The best bars in Buenos Aires

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Yesterday our (wo)man in BA opened her little black book and let you in on the best places to rest your head in the Paris of the South. Some, but not all, of the aforementioned accommodation options have drinking dens but, if you’re anything like Just About Travel team, you’re not one to stick to the safe confines of a hotel bar. And especially not when you’re in Buenos Aires – a city that’s part European, part Latin American and as such packed with characterful bars in which to enjoy a bottle of Malbec (Argentina’s signature grape which is responsible for the lush, dark red wines we all know and love.)
Here’s our guide to the best Buenos Aires bars to try right now – regardless of which barrio you’re based in…

Glamour meets grit in the Microcentre – the heart of Buenos Aires and home to blockbuster sights such as Plaza de Mayo and La Casa Rosada. Downtown Buenos Aires is also where you’ll find Corrientes Avenue, aka the theatre district that’s dotted with Mom and Pop pizza and pasta places (a legacy of the city’s Italian diaspora).

Floreria Atlantico
Floreria Atlantico – a secret, basement speakeasy – is arguably the hottest bar in BA right now. 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  (plump for the Principe de los Apóstoles, aka gin mixed with yerba mate, Argentina’s iconic herbal tea) mixed 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.

To the north of Downtown lies Palermo – a little corner of perfectly manicured paradise where men carry tiny dogs and immaculately turned out women sweep from chi chi boutiques to buzzy bars and restaurants. It’s a little bit of a bubble – Palermo houses BA’s expat and middle class contingents – but it’s a pleasant one and, where much of the city’s legendary nightlife takes  place.

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878 has carved out a niche for itself in Villa Crespo – an enclave of Palermo. Little wonder really as this ‘secret’ (you’ll need to ring the bell to to the unsigned door to be granted access) bar is seriously good looking: expect red brick walls and comfortable couches in this low lit space that also boasts an area out the back for the smokers among you. Drinks – including expertly mixed, cocktails, a wine list as long as your arm and over 80 kinds of whiskey – are competitively (for Palermo) priced. And when you’re bored of downing them on an empty stomach, there’s a decent snack menu that’s a cut above your average bar grub. So don’t be deterred by the fact that 878 – once a carpentry workshop -isn’t the easiest place in the world to find. This buzzing bar is – as the local bar men will tell you – undoubtedly of BA’s best.

The antithesis of San Telmo is Recoleta – an upmarket neighbourhood that’s often compared to New York’s Upper East Side. Recoleta is also home to Buenos Aires’ number one tourist attraction: take a bow Recoleta Cemetery. This city of the dead is where Argentina’s most famous daughter – one Eva Duarte de Peron – was buried.

The Pony Line
For chic sips and sophistication, Pony Line Lounge 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 and, given Pony Line’s enviable Recoleta locale, drinks aren’t as eye wateringly expensive as you might imagine. Other pluses? Staff such as Leesandro are exceedingly friendly.

Rougher around the edges, is the barrio of San Telmo whose ramshackle streets have long been a favourite with Buenos Aires’ artists owing to their (historically) low rents. The Sunday market on Calle Defensa is legendary and rightly so: there’s enough arts and antiques on sale, to decimate your baggage allowance.

San Telmo has tonnes of traditional cafes like La Poesia and Bar Plaza Dorrego (which, with their unique, elegant stained glass windows, are a million miles from the identikit Costa coffee shops that plague the high street at home). However if you’re in the mood for a cocktail rather than caffeine, drop in at Doppelgänger. The menu revolves around cocktails but the classics (Caipirinhas , Pisco Sours and Martinis) are undoubtedly the specialty. Can’t decide what to order? Try the bar’s best seller: a perfectly mixed Old Fashioned. Saludes!

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