Buenos Aires Notable Bars

(Photo by Mellagi)

This week one of the city’s traditional cafes, the Richmond on Florida Avenue, was saved from becoming a sporting goods store. Belonging to the city’s group of 54 ºBares Notables”  the emblematic coffee shop, which has been  frequented by renowned artists, authors and political figures, was declared a historic monument. Active participants of the city’s bustling cafe life will be gathering today at 4pm to give Confitería Richmond a “hug” and enjoy a rainy afternoon of warm drinks and conversations.

The Richmond, isn’t the only “Bar Notable” to have been at the verge of disappearing, and in fact, some, like El Molino, no longer exist. Thankfully, many others do, and have become a valued part of the city. The history and the elegance of their marble and mirrors, of their white clad waiters and dark wooden furniture,  makes sitting in these bars for a break over “cafe con medialunas”  an afternoon must. Below is our pick of top notable bars.

 

Most Popular- Cafe Tortoni

Cafe Tortoni is the oldest  and most famous of the city’s traditional bars. Frequented by celebrities, politicians, locals and tourists alike, who come for coffee, history, live shows or a game of pool, fill the large lavish parlors with a special livelihood. Just a few blocks away is Cafe Los 36 Billares. Also worth visiting.

 

Most Charming- Petit Colon

Just two blocks away from the Colon Theatre and across Plaza Lavalle is the distinguished Petit Colon, a notable bar catering to an elegant crowd of theatre regulars. The ornate wallpaper and the luminous afternoon windows dote this cafe with a special charm making it the perfect place to start the evening before heading to the stately Colon Theatre.

 

For Hot Chocolate with Churros- La Giralda

A warm alternative to coffee and medialunas for winter days is hot chocolate with churros. The traditional version of hot chocolate is the “Submarino” in which you dunk a bar of chocolate into a glass of hot milk until it melts. The best place to do this is La Giralda on Av. Corrientes, or, the nearby El Gato Negro, which also boasts a large variety of spices and coffee varieties.

 

For 5 O Clock Tea- Las Violetas

An assortment of cakes, sweets and sandwiches are served on silver plates in this stunning teahouse in the Almagro neighborhood. Golden chandeliers, Italian marble floors, and stained glass windows decorate Las Violetas, a unique place to indulge your sweet tooth.

 

For Barrio Tango Spirit-Lo de Roberto

Although tango is present in most notable bars, Lo de Roberto in Almagro has an authentic feel to its late night tango gatherings in which the crowds actively participate whilst drinking beers.  Close by is another small traditional bar worth visiting, El Banderin, which has its walls covered in football flags from different times and places.

 

For Late Nights- Bar El Federal

In the heart of San Telmo, Bar El Federal is a daytime bar that becomes a lively pub in the evenings when the crowds come for a typical Fernet and some dancing. The stunning bar has a wooden arch with vitraux  details and a stopped clock immediately capturing ones attention and is an inviting place for people watching and a drink or two.

 

Local Specialties to Indulge your Sweet Tooth.

Grey cold days like the ones we’ve been having lately are great for comforting afternoon snacks in traditional teahouses such as Las Violetas in Almagro or Confiteria La Ideal downtown. Here are some local specialties to sweeten the afternoon.

Dulce de leche: Probably the most famous of Argentine sweets, this caramel cream is used in pastries, spread on toast, eaten by the spoonful and included in all kinds of desserts.

Alfajores:  A typical sandwich like snack made up of two “cookies” usually filled by, you guessed it, dulce de leche, (although there are variety’s filled with fruit jams and chocolate  as well) and covered in chocolate, confectionary, sugar or coconut. More information about alfajores is available here.

Rogel Cake: A very sweet cake made with alternating layers of puff pastry and dulce de leche and topped with meringue.

Pasta Frola Quince pie: Another typical sweet used in pastry’s and deserts is Quince paste (dulce de membrillo) and candied yam jam (dulce de batata), which are often combined with cheese for dessert. Quince paste also the main ingredient of Pasta Frola, a fruity pie that goes well with coffee.

Medialunas and Facturas: The local croissants and pastry’s come in many varieties. There are two types of medialunas (croissants), de grasa (made with lard) or de manteca (made with butter). The first is crunchier and thin, the second puffy and moist. Amongst the pastries you will find varieties with dulce de leche, with quince and yam jam, and with custard (crema pastelera).

Vainillas: These very lightweight  airy “cookies”  made from egg, vanilla and sugar are the favorite of many local children (and adults who wont admit it) who dunk them in milk as an afternoon snack.

Submarino: Another thing Argies like to dunk is a bar of chocolate in a cup of hot milk for a local take on a typical winter comforter.