New York the city that never sleeps? Try Buenos Aires. From restaurants and cafes to bars and dance clubs (or “boliches,” as the Argentines call them), the Buenos Aires nightlife is booming. But beware: things start late in the Argentine capital, so don’t be shocked if you’re up until sunrise … and try to fit in a pre-disco nap to be prepared.
Relax with a Beer
Yes, Argentina is best known for its wines (if you manage to make it out of the country without trying at least a sip of Malbec, you’re doing it wrong), but it defends itself on the beer front too. You can find Argentina’s most typical beer, Quilmes, almost anywhere, but if you’re more interested in the artisanal fare there are some great places to check out.
Antares is probably your best bet here. With a selection of eight different brews and a fun but cozy environment, Antares is a favorite among locals and out-of-towners alike. In Buenos Aires, there are locations in Palermo and Las Cañitas, the former tending to be a bit busier and drawing more of a crowd (which could also mean a long wait). Both offer a nice two-for-one happy hour – Palermo’s is from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. most days of the week, and the one in Las Cañitas starts at 6:00. Also worth trying is Buller Pub & Brewery in Recoleta, which has a great outdoor patio.
A Taste of Home
Of course, when you’re in Buenos Aires, you’re going to want to soak up all the food and culture you can. But if you’re in need of a break and want to spend some time with fellow travelers and expats, there are a couple of options available (and not just TGI Fridays).
For Americans, Casa Bar and El Alamo are your best bets not only for finding a familiar environment but also for sitting down and watching your favorite sports teams. Casa Bar is generally a more relaxed, typical sports bar environment, while El Alamo can get pretty rowdy. Casa Bar has great wings and decent drinks, and after a certain hour, girls can drink beer for free. Its hours can be a bit hard to gauge – it generally opens at 7:00 p.m. but sometimes seems to close for no apparent reason. El Alamo charges at the door at night, but the money goes to whatever you want to buy inside. Girls drink for free early in the evening, and the local rumor is that there’s “something” in the beer. Also worth taking into account: smoking is allowed in the downstairs bar.
For Mexican tourists wanting a taste of home (or for anyone looking for some delicious Mexican food and drinks) La Fabrica del Taco is the place to be.
When it comes to dancing in Buenos Aires there are tons of options – and I’m not talking tango (although a tango show is worth catching while you’re in town). The people of Buenos Aires – also known as “Porteños” – love to dance and will stay out all night doing so.
Podesta in Palermo Hollywood may be a nice place to start. It’s got two different floors – one that plays 80s, 90s and more modern (and familiar) songs, and another that has Latin music. The ball usually gets rolling a bit earlier at Podesta – around midnight as opposed to other clubs, which usually don’t really get going until after 2:00 in the morning.
If electronic music is your thing, you’re going to want to check out Crobar. For live music and a more hipster vibe, there’s Niceto Club, while there’s often a notable foreign crowd at Kika, and Ink is a bit more posh.
Hunting for Cocktails
Truth be told, Buenos Aires isn’t exactly the easiest place to find delicious, elaborate cocktails, and in a lot of places, you’re probably better going with beer, wine, or something that is on the menu (by the way, you probably won’t like it at first, but definitely try the fernet). Believe it or not, even something as simple as a vodka soda may get you a strange look from the bartender, and a Buenos Aires martini may taste very different from what you’re expecting.
That being said, getting a great cocktail isn’t impossible. Doppelganger in San Telmo has a fantastic set of signature drinks, not to mention a bartender who will talk them over with you when deciding. It isn’t in the greatest of areas, so it’s best to go in a cab. Portezuelo has an enormous selection of liquors, good bartenders and even a high-end happy hour offer. Million in Barrio Norte has great food and drinks, and the space itself is gorgeous.
Given the wide range of nightlife offers in Buenos Aires, a lot of the time, your best bet is just walking around and seeing what’s out there (like in any big city, security can be an issue in Buenos Aires, so be aware of what’s around you and ask around about areas you should avoid).
With a plethora of bars and dance clubs with both indoor and outdoor seating, Palermo’s Plaza Serrano is a very popular spot – albeit at times a bit too popular and overcrowded. For a more relaxed (albeit more expensive) environment, you’ve got Plaza Armenia, where dining options are generally decent, too. The area surrounding the Recoleta Cemetery can be fun to explore as well. It’s generally fairly tourist-heavy, but it’s also a favorite date spot among Porteños and a hangout area for local adolescents. And you can’t forget San Telmo’s Plaza Dorrego, a fun area for night-time activities and a must-see during the day.