A tour of the iconic “Avenida de Mayo” – Part 2

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.”

 

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Photo Credit: turismo.buenosaires.gob.ar

 

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. 

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Photo Credit: turismo.buenosaires.gob.ar

 

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/

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Photo Credit: turismo.buenosaires.gob.ar

 

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. 

 

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Photo Credit: turismo.buenosaires.gob.ar

A tour of the iconic “Avenida de Mayo” – Part 1

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.

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source: turismo.buenosaires.gob.ar

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.

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source: turismo.buenosaires.gob.ar

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.

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source: turismo.buenosaires.gob.ar

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.

Buenos Aires – The eternal city of Jorge Luis Borges

“To me, it seems a mere tale that Buenos Aires had a beginning: I judge her to be as eternal as water and air” – Jorge Luis Borges

Buenos Aires is a city that breathes literature. It is a constant part of the lives of many porteños, who sneak around the streets with books to read in cafes, by the river or in parks. One only needs to know where to look to find literary cafes, poetry slams and bookstores full of rich history all over town.

Many of Latin America’s’ greatest authors lived, at one point or another, in Buenos Aires. Perhaps the best known Argentine author internationally, Jorge Luis Borges, happened to have been a true lover of Buenos Aires, and saw the city through a very special lens, one we will try to look through today.

Borges was born the 24th August 1899 in Buenos Aires. He grew up in a middle class family of no considerable wealth, not rich enough to live in the downtown area of Buenos Aires yet not poor. He grew up in Palermo, at that time considered a poorer neighbourhood, not the lively, trendy one it is today. There he lived until 1914, the year in which his family emigrated to Switzerland.

I suggest following Borges’ footsteps through Buenos Aires and finding some interesting places along the way. This mini tour of Borges’ life in Buenos Aires will not start, however in Palermo but rather in Recoleta, another neighbourhood close to the author’s life. We will then walk a little through Retiro, see some of his homes, and then return to where it all began, Palermo, where we’ll have a drink and toast to Borges’ legacy!

Without further ado, let’s start!

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1) The Jorge Luis Borges International Foundation and Borges Museum.
(Dr. Tomás Manuel de Anchorena 1660, C1425, Buenos Aires)

Founded by his widow, Maria Kodama, the foundation came into existence on the 24th of August 1988. What once was Borges’ family home, between the years 1938 and 1943, today is a museum dedicated to the author’s life and work. Here he wrote “Las ruinas circulares”, one of his better known short fiction pieces.

1. 2) Av. Pueyrredón 2190, Buenos Aires.

On our way to the Recoleta Cemetery (very much worth a visit in it’s own right), we will walk past one of Borges’ many homes in the city. On the fifth floor at 2190 Pueyrredón Avenue we can stop and appreciate, not only one of the most beautiful parts of Buenos Aires, but also where he lived from 1929 until 1939. A small footnote on our Borgesian journey.

2) The Recoleta Cemetery
(Junín 1760, C1113)

Arguably the most beautiful cemetery in the country, and for sure one of the most stunning in Latin America, the Recoleta Cemetery is home to many of the most illustrious argentine families. A history lesson hiding within, this place is very much worth a visit, especially for photography aficionados.
The cemetery hosts Borges’ family mausoleum, where his mother is buried. He himself lies in Geneva, having died there, continuing a somewhat sad tradition of national writers finding their final resting place abroad.

3) La Biela
(Av. Presidente Manuel Quintana 596, C1129ABO)

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Photo Credit: La Biela Website

After a morning of heavy walking around Recoleta we will all be tired, so what better place to stop and have a coffee than La Biela, one of the most iconic (and yes, touristy) cafes in the city.
La Biela’s history is rather remarkable, which is of course why it’s visited by porteños and foreigners alike. Once a popular destination for the likes of Fangio and Borges, inside we will find a cacophony of portraits, photographs and statues, all celebrating their famous customers. Yes, it is ok to go ahead and take a photo with Adolfo Bioy Casares and Borges, we have all done it, no one is judging.

3. 1) Av. Quintana 222 and 263

On our way to our next stop we can walk through Quintana avenue and tick two of Borges’ other homes off our list. It is at 222 that Borges lived shortly after returning from Europe and at 263 where he resided from 1943 until 1946.

4) Plaza San Martín
(Maipú 1210, C1006)

Yet another place worth seeing on it’s own merit, Plaza San Martin, named after the General José de San Martin, was witness to most of Borges adult life. Walk around or sit on a bench and enjoy a good book, do it Borges style!

4.2) His final home in Buenos Aires

Borges spent his latter years on the 6th floor, apartment B, at 994 Maipu avenue. He moved here in 1944 and lived there with his mother until she died aged 99, in 1975. Here, most poetically perhaps, is where he eventually lost his sight, from a condition inherited from his father.

5) Back to Palermo

As mentioned above, Palermo is where it all started, so it is where we shall end our small tour. On the originally named “Jorge Luis Borges” street we can find another two homes. The first one is at 2135, where he spent his childhood, and the second one is at 2147, where his grandmother used to live.
If we are too tired to walk, the 152 bus should take us back to Palermo, just ask for the Av. Santa Fe 3901 stop.

6) Borges 1975
(Jorge Luis Borges 1975, C1414DGG, CABA)

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For the end, a personal recommendation. On the same street at 1975, you will find a bookshop called Borges 1975. Regardless of whether during the day or at night, this is a nice place to visit: unpretentious and simple yet deeply porteño, this bookshop comes to life at night. Enjoy a pizza or a glass of wine with a new book or, if you’re lucky, take advantage of their live jazz shows and art exhibitions and relax after a very Borgesian day!

Buenos Aires Agenda May/Mayo 2018

EVENTS/ EVENTOS

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PH Peter Forret

Annual International Book Fair- Buenos Aires is a literary city and its international book fair is a great opportunity to find books, readers and writers all in one place. This year it is from the 26th of April to the 14th of May at La Rural in Palermo.

Feria del Libro- Buenos Aires es una ciudad literaria y la Feria Internacional del Libro es el lugar ideal para encontrar libros, lectores y escritores, todos en un mismo espacio. Este año se lleva a cabo del 26 al 14 de mayo en La Rural en Palermo.

City Tango Dance Championship- from the 9th to the 20th of May some of the best tango dancers shine their shoes and show what they know at the Tango Dance Championship. Find the full program here.

TangoBA- Del 9 al 20 de mayo se lleva a cabo el campeonato de tango de la ciudad en el que se presentan los mejores bailarines del género para mostrar su habilidad. El programa completo se encuentra disponible aquí. 

25 de Mayo celebrations- Every 25th of May, the Argentine people celebrate the May revolution which marked a turning point in the country’s independence process. Stop by Feria de Mataderos to catch some typical dances and try the locro and pastelitos.

Festejos del 25 de mayo- El 25 de mayo se festeja la revolución de mayo, uno de los pasos hacia la independencia nacional. En Feria de Mataderos se festeja con danzas típicas, locro y pastelitos.

SPECIAL UCO PROMO FOR OUR READERS: Stop by  UCO Restaurant and get a free taste of our homemade preserves, compliments of insidebuenosaires.com. Hotel Fierro, Soler 5862, Palermo. 011 3220-6820.

PROMO ESPECIAL UCO PARA NUESTROS LECTORES: Los invitamos a pasar por UCO Restaurant para probar algunas de nuestras conservas caseras.  Hotel Fierro, Soler 5862, Palermo. 011 3220-6820.

ART/ARTE

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PH: lili chin

The MALBA is showcasing a photography exhibit on the topic of peronism as seen through the lens of artist Sara Facio. Also, discover David Lamelas conceptual art, and Irene Kopelman’s artistic take on science. Av. Figueroa Alcorta 3415, Palermo.

El MALBA tiene en exhibición una muestra de fotografía que retrata el peronismo a través del lente de la artista Sara Facio. También se puede apreciar el arte conceptual de David Lamelas, y el cruce entre ciencia y arte de Irene Kopelman. Av. Figueroa Alcorta 3415, Palermo.

The MNBA fine arts museum is spotlighting an exhibit that showcases works from the Renaissance to Romantic period. Av. Libertador 1473, Recoleta.

El MNBA invita a recorrer los periodos del Renacimiento hasta el Romanticismo en una muestra especial que reúne importantes obras de la historia del arte. Av. Libertador 1473, Recoleta. 

FUNDACIÓN PROA is showcasing the works of Argentine photographers spanning from 1850 to 2010. Av. Pedro de Mendoza 1929, La Boca.

FUNDACIÓN PROA tiene en exposición una muestra que compila la obra de renombrados fotógrafos argentinos, y que traza una línea histórica que abarca desde 1850 a 2010. Av. Pedro de Mendoza 1929, La Boca.

BAFICI 2018

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The Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema, best known as BAFICI was created 19 year ago.  As a “B Side” of the more traditional “A” Mar del Plata Film Fest, BAFICI emerged as a beacon for the independent film scene worldwide. Back then, it
showcased an ample spectrum of films including the works of a young Pablo Trapero (Crane World, 1999), Samira Makhmalbaf (The Apple, 1998) and Laurent Cantet (Human Resources, 1999), amongst others. This eclectic influence has always been the heart of BAFICI, and in its present edition we are happy to recommend three interesting options for this rainy weekend.

Creature from the Black Lagoon (Jack Arnold, 1954). Friday 20th 19:00hs, Parque Centenario Amphitheatre. Following the success of Guillermo del Toro “The Shape of Water”, we invite you to enjoy the cult horror masterpiece that inspired it.

Contrapelota (Diego Crespo, 2018). Saturday 21st 15.45hs, Village Recoleta. A passionate debut film for local screenwriter Diego Crespo, Contrapelota explores the incredible world of an amateur soccer league through a 4 story approach. Asado and Malbec isn’t enough. To really know Argentina, you must experience its love for this beautiful sport.

Cartoon Saloon Short Films (Various, 2009/17). Sunday 22nd. 18.30hs, Village Recoleta. If you think animation is just for kids, you’re missing on a whole lot of art! From the Irish studio responsible for the heartfelt, beautifully crafted stories such as Song of the Sea (2014) and The Secret of Kells (2009), here’s a chance to enjoy Cartoon Saloon’s short films on the big screen.

Find the full program and information about tickets here.

Buenos Aires Agenda: April/Abril 2018

EVENTS/ EVENTOS

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PH: Jonathan E. Shaw

Cocktail Week:  07/04-14/04: Time to go out on the town and enjoy some of the cocktail offers around the city bars, plus cocktail clases, pop ups and more! Find the full program here.

Semana del Cóctel: 07/04- 14/04: La mejor semana para salir a recorrer los bares porteños y probar cócteles, asistir a charlas y disfrutar de eventos sorpresa. La agenda completa se puede encontrar aquí

Malbec Day: 17/04: Keep up with April’s boozy note and make sure you enjoy a good bottle of Malbec on the 17th!

Día mundial del Malbec: 17/04 ¡No olvides de degustar una buena botella de Malbec el 17 de este abril espirituoso!

BAFICI Independent Film Festival: 11/04-22/04: Catch some international indie flicks at this year’s cinematographic bash! Find the full program here.

BAFICI festival de cine independiente: 11/04-22/04: ¡Disfrutá de lo mejor del cine indie internacional en este festín anual de películas! El programa completo se encuentra disponible aquí. 

SPECIAL UCO PROMO FOR OUR READERS: Stop by for lunch at UCO Restaurant and get a free glass of wine, compliments of insidebuenosaires.com. Hotel Fierro, Soler 5862, Palermo. 011 3220-6820.

PROMO ESPECIAL UCO PARA NUESTROS LECTORES: Los invitamos a pasar por UCO Restaurant a disfrutar de un rico almuerzo acompañado de una copa de vino de cortesía. Hotel Fierro, Soler 5862, Palermo. 011 3220-6820.

 

ART/ARTE

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PH: lili chin

The MALBA is showcasing a photography exhibit on the topic of peronism as seen through the lens of artist Sara Facio. Also, discover David Lamelas conceptual art, and Irene Kopelman’s artistic take on science. Av. Figueroa Alcorta 3415, Palermo.

El MALBA tiene en exhibición una muestra de fotografía que retrata el peronismo a través del lente de la artista Sara Facio. También se puede apreciar el arte conceptual de David Lamelas, y el cruce entre ciencia y arte de Irene Kopelman. Av. Figueroa Alcorta 3415, Palermo.

The MNBA fine arts museum is spotlighting an exhibit that showcases works from the Renaissance to Romantic period. Av. Libertador 1473, Recoleta.

El MNBA invita a recorrer los periodos del Renacimiento hasta el Romanticismo en una muestra especial que reúne importantes obras de la historia del arte. Av. Libertador 1473, Recoleta. 

FUNDACIÓN PROA inaugurates a special photography exhibit on the 21st of April that will showcase the works of Argentine photographers spanning from 1850 to 2010. Av. Pedro de Mendoza 1929, La Boca.

FUNDACIÓN PROA inaugura una muestra especial de fotografía el 21 de Abril en la que se expone la obra de renombrados fotógrafos argentinos, trazando una línea histórica que abarca desde 1850 a 2010. Av. Pedro de Mendoza 1929, La Boca.

UCO Happy Hour PROMO

Copia de MESA UCO

The Fierro garden is a great spot for evening drinks and lounging as the summer days slowly turn into crisp Autumn, and if you stop by between 5.30 and 7.30pm, you can also enjoy our UCO happy hour!  We have specials that you can pick:

2 x AR$180 on: Mojitos, Pisco Sour, Gin Tonic, Caipiroska, Chilcano, Campari Orange, Americano, Aperol Spritz and Cynar 70 Julep.

or

2 x AR$250 on: Negroni, Dry Martini, Boulevardier, Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Mint Julep, and Presidente.

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And, you can also order some of our tapas which include crispy fried seafood; Paco’s wings; 3 Bruschettas with delicious toppings of Burrata cheese, smoked trout and rabbit paté; empanadas filled with mozzarella, basil and oven-dried tomatoes; or our classic spicy rustic french fries with aioli sauce. Plus, if you are a blog reader (which you clearly are), we will make your happy hour happier this March with a complimentary empanadas tapas serving. You will just need to let the UCO staff know that you are an insideBA reader and then tell them what the corn and bechamel empanadas are called in Argentina (the answer is available here). 

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El jardín de Fierro Hotel es una opción ideal para sentarse a disfrutar de los últimos días de verano a la tardecita trago de por medio, y de 17.30 a 19.30 además se puede disfrutar del Happy Hour de UCO con una oferta única de tragos que incluye: 

2 x AR$180: Mojitos, Pisco Sour, Gin Tonic, Caipiroska, Chilcano, Campari Orange, Americano, Aperol Spritz and Cynar 70 Julep. 

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2 x AR$250 on: Negroni, Dry Martini, Boulevardier, Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Mint Julep, and Presidente. 

UCO Restaurant

Happy Hour- UCO Restaurant

Además, para acompañar, también se ofrecen las siguientes tapas que incluyen: fritos de mar; Paco’s wings; 3 bruschettas, una con burrata, otra con trucha ahumada y otra con paté de conejo; empanadas rellenas de mozzarella, albahaca y tomates secos; y papas bravas con alioli.  Además, los lectores de InsideBA van a recibir unas empanadas caprese cortesía de la casa. Simplemente tendrán que anunciar que son lectores del blog, y responder correctamente a la siguiente pregunta: ¿Cómo se llaman las empanadas rellenas de choclo y salsa blanca en Argentina? Puede encontrar la respuesta aquí