactive technology, architecture, strategy, and storytelling. Crafting a unique and individual narrative concept for each project is fundamental to Rockwell Group’s successful design approach. From the big picture to the last detail, the story informs and drives the design.

www.rockwellgroup.com

About 2×4

Founded in 1994 by Michael Rock, Susan Sellers and Georgianna Stout, 2×4 is a global design consultancy headquartered in New York City with satellite studios in Beijing and Madrid. The focus of the studio’s work is brand strategy for cultural and commercial clients who value the power of design. 2×4 identifies and clarifies core institutional

values and creates innovative, experiential, participatory and visually-dynamic ways to engage key audiences worldwide. 2×4’s intellectual and creative conviction is that thoughtful design can make an essential contribution to every level of cultural discourse.

https://2×4.org/

About Ventura Projects

Ventura Projects are curated exhibition areas that present the latest developments at the forefront of contemporary design. Each Ventura Project involves carefully selected exhibitions that also feature temporary initiatives, special projects and/or creative hospitality concepts. Whether as a design district or integrated exhibition, Ventura Projects stands out with its focus on content, creativity and experimentation. Its dynamic curated format balances renowned designers with emerging talents, independent studios with established brands, design academies, galleries and institutions. Conceptual experiments are juxtaposed with professional presentations. In this way,

visitors are challenged to view design from different perspectives, and participants are connected with others working beyond their own domain. In line with the widening scope of design, the event’s open approach gives participants flexibility to present their work in a way that best suits their practice.

www.venturaprojects.com/

About Jacob Peres Office

Jacob Peres Office is a strategic communications and design consultancy with an international client base. Jacob Peres Office provides strategic international communications support, design direction and brand development. Their approach is tailored to each client, using incisive strategic insight and cross-fertilisation of ideas and knowledge to achieve its clients’ commercial, marketing and communication goals.

www.jacobperes.com

About Allenby Concept House

Allenby concept house was built on the belief that advertising is an art form and that brands can become amazing media content providers. 21st century marketing requires simultaneous orchestration of tools and infrastructures: storytelling, internet, media, field, creativity, content and branding. Allenby Concept House specializes in combining all those fields, bringing the most creative professionals out there in order to ensure the best results. Allenby is a one stop shop: it delivers all the services and solutions, starting at the building of the concept and ending with its production and implementation.

www.allenbyny.com

The Diner Bar Rendering – Courtesy of Rockwell Group

Robert Grant’s Adventures In Quito

As I boarded the flight to Quito from Miami airport, I left my expectations unchecked (as I usually do with my carry-on luggage. I’ve learned to pack light). I arrived 4 hours later at my 21st international destination. Ecuador has always been high on my list of places to see so I figured I might as well add it to my goal of visiting 30 countries before 30. Mariscal Sucre International is on the smaller side, as far as international airports go, and is easy to navigate. Outside the customs and baggage area, there is a host of ground transportation options, such as taxis or buses, and I was able to nab a seat on one of the buses without difficulty. The Aeroservicios bus was both efficient and cost effective (approx $9 one way, air conditioned, and free WiFi). The new Quito airport is quite a hike from Centro, the downtown area, so you can expect at least an hour ride. Hailing a cab from the central station will get you to the city center in 15 minutes or less and should cost no more than $8. Some conversational Spanish is recommended to engage in conversation with cab drivers and with the locals in general.

Being new to solo travel, I tend to gravitate towards urban and expat areas when selecting accommodations. These areas typically have great access to public transportation and are, for the most part, safe. Hostels are an inexpensive accommodation and have become my go-to for short trips. While in Quito, I lodged at Hostal L’Auberge Inn, a quaint, locally run B&B near the downtown area. The homey atmosphere, friendly staff and awesome on-site restaurant made me fall in love with this place. The rooms are cleaned daily and the front desk staff are extremely knowledgeable about the sights and happenings in Quito. Location is paramount as well and I soon found that I was, in fact, very close to all the action.

Plaza Foch, also called “La Zona”, is a well-known block that is extremely friendly to foreigners – so much so that the locals endearingly refer to it as “Gringolandia.” Needless to say, this was the perfect place for me to start. On any given night the square is full of activity. Locals of Quito, known as Ticos, and foreigners alike hang out at bars and restaurants until all hours of the night. Nightlife is unpretentious and people are very approachable. Most bars are centered around the square. It’s definitely worth stumbling into a few. There’s something for everyone however karaoke, jazz and hip hop bars seemed among the most popular. I frequented Touch, an intimate, LGBTQ friendly bar/dance club. It’s impossible to be a wallflower around here; everyone loves to dance. I found myself unable to resist the blare of Latin dance music mixed with Top 40.

I recommend El Espanol for a casual cafe-style meal before a night out. I chose a sandwich with pechuga de pollo (chicken breast) and two glasses of wine which was more than satisfactory. The morning after I headed to the periphery of the plaza and found local eateries serving desayunos (breakfast) and almuerzos (lunch) complete with an appetizer and entree for as little as $3.

My daytime strolls through the city quickly acclimated me to the high elevation of the region. The winding streets and hilly terrain of Quito deem it a true Andean City. As the second highest capital in the world, it lies extremely elevated at 9,350’ (2,850 m) above sea level. The views from TelefériQo- the city’s cable car attraction- are absolutely breathtaking and allow one to take in the entirety of this sprawling metropolitan area. Truly a must see!

As its namesake suggests (República del Ecuador translates to Republic of the Equator) the true hallmark of Ecuador is Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World). Truly a once in a lifetime experience, here you can actually see where North, South, East and west converge and be at the center of it all. I literally straddled the northern and Southern Hemisphere. The tourist center features tons of local vendors and museums, an exhibition on cacao and even a brewery tour. Another highlight is the Egg challenge in which you can attempt to balance an egg on a nail-a  tribute to the force that governs all things on earth, gravity.

My recent visit to Quito was both thrilling and centering. Standing on the equator was unbelievably sobering and solidified my wanderlust. Plaza Foch gave me a few unforgettable nights under the lights. Looking into the valley atop TelefériQo was perspective-shifting and reminded me of the reasons I choose to explore and discover myself and the big world around me. On a weeklong trip to Quito you can expect incredible food, exciting nightlife and sights and sounds you won’t experience elsewhere. Si te vas…

Next stop Tokyo!

Links:

Elespañolgourmet.com

Mitaddelmundo.com

Teleferico.com.ec

https://www.booking.com/hotel/ec/hostal-auberge-inn.html

http://www.quitoadventure.com/leisure-ecuador/fun-entertainment-quito/hot-spots/plaza-foch.html