Buenos Aires’ best nightlife

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Kaye Holland has the low-down on Buenos Aires’ best nightlife

Never mind the Big Apple: Buenos Aires is the real city that never sleeps. Dinner is rarely eaten before 10pm – at the earliest – and milongas (tango clubs) don’t open much before midnight.

What’s more, the nightlife is as varied as it is plentiful stretching from trendy lounges to traditional cafes, speakeasy bars and boliches (night clubs).

All of the aforementioned are invariably packed full of hormones, hedonism and a whole lot of fun every night of the week – even on a Monday – for as the saying goes “An Argentine will make one peso and spend two.”

Whatever you’re into, dress up (Portenos are some of the most stylishly attired people on the planet), drink in moderation (Argentines aren’t heavy drinkers) and don’t even think about going to bed before 5am…. Argentines have a fantastic ability to stay out until the wee small hours of the morning and somehow still be at their desks by 9am.

Ready to party like a Porteño? Here’s where you need to head…

La Bompa de Tiempo
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Buenos Aires may be famous for its sultry tango – a passionate dance that has seduced the world – but La Bompa del Tiempo is out to change this. Every Monday from 7-10pm in Abasto’s Konex Cultural Centre, this hugely talented  percussion group takes to the stage to blend Argentine rhythms with Central American and African beats to enraptured gringoes and locals alike. It’s fast becoming one of Buenos Aires’ biggest and best parties and is an experience not to be missed. Two tips: unless you like a queue arrive early (by 7pm the queue snakes half way around the block) and leave your iPhone et al at home. Argentina – for whatever reason – has banned the sale of iPhones meaning shiny Apple products are irresistible to the city’s pickpockets, something I can, sadly, attest to.
La Bompa de Tiempo, Sarmiento 3131 (Monday at 7pm; AR$120; www.labombadetiempo.com)

La Viruta
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Seduced by tango (nothing and I mean nothing is more extraordinary than watching this steamy dance live)? Skip the overpriced tango shows (the preserve of tourists) and make for a milonga (tango club). Whichever barrio (neighbourhood) you find yourself in, milongas abound.  Even if you’ve got two left feet, venues like La Viruta are worth visiting for the atmosphere and phenomenal people watching alone. But have a power nap before you head out: Buenos Aires is all about the night and, as such, if you leave a milonga before 4am (when it comes to partying, Portenos don’t do things by half), you’ll be labelled an amateur…. Another option is La Catedral. Situated on Sarmiento, in an bohemian warehouse, this is quite possibly Baires’ coolest tango club.
www.lavirutatango.com
www.lacatedralclub.com

Pony Line Lounge
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For chic sips and sophistication, Pony Line Lounge – located in the sumptuous Four Seasons Hotel whose high profile past guests include U2, Sex and the City’s Kim Cattrall and Madonna  – is where it’s at.
Inspired by Argentina’s celebrated polo culture, the decor at this equestrian-themed lounge is a stylish affair: expect walls of rustic wood planks, herringbone wood floors, leather banquettes and  artwork by famous polo artist, Alejandro Moy.
The menu boasts a long list of tipples for the discerning drinker to choose from, but cocktails – including the signature Pilerato – are undoubtedly the specialty. Given Pony Line’s enviable Recoleta locale, drinks aren’t as eye wateringly expensive as you might imagine and when you’re bored of downing them on an empty stomach, there’s a decent food menu that’s a cut above your average bar grub. JAT can vouch for the moreish spinach croquettes and cheese pizza. Other pluses? Staff such as Leesandro are exceedingly friendly.
Pony Line Lounge, Posadas 1086, Retiro (ww.fourseasons.com/buenosaires/dining/lounges/pony_line)

Floreria Atantico
Floreria Atlantico – a secret, basement speakeasy – is arguably the hottest bar in BA right now and and that’s saying something in a city with no end of trendy places to go. Upon entering the rather charming flower shop, look for the industrial freezer door and then descend the stairs to this decadent drinking den – the brainchild of renowned Argentine mixologist Renato ‘Tato’ Giovannoni.
Thanks to its modernist lighting and decent drinks mixed (plump for the Principe de los Apóstoles, aka gin mixed with yerba mate, Argentina’s iconic herbal tea) by cool staff, this long and narrow bar is great place to meet both hip locals and expats. Not hip? It doesn’t matter. The whole point of travelling is that you don’t have to be yourself.
Florería Atlántica,  Arroyo 872, Retiro (www.floreriaatlantico.com.ar)

Niceto Club
This much hyped Palermo boliche is one of Buenos Aires’ biggest crowd pullers – particularly on a Thursday night. Inspired DJs fire up the dance floor with a canny choice of singles making  for a dancer’s delight. Body bopped till you’ve dropped? Gawp at the gorgeously attired show girls, and dance drag queens or admire the performance art. Friday nights are all about indie while Saturday play host to a rotating line of DJs. But whichever night you go, you can expect  a temple to hedonism. You’ll need to get on the guest list (not an easy feat) but if you really want to sample Buenos Aires legendary nightlife, Niceto is a necessity.
Niceto Club, Niceto Vega 5510, Palermo (www.nicetoclub.com)

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