Casa Kantuta, DC’s Only Bolivian Bar, Will Return to Adams Morgan

The pop-up is going semi-permanent at sPACEYcLOUD come December.

Casa Kantuta, a Bolivian cocktail bar, lands in Adams Morgan. Left to right: bartender Luis B. Aliaga, and founders Carla and Juan Sanchez. Photograph by Jessica VanDop DeJesus

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Casa Kantuta has bar-hopped around the city since the Bolivian cocktail concept first popped up in Adams Morgan for a month in 2021. Now, the traveling lounge—which drew Bolivian expats and diplomats looking for a rare taste of home—is landing for at least a year. Co-founders and siblings Carla and Juan Sanchez, along with bartender Luis B. Aliaga, will sling singani cocktails and salteñas in a semi-permanent space on 18th Street starting in late December. 

The lounge takes over the basement of sPACEYcLOUD, an Eastern European vegan bar and skate shop where Casa Kantuta began. The Sanchez siblings and Aliaga—all natives of La Paz, Bolivia—are busy transforming the space with traditional masks and textiles, plus a larger bar. Aliaga, who’s also the beverage director at Roy Boys in Shaw, champions cocktails made with rujero singani, a small-batch Bolivian grape spirit that’s similar to Peruvian pisco in its versatility. 

“It’s labeled as a brandy in the US, but it’s more delicate and floral, like another type of gin or organic vodka,” Aliaga says.

Plans are still in the works for collaborations with food vendors. Casa Kantuta will continue to host markets—likely monthly—with local artists, designers, and small business owners. One thing the team knows for sure: they want to ring in the New Year with a Bolivian blowout that’ll double as a grand opening. 

Casa Kantuta. 2309 18th St., NW

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.