My favorite pub in Santiago is Off The Record. This is one of those neigborhood pubs that has a defined characteristic; left-wing and neo-socialist. So why do I, a right-of-center registered Republican call this "communism is neat" pub my favorite pub? It's just the right pub, in the right neighborhood, and it's got the kind of bohemian feel I like.
The menu is great too. We had 2 plates which we shared among 4 people. One was a picada type of plate with salmon ceviche, sliced smoked salmon, quaill eggs, and assorted veggies and cheeses. The other was a plate with grilled beef tenderloin, lamb chops, pork tenderloin and chicken.
I also had a mojito made with Havana Club Rum.
Speaking of communist hypocrisy, the pub, which is a cash-cow from all appearances, features pictures on the walls of great communist thinkers like Pablo Neruda (who owned about 5 houses throughout Chile and lived in France while he supported communist ideals of equality for the people), Che Guevara (...you know), Isabel Allende (socialist critic of capitalist ideals living well in New York city off the well-deserved earnings from the sales of her books), and various other silly idealists, some of whom actually had some interesting things to say. The centerpiece of the pub is a piano with a pink portrait of Chairman Mao over it.
As Gotan Project played in the background (my favorite song of theirs is the one that chants "El Capitalismo es un arma!", which was also a cash-cow for Gotan Project thanks to capitalism), Off The Record was introducing the first issue of their new magazine, which includes literary pieces and article by Santiago writers and thinkers. It just so happens some of these very writers were there for the release of the new mag. As conversations carried and I heard terms like, "the people won't stand for that" and "censura facista", I enjoyed my mojito and we laughed and had a great time with Felipe and Carolina.
To top off the evening at Off, I inquired as to where I could get a copy of the new Off The Record magazine. The writers were gathered in an intellectual huddle, but they managed to turn around and offer me a moment of their time. I was going to say something deep like, "I'm looking to expand my horizons and open my mind to socialist thinking, since I have now been exposed to the oppression of the poor and down-trodden people of Chile. I would like to learn more about your views on the caste system which is so evident in Chile; the poetic symbolism that exists as the rich and the privelaged live in the upper part of the valley looking down on the poor, uneducated workers below. Please, show this fat American the brilliance and genius of your socialist ways."
Instead I just asked for a copy. A lady among the group told me "Sure. I'll get you a copy. That will be $1,000 pesos.
I gave her 1,000 pesos, we paid the hefty bill for the food and drinks and left this bastion of socialist equality and capitalist criticism.
But really, Off The Record is a stylish place and I enjoyed it very much. I finished off the evening with a good Cuban Cohiba. As I puffed on my cigar, I thought of the great country I live in. I love Chile, but I'm looking forward to getting back home.
See you soon.