One night at any of Barrio Estación’s pubs in Concepción is enough to understand why the city is widely known as the rock music capital of Chile. But live music in pubs is not the only thing you’ll find; a unique cuisine is among its features too.
Photo by Murielle G. Oisel
Beer House and 30 y Tantos, pubs in the Concepción borough of Barrio Estación, give nights a special thrill that will make you want to party. Each is located on the edge of the neighborhood next to the Plaza España square, from the streets Avenida Prat to Freire. A lot of pubs offer 2-for-1 happy hours from 6:30 to 10pm, and karaoke can be found along these blocks. Young people come to the neighborhood to enjoy its international bars or menus, where no entrance fee is required.
With so many choices, deciding on the right place for a drink can be difficult. But at the corner of Avenida Prat and O’Higgins—one block south of Plaza España—the bright lights decorating the name 30 y Tantos provide a good hint as to where you should go. The oldest pub in Barrio Estación, 30 y Tantos was born back in the late 90s and is home to a unique variety of Chilean empanadas.
The menu at 30 y Tantos contains empanadas galore. These are unique, however, because they are fried, and their filling is not what the traditional recipe calls for: the Chilean pino, which has a base of onions, olives and hard-boiled eggs.
Instead, variations such as beef, chicken with corn, cheese, tomato and ham are the 30 y Tantos specials. These varieties also include sweet empanadas filled with apples or quince jelly, or an even sweeter empanada with a condensed milk and walnut filling.
How do you order them? It’s quite easy: on the menu list you’ll find the empanadas by their names, which are inspired by different Brazilian beaches. For instance, the “Ubatuba” is a beef and corn empanada and the “Tubarao” is a cheese and mushroom empanada. But names are not the only way to identify your empanada. Each empanada has tiny little holes placed in different patterns on the empanada’s triangle-shaped dough. Thus, “Ubatuba” has one hole in the left corner and “Tubarao” has two holes on each corner.
Besides how good these empanadas taste, their steady price of CP$1,200 each (USD$2.17) makes them even more tempting. As typical as its empanadas, 30 y Tantos offers a complete wine menu. Even though bottles and glasses of wine are available for purchase, the Chilean wine in a jar for CP$3,800 (USD$6.88) is the most popular.
However, great taste and cheap prices are not the only reasons why 30 y Tantos draws its customers in: there is also the mystery behind the pub’s name. Most people mistakenly think the name refers to the variety of empanadas, but there are only 21 kinds. “I tend to think it was chosen as a clue to explain its target customer. Most of our guests are 30 and above,” explains 30 y Tantos manager Ítalo Sasso.
Despite several different owners, everything in 30 y Tantos remains largely as it did when it first opened. But this year there’s a new Friday and Saturday night feature: live music from 10pm to midnight by a special guest artist. “All types of styles and musicians are invited, from pop, folk and rock,” comments Sasso. On other evenings, the atmosphere is quite calm thanks to the assorted genres of music played on the speakers at a volume that still allows people to hear their conversations.
Another stop Concepcion visitors cannot miss at Barrio Estación is Beer House.
Widely known as a stage for live rock music performed by the most esteemed musicians in the city, Beer House is also the only place where you can drink Kuntsmann beer from a “pitcher” all night long for CP$3,500 (USD$6.34).
“We have a staff of 14 musicians but we also invite bands from Santiago, among other cities, and from Concepción too,” points out Beer House producer Francisco Silva.
With six years of business behind it, Beer House now has more to offer its customers: the newly opened Beer House Rock next door is a paradise for pure rock fans. “We realized we needed a place just for patrons who prefer classic rock and the new stage is just for them,” says Silva.
The rhythm of rock is joined with tasty meals quickly cooked by the staff. Both Beer House and Beer House Rock share a menu of pizzas, sandwiches and assorted meat and cheese trays from CP$2,500 to $9,000 (USD$4.53 to $16.31).
30 y Tantos and Beer House are top of the list for a special fun night in the city of Concepción, where live music is perfectly combined with traditional cuisine.
30 y Tantos
Monday to Sunday, 6:30pm–2:30am.
Prat # 402
Tueday to Saturday, 7pm–4am.
Prat # 600