Recommendation: Diesel Nacional-gastropub in La Paz, Bolivia
During our first trip to La Paz, we happened to pass by Diesel Nacional located in La Paz’s Sopacachi district. Curious, we stopped to have a look. The facade looked very different than most bars or restaurants for anywhere, let alone Bolivia. For one, it was set far back with rocks scattered and old train tracks leading up to a revolving rusted door. Eerie spotlights cast shadows over industrial items like car/train/plane parts that had been strewn about. It certainly caught the eye. Unfortunately, it was Sunday and so it was closed. I filed it away in my dusty brain for future reference and hoped I’d remember.
Next time we visited La Paz, I did indeed recall the place and we made it a point to return to Diesel Nacional. We arrived at 7 pm, just when they opened. A man dressed in a mechanics-type of jumpsuit showed us the door and greeted us. Already, this was not your typical Bolivian watering hole. We entered inside where we were immediately impressed by the creativity and design of the place. The entire bar was made of recycled auto/airplane/train parts but all done in a very cool, industrial way. Candlelight only added to the mysterious lighting effect. In the center sat a roaring fireplace, also made out of recycled materials. The bar seemed more at home in Brooklyn than La Paz but I was happy it was here!
Being a gastropub, they served food, cocktails, beers and liquor. Could the food and drink be up to snuff, I wondered? Yes and yes! We sampled some cocktails and ordered a plate of nachos. I’ve eaten many nachos in my day and I can say that these were some of the best! Here in La Paz? It was too good to be true. The cocktails were made perfectly and although it was a bit pricey for La Paz standards, it was worth the ‘extra’ money. The space filled up quickly and it was nice to see it was mostly locals from the area. Our bill for 2 cocktails each and an order of nachos came out to about 120 Bs ($17 US, 12 Euros). That’s just about the price of one cocktail in NYC.
We loved it so much, we went back about 4 different times throughout multiple trips to La Paz. This place is truly unique and with food and cocktails this good, it deserves repeat visits. Bonus: free, strong Wifi & takes credit cards.
Hours: open Monday-Saturday from 7 pm-closing. Closed Sundays
Address: Av 20 de Octubre 2771 Sopacachi, La Paz Bolivia
Average price for one cocktail: 25 Bs (US $3.50, 2.50 Euros)