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D.C.’s Pioneering Bolivian Bar to Shut Down in December

Casa Kantuta forced to close as the space’s owners change hands

Casa Kantuta’s last day of business in Adams Morgan is Friday, December 1.
Casa Kantuta

Less than a year after it opened as a permanent bar in Adams Morgan, Bolivian cocktail lounge Casa Kantuta is closing its doors.

Sibling co-owners Carla and Juan Sanchez, along with Bolivian-Venezuelan beverage director Lou Bernard, set up their festive, impassioned cocktail lair in the basement of vegan Eastern European restaurant and skate shop Spacycloud (2309 18th Street NW). Casa Kantuta originally got its start in the same space, debuting as a short summertime pop-up in 2021, before moving in last winter under a signed lease.

Casa Kantuta’s subterranean setup.
Casa Kantuta

Now, the SpacyCloud owners are selling, and the incoming business — a TBA casual bar — has decided to occupy the basement floor. Casa Kantuta will now need to vacate, and its last day of operation is scheduled for Friday, December 1. SpacyCloud closed permanently up top in mid-October.

“Infusing the vibrant neighborhood of Adams Morgan with Bolivian culture has been an incredible honor,” says Carla Sanchez.

Casa Kantuta was one of few Bolivian spots in D.C., recently joined by Saya Salteña, a small takeout in Foggy Bottom selling salteñas (a kind of Bolivian empanada) and other snacks.

The Sanchez siblings had transformed their bar with color, masks, and other imported details from their native homeland.

“We enjoyed giving our patrons a true cultural experience through our cocktails, music, food and art,” says Sanchez.

The two had decor and art they sourced from Bolivia, alongside their own family photos and images depicting life in La Paz.

Casa Kantuta took its name from the national flower of Bolivia.
Casa Kantuta

“We’ve had so many people personally come up to me and my brother expressing their gratitude for representing Bolivian culture in the city,” says Sanchez, aiming to give people a cultural experience as much as a social one.

The bar had sold drinks like a fan-favorite the Angry Llama (Rujero singani, tequila, lime, and pineapple under a frothy egg white). Casa Kantuta was also one of few to pour Singani, a kind of grape-distilled brandy and the national liquor of Bolivia.

Casa Kantuta brought in folklore dancers and guest artists, and held markets of crafts and clothes.
Casa Kantuta

Beyond cocktails and flair, the bar had celebrated holidays like Carnavales in February and Bolivian Independence Day.

The siblings say that once the bar closes, they’ll reevaluate next steps over the winter. They don’t have plans to reopen yet, but ideas include shorter-term pop-up opportunities across the DMV region, and even across the country. They’re also considering a space with a kitchen to serve Bolivian dishes in addition to the drinks.

Sanchez also says that they will start to sell merchandise to keep the Casa Kantuta brand going while it doesn’t have a physical space.

“My brother and I are excited to draft a solid plan to elevate and bring Casa Kantuta back to the city stronger than ever,” she says. “We built a strong and loyal following that I know will come to support us whatever we will go next.”

Casa Kantuta is dressed with masks, glassware, and textiles sourced from Bolivia.
Casa Kantuta