TV Shows & Movies

Partying in Spanish — Can You Learn That from TV?

Ximena Lama-Rondon

Partying is universal, but the etiquette and rituals that make our nights out special are just as unique as the people scouting for the cheapest shots at any touristy strip. Naturally, this means that parties in Latin America come with their own catalogue of social codes, traditions, and vocabulary.

Besides, our unique personalities just add that extra layer of personality to our universal hobby.

What can I Learn about parties in Spanish-speaking countries?

Here at Lingopie, it’s not enough for us to use TV series to teach Spanish. Sure, that’s a lot of vocabulary that you will be getting – but at the end of the day, media offers much more than just words or stories. Media is a pretty unique window to the culture that creates them.

You are not going to find a step-by-step popularity manual on any of our series (yet), but they will show you the kind of people and situations you can expect. Our jokes illustrate our stereotypes and personal traumas much better that any boring history textbook would. When it comes to parties and nightlife, they steer firmly clear from the basic “street smarts” advice of tourism guides. Instead, they will show you how we act when the Polaroids are not looking.

via GIFER

Dive bar etiquette: Unwritten, but relentless

At first glance, dive bars and underground rock venues look pretty much the same all around the world. You are probably going to find the same faded posters, hand-painted witty slogans, and neon edges in Lima, Santiago, or back home in good old San Francisco.

And just like in the States, expect a lot of effort put into looking effortless, spiced up with the same artsy conversation topics. Scratch a little bit beneath the surface, and you’ll quickly see notice the local flavour lurking beneath. For example, the terribly-normal girls starring in "Psicóticas Inseguras" (Insecure Psychotic Women) show us the darkly funny reality of a high school reunion:

  • Locked in the Global South as we are, we are not as quick to judge post-college unemployment.
  • The 80s aesthetic is strong here. Expect The Who every five songs or so.
  • Don’t even plan to go home early! All big cities have 24-hour public transport now, but it’s much more fun to stay locked-in until it’s daytime again.
  • Order your drinks right: first, we rarely bother with well-organized rounds. Instead, expect everyone to pool all their spare change together upfront (sometimes in an actual baseball cap), and then figure out how to get the strongest buzz at the cheapest price.
  • As for vocabulary, that depends on where you are. The same beer will be a birra in Argentina, a chela in Chile, or a caña in Spain.
Psicóticas Inseguras and the timeless charm of dive bars
No job? No prospects? Stay for the cheap cerveza!

And the fancy Instagrammable version...

On the right (but often pretentious) side of town, there’s a different set of codes and unspoken rules. Naturally, fakery exists everywhere, which is why Dorian Gray’s desperate bargain could just as easily take place in Madrid as in London.

If you’re willing to sell your soul for the illusion of success, look no further then Dorien to find out how to do it right.

We don’t want to give away the full plot of one of our hottest upcoming releases, naturally – and we would hate it if a 19thcentury British poet were to steal the plot! This time around, we can only offer a few pointed lessons:

  • The most important part: don’t talk about work. Only poor people work. Let everyone believe that you live off your art and love.
  • The Gin and Tonic craze is still running strong across Spain. If you want to look like a true connoisseur, steer clear from any funky new creations with ingredients you can’t pronounce, and opt for a clásico.
Photo by Raphael Lovaski / Unsplash

Remember that Spain is part of Europe, so it’s 1% operate by Old Money rules. Bespoke tailoring will beat flashy branding every time here. If you can’t have everything tailor-made, just get it adjusted just right.

On both sides of the pond, you’ll find that upscale places are much more liberal with credit. At a nice enough bar, you’ll be able to just hand in a credit card to secure a running tab. If you are bar-hopping (as is mandatory in Madrid), it will be tacitly expected that the person in charge of each tab will rotate.

Wild and borderline-criminal

What happens if you accidentally end up in an expensive, but decidedly less snotty party? You know, like the ones where you can find the owners behind overwhelmingly large and decidedly illegal fortunes.

Nowadays, it’s no longer exactly easy to just stumble into a drug dealer’s secret birthday party without an invitation. At “Sin tetas no hay paraíso” (No paradise without tits), they make it looks like it’s a lot easier than it really is. This ridiculously successful soap opera is a work of fiction, obviously, but there are a few hints you can take from it:

  • Anyone who is more interested in spilling champagne than drinking it is probably dangerous.
  • Stay away from pet tigers or people with pet tigers.
  • Don’t spill other people’s drinks, even if they look like law-abiding citizens.
  • Even before the Kardashian era, curves were always good.

Fixing the morning after

Most of the time, our crazy parties don’t end up like the one in "Equis" – that is, with a bloody murder that you can’t remember. Nevertheless, if you had a few more drinks that you were supposed to, you are probably in for a rude awakening.

Maybe you just accidentally broke something, and will just need to settle the bill at the police station. Hopefully, it will just be a matter of finding a local, tried-and-tested hangover remedy. Our final advice? If your goal is to be up and running in a few hours, maybe try a hearty soup rather than “hair of the dog”.


So where do we get started?

With any of Lingopie's new shows! Our portal offers hundreds of hours of on-demand Spanish TV series and movies meant to help you learn Spanish through immersion. Thanks to our double captions, integrated flashcards, and instant translation tools, we can get you to imbibe Spanish vocabulary and grammar without even noticing.

And if you are not ready to party on your own, bring a friend! Just sign up and refer a friend to get an extra discount.