The Parallel Universe Called Blondie

Blondie is one of those pleasant discoveries that come up every once in a while: an oasis of good music and interesting people in a questionable neighborhood.

itemId=3430 Photo by Ana Topoleanu

In the surrounding Barrio Brasil are a series of dark bars and groups of people who either eye you with suspicion or are, more typically, drunk and loud. But upon reaching Blondie's steel gates, you're hit by a surreal electric blue light, a foreshadowing of what awaits.

itemId=2273 Photo by Ana Topoleanu

Within a few steps inside you lose yourself in what seems a kitsch dream--an amusingly discordant Greek palace that could have been built by Renaissance Vikings, mashed together with a maze of stairs, corridors and mirrored passages, shiny tin booths, Greek columns, medieval chandeliers and golden decorations on the walls.

And the surprises never cease: once you're past that architectural marvel, you find yourself on the first dance floor, a medium-sized room with a DJ booth and five big screen TVs along the wall where music videos blast all night.

The music is a cocktail of alternative and indie-rock-with-a-twist-of-punk, sliding through Pulp, Radiohead, The Hives, The Rapture, Franz Ferdinand, The Killers, Kaiser Chiefs, even Garbage and Placebo. It's rimmed with a classy touch of Britain’s finest like Morrissey and Joy Division, and garnished with electro like the Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk and Telepopmusik.

itemId=2257 Photo by Ana Topoleanu

Blondie's patrons sport Santiago street fashion at its weirdest--a delicious mixture of clothing styles, haircuts and accessories. Many of them seem like characters rather than real people, as women look either like sluts or angels, straight men look gay, and gay men dress like 19th century gentlemen, post punk youngsters and almost anything in between.

As you try to get to the bar, you find out that there’s another dance hall the size and style of an airplane hangar, where you can move to the beats of Depeche Mode, New Order and other sacred monsters of New Wave, post-punk music.

There seems to be just one drawback: once you're in, there's no going back. For the sake of "club policy," security personnel won't let you leave to grab post-midnight snacks after you've paid the entrance fee. (They stared us down like prison guards before granting us exactly an hour to leave--“no more, no less.")

But nothing's perfect. Even with the zealous bodyguards, Blondie still definitely remains a club to come back to.

Barrio Brasil
Avenida Libertador Bernardo O´Higgins 2879 ("Alameda" at Esperanza)
Prices: Ladies – CP$3,000 (US$4.70), Guys – CP$4,000 (US$6.25) (subject to change for special events)
Phone: (562) 681 7793
Metro: Unión Latinoamericana

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