Spring is finally here and nothing is quite as beautiful as seeing Buenos Aires begin to flourish. With jacarandá trees and the smell of flowers all around us I wanted to take some time to talk about some options for those wanting to enjoy the warmer night weather and go out for a drink or two!
(Arroyo 872, C1011, CABA – 011 4313-6093)
Taking inspiration from the immigrant history of Buenos Aires and the myths surrounding the ocean, Florería Atlantico is a cozy speakeasy that doubles as one of the most beautiful flower shops in the city. Hidden from the world by a fridge-like door, one must just descend the stairs to find a nautical themed bar where creative cocktails, delicious food and, above all, great service awaits.
Two things to bear in mind:
- It was ranked 14th in the 2018 World’s 50 Best Bars list which makes it a rather popular choice for those in the know and
- Because it’s rather on the small side, booking in advance is recommended, especially on Fridays and Saturdays where it can get crowded.
A personal recommendation: order the clericó (it’s similar to a sangría, but latin) to share with someone and have on the bar, the barmen are super attentive and a lot of fun!
Opening hours: Mondays to Wednesdays from 18.00 to 02.00 / Thursdays from 18.00 to 02.30 / Fridays and Saturdays from 19.00 to 04.00 / Sundays from 19.00 to 02.00 /.
(Costa Rica 4827, C1414 BSM, CABA – 011 4831-0831)
Keeping the themed bar theme, our next suggestion is the wonderfully chic Victoria Brown. Combining a industrial victorian era style with steampunk vibes, this speakeasy is truly one not to miss and, quite frankly, hard to find! Keep an eye out for the street number and you’ll find a mural, go past that mural and through a door and boom! Victoria Bar.
Something definitely worth checking out: the marketing these guys do is amazing, if you can, check out their Instagram and you’ll have a blast!
A personal recommendation: La Provence, a delicious and refreshing gin based cocktail with lavender flowers.
Opening hours: Tuesdays to Saturdays from 20.00 onwards.
(Soler 6036, 1425, CABA – 0113978-5684)
A small, passion driven bar, Mito Marcato specializes in classic cocktails and Italian charcuterie. Fairly new and on the rise, this is very much a up an coming, only the ones who know know kind of place. With extremely talented bartenders at the helm, one of which has just been named bartender of the year no less, this bar sets the highest of standards when it comes to cocktails. Rest assured that no matter what you order, they’ll deliver something on point and delicious!
Something worth checking out: at Mito they sometimes do masterclasses where they focus on a type of spirit or wine, they advertise them on their Instagram so keep an eye out for those!
A personal recommendation: my absolute favorite, a very dirty vodka martini… yum
Opening hours: Mondays to Saturdays from 20.00 onwards.
(Paraná 1048, C1018 ADB, CABA – 011 4815-9925)
Million is a French style house transformed into a multi space bar, with a beautiful dinning room and, especially, a scene stealing garden and terrace. This is very much a place to enjoy now that the weather is warming up and absolutely perfect for a date night.
Something that stands out: the decor and architecture, inside one feels smack in the middle of the belle epoch porteña.
Something to drink? They have a mate based cocktail that is very much worth a try, if nothing else for the novelty of it!
Opening hours: Mondays to Wednesdays from 12.00 to 02.00 / Thursdays from 12.00 to 03.00 / Fridays and Saturdays from 12.00 to 04.00 / Sundays from 20.00 to 02.00 /.
J.W. BRADLEY LTD.
(Godoy Cruz 1875, C1414 CYN, CABA – 011 4831-9574)
J.W. Bradley LTD takes it’s inspiration from the Orient Express, the famous train that connected Paris with Constantinople. With a retro chic style and often frequented by celebrities, this bar is probably the most party friendly on this list. Maybe a little too crowded for a quiet conversation on a Friday or Saturday night, this bar boasts a delicious food and cocktail menu. From burgers to ribs and wines to beers there is always something here worth sinking your teeth (or lips?) into!
Yum yum Nr. 1: The salmon croûte
Yum yum Nr. 2: The Monsieur Poirot
Opening hours: Wednesdays to Saturdays from 20.00 to 04.00.
(Av. Don Pedro de Mendoza 1929, C1169, CABA)
Finding it’s home in La Boca neighborhood due to it’s history of artistic uprise, the Proa hosts contemporary exhibitions, special projects, courses and seminars. Focused on the dissemination of the main artistic movements of the XX century, and very much politically engaged, many International artists have chosen the Proa time and time again to showcase their work. One such person was the internationally acclaimed Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei.
Opening times: Tuesdays to Sundays from 11.00 to 19.00 / Mondays closed /
CENTRO CULTURAL RECOLETA
(Junín 1930, C1113 AAX, CABA)
A former monastery constructed in 1732 it was transformed into a cultural centre in 1978, this is a space dedicated to art in all it’s forms. With 27 exhibition rooms, an amphitheater, a cinema and an auditorium, the Centro Cultural Recoleta specializes in various activities, from concerts to theatre productions and short courses, there is always something going on here.
Something worth noting? During summertime they sometimes organize parties and open air events!
(Balcarce 460, C1064AAJ, C1064 AAJ, CABA)
Located in San Telmo and known for it’s musical output, the Trastienda is perfect for those looking to discover the underground musical scene of Buenos Aires as well as those wanting to enjoy a more intimate jam session by acclaimed musicians. A former warehouse with plenty of small tables à la café-concert, this music venue is truly a beautiful one to experience whilst in the city!
(Av. Infanta Isabel 555, C1268ACK, CABA)
A hidden gem inside the rosedal park, this reformed quinta once belonging Juan Manuel de Rosas is now a museum dedicated to Argentine art specializing in drawings and printmaking. Housing more than 4000 pieces of Argentine art from he XX and XXI century, this is a favorite for those searching for something different and in touch with the current artistic landscape of the country.
Opening times: Mondays, and Wednesdays to Fridays from 12.00 to 20.00 / Saturdays and Sundays from 10.00 to 20.00 / Tuesdays closed /
Admissions: General $50 / Wednesdays free /
USINA DEL ARTE
(Agustín R. Caffarena 1, 1157, CABA)
Taking inspiration form the word “usina” meaning industrial factory, the Usina del Arte is the factory of art of Buenos Aires. Built in 1916, the building has been repurposed to allow for many spaces destined to exhibitions, dance and theatre productions as well as a concert hall. Usually offering workshops and housing food festivals, the Usina is a well loved, treasured cultural landmark of the city.
Opening times: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 14.00 to 19.00 / Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10.00 to 21.00 /
I wanted to dedicate a few lines to the many wonderful galleries and artistic spaces in the city. I want to clarify one thing: Buenos Aires is a city that overflows in artistic energy so here I’ll cover only a few of the many available.
We will talk about some of the better known museums like the Museum of Latin-American Art and the National Museum of Fine Arts but also I want to show you some that might not be on every tourist’s radar like the Trastienda or the Matienzo Cultural Club. Without further ado, let begin!
EL BELLAS ARTES
(Av. del Libertador 1473, Buenos Aires)
The Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Museum of Fine Arts) houses the largest collection of Argentine art in the country. One of the most important museums of Latin America, it dates back to 1896 and specializes in the overall history of national art, from the time of the colonies all the way to present day.
Some international artists featured? Renoir, El Greco, Rodin, Rembrandt, Goya, Rubens, Degas, Cézanne and Picasso.
And national ones? Cándido López, Prilidiano Pueyrredón, Fernando Fader, Xul Solar, Benito Quinquela Martín and Antonio Berni among others.
Opening times: Tuesdays to Fridays from 11.00 to 20.00 / Saturdays and Sundays from 10.00 to 20.00 / Mondays closed / Last suggested entrance at 19:30 /
Admissions: Argentine residents free (or $100 for the temporary exhibitions) / Non-residents $200 (incl. temporary exhibitions) / Tuesdays, and Wednesdays to Sundays free after 18:45 /
(Sarmiento 151, C1041, CABA)
Formerly the Buenos Aires Central Post office, the now Centro Cultural Kirchner was finalized in 1928 and inaugurated by the then president, Marcelo T. De Alvear. Since 2015, when it reopened as a cultural centre, the CCK has been subject to praise and criticism. With a tricky history of political polarization, many citizens and members of opposing political parties have spoken against it’s name and it’s use as a memorial for former president Nestor Kirchner. This is one of the reasons why, after the election of Mauricio Macri, the centre became most commonly referred to as the “CCK” and not by it’s full name.
The largest cultural centre in Latin America, nowadays visitors can enjoy an array of different disciplines, from contemporary art to classical music, this is for sure one not to miss!
Amongst the many things worth noting in this beautiful building is the main concert hall, La Ballena Azul (or the blue whale) which seats 1750 people and is suspended in what used to be the package sorting area of the post office. Today the Argentine National Symphony Orchestra has taken up permeant residency at the CCK.
Another thing worth noting is the Gran Lámpara, or big chandelier, a suspended glass structure dedicated mainly to art exhibitions.
Admissions: Almost everything is free at the CCK but concerts require reservation, booking well in advance is recommended as tickets tend to run out / Some temporary exhibitions might incur a cost, this however tends to be extremely low.
CLUB CULTURAL MATIENZO
(Pringles 1249, C1183, CABA)
An intriguing mix of cultural centre and night club, the Matienzo is a converted three story house where one can enjoy theatre productions, exhibitions, poetry readings and live music. It specializes in short events hosted by up and coming artists, rotating often to offer new things every week. Do not miss out the beautiful terrace, ideal for those wanting to enjoy a glass of wine or two.
Opening times: Tuesdays to Fridays from 19.00 onwards / Saturdays and Sundays from 20.00 onwards / Mondays closed /
Admissions: Usually free unless specific events require the purchase of a ticket /
CIUDAD CULTURAL KONEX
(Sarmiento 3131, C1196 AAG, CABA)
An icon of alternative, contemporary art in Buenos Aires, the Konex is home to many up and coming acts as well as fairs. Once a 1920ies constructed oil factory, now it’s home to a locals favorite event: La Bomba del Tiempo. Every Monday at 19hrs porteños gather to enjoy a show that focuses on rhythms, rituals and energies, very much a “must see to understand” kind of spectacle.
Opening times: Everyday from 18.00 to close /
Admissions: Depends on the event /
(Av. Presidente Figueroa Alcorta 3415, C1425 CLA, CABA)
The Museo de Arte Latinoamericano (or Museum of Latin-American Art) focuses, well, in modern Latin-American Art, that is to say: not exclusively national artists. Probably the most popular museum in Argentina the MALBA hosts some incredible exhibitions from renowned contemporary Latin-American artists, as well as occasionally non-Latin-American artists like Diane Arbus.
MALBA also features an impressive film library and offers an array of short courses on literature, cinema and art in general.
Some of the most prominent artists featured in the permanent collection are Antonio Berni, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Jorge de la Vega, Tarsila do Amaral and Lygia Clark.
Opening times: Thursdays to Mondays from 12.00 to 20.00 / Wednesdays 12.00 to 21.00 / Tuesdays closed /
Admissions: General $200 / Wednesdays $100 /
An eclectic space full of shops, galleries, workshops and a lovely, lovely café. The Galería Patio del Liceo (Santa Fe Avenue 2729, Buenos Aires, Argentina) is home to many up and coming brands and independent designers very much worth checking out!
A favorite of young porteños, especially wonderful for those looking for something unique, be that to gift to someone special or to oneself, or to help local entrepreneurs. I personally recommend to take advantage of the eccentricity of the space and get lost in it, go up the stairs or down to the basements and discover the many beautiful things this small hidden gem has to offer.
MORTEN JOYERIA – LOCAL 13
An artisanal jewelry designer, Julieta Morten begins every piece with an illustration, an idea. She then transforms it into a workable design to finally finish it on metal (either silver 925 or bronze). She describes her process as a ritual, a space to experiment and accept that sometimes ideas change and morph into something new. Her pieces evoke nature and astrology, unity and femininity, they live outside the boundaries we create to explore new spaces.
PERCHERO FEDERAL – LOCAL 45
Perchero Federal brings together over 20 independent brands manufactured all over the country. It aims to bring the creative output of the many, often relegated, provinces of Argentina to the forefront, selecting creatives with an eco-friendly, sustainable approach to fashion. The pieces on offer are unique or belong to small productions, all of which prioritize the use of natural fabrics and national textiles, very much an artisanal approach. Perchero Federal is a project that looks to put Argentine auteur design on the map!
ROMANELA BO – LOCAL 13
Romanela Bo is born out of the idea of dressing diverse bodies, creating pieces that will make people feel comfortable and beautiful, no judgements. She insists in not using push-ups or rings in her lingerie, encouraging her costumers to find harmony and connect with their own skin. She believes it is through attention to detail, care and sensitivity that we can accompany our bodies through it’s changes and banish insecurities from our lives.
This is a one person brand so her stock is limited and unique. Made to order pieces are available to accommodate every fit and size.
GREENSSHOP – LOCAL 7
A small yet charming store with strong minimalistic vibes and a “manufactured with pride in Buenos Aires” slogan, Greensshop offers a variety of products. From place holders to bags, ceramic mugs to sweaters, it is almost impossible to leave empty handed!
CALLIS JOYERIA CONTEMPORANEA – LOCAL 21
A perfect spot for those looking for local, handmade, textile jewelry, Callis offers a wide verity of shapes and styles, colors and textures. Hand sewn with expert craftsmanship and a truly original point of view using exclusively natural fabrics, it’s creator brings a new alternative to high street fashion definitely worth checking out!
INDIO – LOCAL 43/44
Agata, self described as mother of Vicente and Amapola, owner of two cats, began this wonderful project 6 years ago. iNdio exists to house the many styles and passions of it’s creator, from vintage to kitch, local to foreign, here one can find all kinds of hidden treasures. Perfect for those looking to find unique objects and fabrics, Agata has curated the perfect hidden spot!
Hotel Castelar: (Av. de Mayo 1152, C1084, CABA)
A hotel famous for it’s illustrious guests, it was here that the Andalusian writer Federico Garcia Lorca lived for six months after being invited to Buenos Aires by actress Lola Membrives and her husband. In 1933 Lorca had the American premiere of his play Bodas de sangre or Blood Wedding in English, which he directed and had a ran for over 150 showings. It was whilst in Buenos Aires that Lorca met and befriended other famous artists such as Pablo Neruda.
Lorca had this to say about Buenos Aires:
“Buenos Aires is a wonderful city. It’s what I would like Spain to be: cosmopolitan, full of friends, unprejudiced, busy, overflowing with life and culture. Whilst in Madrid they whistle and kick when they don’t understand a play, in Buenos Aires they thank you for the difficulty, they enjoy challenging themselves. They are a wonderful audience. From London, from Paris and from New York I left almost delighted in the departure, but I shall suffer a great deal when I leave Buenos Aires.”
Café Iberia: (Av. de Mayo 1196, C1084, CABA)
Café Iberia, formerly known as La Toja, was a historically relevant meeting point for the members of the Civic Union. During the Spanish civil war, it was a favorite of republican supporters, many of whom would engage in such violent quarrels with the francoists sitting in the Cafe Español opposite them, that chairs would be thrown across Av. De Mayo with many injured.
Teatro Avenida: (Av. de Mayo 1222, C1084, CABA)
Previously called Teatro de la Avenida, this theatre opened it’s doors in 1908. Historically home to many cultural events from the Spanish community in Argentina, it was here that Federico Garcia Lorca premiered Bodas de sangre in 1933. In 1945, nine years after his murder, La Casa de Bernarda Alba (The House of Bernarda Alba), Lorca’s final play, had it’s world premiere at the Teatro Avenida.
After being damaged by fire in 1978, the theatre was rebuilt and once again opened it’s doors in 1994.
Palacio Barolo: (Av. de Mayo 1370, C1084, CABA)
Arguably the most well known building in the avenue, the Palacio Barolo was designed by Italian architect Mario Palanti in a neogothic romantic style. At the start of the XX century, fearing the total destruction of Italy, Luis Barolo together with Mario Palenti planned a building that could be home to the remains of Dante where that to become a necessity. Boasting a hight of 108 meters it once was the tallest building in America, an achievement surpassed in 1928 by the Palacio Salvo in Montevideo and latter, in 1931, by the Empire State Building.
Palacio Barolo is probably best known for it’s design inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy: a little over 100 meters of hight (one meter for each canto), 22 floors (the number of stanzas), divided into three sections. The ground floor and the basement representing “hell”, floors 1 to 14 representing the “purgatory” and floors 15 to 22 representing “heaven”. A star can be found in floor of the entrance hall which was meant to be the final resting place of Dante Alighieri, it points towards the spire which aligns with the Southern Cross constellation, in a way elevating his soul.
Nowadays people can book guided tours of the building as well as enjoying a drink in its terrace alongside its lighted beacon, representing the nine choirs of angels.
For guided tours: https://palaciobarolotours.com.ar/en/home/
Hotel Majestic: (Av. de Mayo 1317, C1084, CABA)
The Majestic opened it’s doors in 1910 and it’s best known for it’s eclectic design. Originally designed by architects Federico Collivadino and Ítalo Benedetti, this building combines the art nouveau and, primarily, the art decó styes. Today it’s home to the Federal Administration of Public Income (AFIP).
Diario Crítica: (Av. de Mayo 1333, C1084, CABA)
Formerly home to Diario Crítica, a traditionally sensationalist newspaper, and designed by Hungarian architects Gyorgy and András Kálnay, this building is characteristic for being the only one to follow exclusively an art decó style in the whole avenue. Particularly notable in the buildings facade are the stained glass windows and the four statues guarding what once was Natalio Botana’s office.
Palacio del Congreso de la Nación Argentina: (Av. Rivadavia 1864, C1033AAV, CABA)
This tour culminates, as does the avenue, in between the Mariano Moreno, where a replica of Rodin’s The Thinker can be found, and Lorea squares. With an owe inspiring view of the Congress Palace and it’s dome, the biggest in Buenos Aires, this neoclassiacal building was initiated by Vittorio Meano, also involved in the Colon Theatre construction, and finished by Jules Dormal after Meano’s murded at the hands of his former butler.
Avenida de Mayo is one of the most iconic avenues in Buenos Aires, connecting the house of government (or casa rosada) and the house of congress. The first avenue ever created in South America, and modeled after the great boulevards of Paris, today it boasts a cacophony of different architectural styles. Mainly influenced by Italian and Spanish immigrants Avenida de Mayo is often compared to the Gran Vía in Madrid.
The epicenter of many political and historical Argentinian landmarks, Avenida de Mayo has always been a part of Argentine culture, from it’s theaters to the many protests and marches to congress, this avenue is often featured in history books and news broadcasts alike.
We’ll begin this tour in Plaza de Mayo and walk all the way to Congress, stopping to admire some of the beautiful buildings adorning the avenue.
1) Plaza de Mayo: Casa Rosada, Cabildo, & Piramide de Mayo
Plaza de Mayo takes its name from the revolution of the 25th of May 1810, the beginning of Argentina’s fight for independence from Spain, which took place right in this square.
La Casa Rosada (Balcarce 50, C1064, CABA)
La Casa Rosada, or pink house, is the seat of the Argentine national government and houses the president’s office. The president himself resides at the Quinta Presidencial in the neighborhood of Olivos, however Roque Sáenz Peña did live here during his presidency, between 1910 and 1914, making him the only president to use it as his official residency.
The reason for the color is unknown and a source of many theories, one such one is that the then president Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, in an attempt to appease political tensions, ordered it to be painted pink by combining the colors of feuding parties, the federal party (red) and the unitarian party (white).
El Cabildo (Bolívar 65, C1066, CABA)
El Cabildo de Buenos Aires was Spain’s colonial administration headquarters. Originally constructed in 1580, the cabildo was demolished due to its poor state in 1725 and rebuilt over the second half of the 18th century. Far from being what we see today, the building continued to suffer many changes: in 1894 part of it was demolished to allow for the Avenida de Mayo, and in 1931 yet more of the cabildo was taken down to allow for the Avenida Julio A. Roca. Nowadays the cabildo functions as the National Museum of the Cabildo and the May Revolution.
La Piramide de Mayo
This 19 meters high pyramid was constructed in 1811 to celebrate the first anniversary of the may revolution. Four of its original sculptures have been relocated (representing navigation, mechanics, astronomy and geography respectively), however one is still standing at it’s top: a sculpture by Joseph Dubourdieu representing freedom.
This monument is possibly best known for the part it played in Argentina’s human rights history. Starting in 1977, a group of mothers whose sons and daughters had beenabducted by the military dictatorship Proceso de Reorganización Nacional, began marching, asking for their children to be brought back to them. The group, named Madres de Plaza de Mayo wore white handkerchiefs, drawings of them can be seen painted at the bottom of the pyramid today to commemorate their bravery.
2) Casa de la Cultura/ La Prensa: (Av. De Mayo 575, C1084, CABA)
Constructed at the end of the XIX century by Carlos Agote and Alberto De Gainza, the Casa de la Cultura was originally meant to function as the headquarters of the La Prensa newspaper, one of the most circulated in Argentina at the time. A rather conservative paper it has opposed populist regimes like Peronism and shown support for military coups.
The influence of French architecture being obvious to the eye, both Agote and De Gainza completed their studies in Paris, it’s journalistic past can be spotted when looking up: a statute by Maurice Bouval of Pallas Athenea stands tall holding a piece of paper and an electric lamp representing Prometheus fire, a clear symbol of freedom of speech.
3) Palacio Vera: (Av. De Mayo 769, C1084, CABA)
A building that stands out for it’s art nouveau style, the Palacio Vera was created by Arturo Prins and Oscar Ranzenhofer and inaugurated in 1910 by Isabella, Princess of Asturias as part of the celebrations of Argentina’s centennial and the revolución the mayo or revolt of may.
Nowadays it’s probably most notorious for being the home to The Tunnel library, a place that specializes in first editions and old books. A favorite for collectors and avid readers alike.
4) Café Tortoni: (Av. De Mayo 825, C1084, CABA)
Café Tortoni opened it’s doors in 1858 moving to its current location in 1880. One of the many cafes in Avenida de Mayo, this one is particularly famous for it’s clients. From politicians like Lisandro de la Torre and Marcelo T. De Alvear to iconic popular idols like Carlos Gardel and Juan Manuel Fangio, Café Tortoni boasts an impressive list of illustrious guests. Inside it’s doors the Agrupación Gente de Artes y Letras was founded, an artistic group created by Benito Quinquela Martín (one of Argentina’s most famous painters), writers of the ilk of Jorge Luis Borges and Alfonsina Storni gathered inside this historic cafe. Other famous custumers to boast of? Albert Einstein and Federico García Lorca to name a few!
The Agrupación Gente de Artes y Letras ended in 1943, however this does not mean Café Tortoni forgot it’s creative roots: nowadays they still offer cultural events, mainly of jazz and tango.
5) Intersection with Avenida 9 de Julio:
The avenue “9 de Julio”, takes its name from Argentina’s independence day and is one of the widest in the world. In this crossroads a statue can be seen, created by Aurelio Teno, of don Quijote de la Mancha, a present from Spain to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Buenos Aires. Gifted in 1980, it’s white pedestal is meant to represent the landscape of La Mancha.