24 Jul 2012

Adventure Brew Hostel Vortex

This La Paz hostel-cum-brewery-cum-cafe-cum-restaurant does all in its power to supplement any need to ever leave its confines with prepackaged Adventure Brew alternatives. Within its five stories one feels in a different land... it doesn't matter that Adventure Brew is located on the edge of an unsightly highway or inconveniently located outside of the city center. The only thing that matters is what's inside.

The backpacker can sense something is strange at check-in, where one is obliged to don the same kind of plastic wristbands used get at concerts, clubs and raves... as if one's lodging was an activity in and of itself. On closer inspection the wristband reads in two languages "If found lost or drunk please return me to this address [address of hostel]."

This big-brother-esque message engraved on your wrist, presumes you'll be a free agent navigating the streets of La Paz... precisely what Adventure Brew Hostel is trying to avoid. With an impeccable wifi connection, meal service of international fare all day long, and a dark cave-like bar open from early afternoon onward, there really is no physical need to leave. Not to mention, each night backpackers are compensated with a free half pint of the hostel's microbrew ensuring that your drinking always begins with Adventure Brew.

But the real secret to Adventure Brews' success lies in the cohort of attractive, dread-locked, multi-national ambiance creators. The actual jobs where responsibility and reliability are involved are entrusted to Bolivians...cooking, cleaning, and attending the main desk. And yet at any given time there are a handful of about ten floaters whose only real charge is running the bar which never involves more than two of them at a time. The rest hang around, migrate from roof deck to bar then back to roof deck, smoking weed, strumming power chords on janky guitars, and banging on homemade bongos.

What this essentially ensures is that the Adventure Brew will always be a chill place to hang... meaning that instead of searching for other alternatives, guests will spend their precious food and beverage dollars at Adventure Brew and nowhere else. Its quite an ingenious business plan, and despite my being aware of this trap, I get sucked into the Adventure Brew vortex several times during my stay, and find it hard to get out.


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