We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“What a mess”
Review of Gaira Cafe

Gaira Cafe
Ranked #44 of 2,607 Restaurants in Bogota
Price range: $10 - $30
Cuisines: Colombian, Gastropub
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Reservations
Description: Gaira Café Cumbia House is the first local café of memorabilia built in Colombia where costumers do not only enjoy a variety of delicious traditional dishes, but also the best live music in Colombia; you can go and relax after a hard day’s work. Gaira is a temple where classic and contemporary Colombian musicians are worshipped. Visit us, you won’t regret it!
Reviewed December 20, 2012

It was a long-awaited date on a Saturday when we were looking forward to going to the legendary Gaira Cafe, the restaurant owned by the brother of the most revered singer in Colombia, Carlos Vives.

Upon arrival, I got a little disoriented because the house looked like an ethnic hut transported directly from some tropical forests. It was densely covered by heavy vegetation of different kinds of trees and schrubs. A shaved ice vending booth stood outside the entrance. When I entered the place, I was greeted by curiously-dressed people of faces painted in black.. They also made funny animal like noises and gestures and you wondered why they were behaving like birds. You passed through an outdoor enclave that reminded you of the rainforest when you heard sound of waterfalls. The life-in-Carribean theme continues with a curtain made from bone-like features in front of the toilets and photos of ethnic groups.

You get relaxed and chilled by the theme-parksie features. And then you get excited with a change in the scene. Because the place is not simply a restaurant but also a place for entertainment and music, you have accordion musicians dotted around the restaurant and a full-blown stage in the centre. These different aspects really work up your expectations! As I ascended towards the first floor, I climbed a stairway that has been coated with the names of Colombian musicians on every single step, venerating the industry, comparable to the walk of fame in Hollywood. The first floor turned into a very different scene. The whole ceiling was covered with pictures of Colombian singers, punctuated by artifacts from famous Colombian musicians such as a costum that Shakira wore at a concert, a pair of jeans from Carlos Vives and a guitar from Juanes. The restaurant is really a crossover of the tropics and Colombian pop/rock music. It was obvious that Gaira was 'based on' (to put it loosely) the model of Hardrock café and was trying to make a Colombian version, especially with the chosen name.. Or you can call it a Sancocho – ‘mess' in Spanish, also the name of a Colombian soup that is a mix of everything.

As with any clubs in Colombia, there is an entry levy of $30,000 pesos (US$15). We were told to arrive on time, at 7pm for our table, and otherwise we’d lose it. We were lucky with traffic, so we arrived at 7pm sharp. We went to the window to pay for our cover charge. We had to wait for 3 minutes even though there was only a couple in front of us. By the time we got to the window, we told the lady our name, and she said, ‘you’re late, your table is gone’. It was totally shocking and we thought they’d mistaken. So we went to a guy at the entrance to ask what’s going on. And he said we were late. So be ready for this: you’d lose your table at Gaira if you’re late because you are queueing at the ticket window.‘You should have come to me. I was asking everyone here at 7pm for their reservations and you didn’t turn up!’ ?!!!!!!!??????????????? It didn’t make sense. And it didn’t make sense for other people either. So the result was a big bunch of people blocking the entrance because they also had nowhere to go after being denied entry for being 5 minutes late. So I asked him what were our other options. He asked us to wait. And in the meantime more people went in. I tried to fight for my rights, ‘Did these people who just got in make reservation for 19.10, that’s why they are “on time”’? ‘No, I am not letting any more people in. The people who are going in now are the ones who already have friends and tables inside.’ It was totally ridiculous, because we arrived on time, and according to him, ‘2 minutes’ late because we were queueing at the ticket window, and there was no more table left. It was impossible that he would have given our table to people on the waiting list in such a small gap of time. And even if he did make the phone calls, the people woulnd’t have been able to come and replace us within 1 minute, right? So something very wrong was definitely going on, especially when I saw a group of girls who arrived after us, and had the same situation as us and couldn’t get in (except that she was worse, being 10 minutes late). She talked in distress to the same guy with whom I spoke, the guy said no, she made a phone call, asked the guy to talk on the mobile phone, and the next thing I knew, when we waited inside for the possibility of seats, was that the group of girls was sitting right in front of the stage! We made a reservation for a table right in front of the stage because we went with someone important who only likes that table. So the group got in, took our table, and we were left with none.

The bottom line is, do not go there unless you want to try your luck because even though you have made a reservation you won’t get a table. Our theory is that the doormen might have taken bribes so other people who didn’t manage to make a reservation got in with our tables..

Adopted from
http://onechineseincolombia.blogspot.com/2012/12/la-gaira.html#!/2012/12/la-gaira.html

    • Atmosphere
    • Service
8  Thank Jessica w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review
Reviews (870)
There are newer reviews for Gaira Cafe
See the most recent reviews
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language
  • More languages

161 - 165 of 870 reviews

Reviewed November 20, 2012

I am told that this place is one of the most famous in Bogota. Owned by a local music icon, who apparantly sometimes appears on stage, it is packed even with an unjustifiable cover charge.
The ambiance is nice, although cramped, and the food is OK but expensive. Service is likewise charming, although our reservation was cancelled without explanation and we were stuffed upstairs at the back. Everything is actually quite nice until.....the curtains open and your ears are subjected to a continuous barage of tortured animal noises. The format is simple. There is a house band that can play just about anything, badly, then along come a string of performers who each get 5 minutes to abuse your eardrums with everything from Salsa to Led Zeplin. These are the people who did not even get to the screening out phase for X Factor. I literally rolled up paper napkins and pushed them deep into my ears.
So I would only recommend this place to deaf people.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2  Thank Gustypants
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 11, 2012 via mobile

Gaira Cafe Cumbia House is an incredible place in Bogota.
Just because the charismatic and famous modern-vallenato interpreter Carlos Vives is the owner and invites fellow musicians now and then to light up the place is enough excuse to come here for a great time ... and typical food from Colombia's Caribbean region. Order the "Posta Negra". Tender sweet and sour meet with coconut rice. You won't go wrong. Now, if you have kids, bring them here on a Sunday morning before 9:30am for brunch. Well, 9:30am so you can get a table. Brunch can be started at 10:30am if you want. They have a live band and actors on the scene interpreting the famous children stories of Colombian author Rafael Pombo. I've brought my 3yr old 2 times now.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank RXPULIDO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 8, 2012 via mobile

Went yesterday to rhis resturant in bogota. Entering the resturant you have no idea that you enter an amazing place. They have huge number of service staff that are quick to help. Huge mohitos. The live band performs salsa, cumbia, merengue etc etc several times a night. The only downside is that they only have heiniken beer as selection of beers. An excellent place

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Peter A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 10, 2012

The place is quite nice, I was staying at the bigger room, and the service was helpfull and friendly. However, sometimes a bit slow.

The starters were fine and my main dish, a pizza, was also quite nice. I would not say excellent but above average. The overall price is for the expensive side (for the quality you get), however you are also paying for the atmosphere.

I would recommend this restaurant both for business but also for general travellers. For sure not a "must" do in Bogota but a place to try.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Niebes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Gaira Cafe also viewed

 
Bogota, Colombia
Bogota, Colombia
 

Been to Gaira Cafe? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing