Vibes & Vices: 116 Pulpito

At least in English, there are things that have the right name, and there are those that do not…one of the biggest examples of a miss in that area was in naming the singularly bountiful and animated planet we live on “Soil” or something like that.

However, along with the “corkscrew” and “speaker” in the category of naming successes is the concept known as “happy hour,” a custom observed far and wide in The Species. Sure, the good ones are more than 60 minutes long, but I’m open to a bit of poetic license and the first part is more important anyway.

These etymological reflections were swimming beneath my hair dye as I found my way on Olas Altas toward 116 Pulpito, an inviting little establishment located at–you know what, google it. I got a tip that the gastropub was offering happy hour specials on featured drinks as well as a 20 peso tapas menu from 6-11pm on this day, and so I was compelled to investigate.

The Vibes: Contemporary philosopher André Benjamin once noted that “you could plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather,” and that was certainly the case on the evening of my visit. Rainy season in PV is notorious for its unpredictability, and while the sky was clear and calm on the way downtown, the weather had taken something of a dreary turn.

The mild inconvenience did little to negatively impact the atmosphere at Pulpito. If I can be meta for a moment, I spoke of my enjoyment of outdoor dining, and with plenty of sidewalk seating and a more than capable awning along with a direct ocean view from my table, I surely wasn’t going to let a little rain ruin my day.

Neither, apparently, did the established clientele of 116 Pulpito. While I enjoyed my first caipirinha at the street table in near-solitude, the surrounding outdoor tables quickly filled up as the intimate interior dining area steadily overflowed with patrons. Spirited games of Table Tetris unfolded in the background as large parties were accommodated and late-coming guests came looking for dinner, sometimes waiting up to half an hour for seating.

Clearly this was a place you should either arrive at early or plan on staying in a while…I, displaying my masterful foresight in such affairs, had planned to do both…and indeed I did.

The Vices: The tapas themselves were a diverse and colorful collection of fancy toast points available in multiple preparations, from the pictured shrimp and crab salad variety, topped with a boiled egg and veggies to essentially form a tiny salad with extra croutons, to a particularly interesting type bearing what appeared to be a chorizo pig in a blanket.

I certainly feel like I got my dollar’s worth with every bite.

For my main meal, I noticed that Pulpito also offered pizza made to order with a wide range of ingredients, and after reviewing the options over a couple of Tequila Mules–less Moscow and more Mexico City–I decided to commission a tribute to a recently departed hangout in the form of a salmon, bacon, onion, tomato, and bleu cheese combination that in my mind, is called the “Patio.”

The host made something of a quizzical look at me as I reeled off my order in my clunky Spanish, but he was patient enough to let me butcher his native tongue for over four hours and in any event brought me what I wanted…besides, in fairness,  it is kind of a weird order.

At least it sounds that way…the saltiness of the meats was balanced well by the freshness of cherry tomatoes, plus onions make practically everything better. It was almost like the one at the jazz lounge, only this place wasn’t closed forever. A few spritzes of the spray-bottle balsamic (an inspired implementation on their part, to be sure) and well over half the pie disappeared into my memories.

I waited out the rain with a Bohemia, got the rest to go, then headed back to Versalles to adjust my sleep cycle for a soccer game this week…not a bad way to spend a rainy day at all.

The Verdict: 116 Pulpito is a surprisingly active streetside bar and restaurant serving up an appealing array of Monday munchies along with their regular menu just a few steps from the seaside. You won’t always get a perfect sunset, but that can hardly be blamed on the staff…maybe I’ll catch you there.


116 Pulpito (Pulpito 116), Old Town

AJ Freeman on Email
AJ Freeman
AJ Freeman is an adventurous spirit, serial friendmaker, and general enthusiast. He lives his everyday life hoping to demonstrate the nearly infinite potential for discovery and wonder on this small wet rock orbiting a dim yellow star in the backwoods of the Milky Way.