Top 10 bars in Buenos Aires
The Harrison Speakeasy, Palermo
Word is out on this ultra-exclusive, prohibition-themed bar. People now know where it is (behind Nicky NY sushi restaurant); the problem is how to get in. The owners still try to keep the riff-raff out by making it password-only. To get in you need to befriend a member, or you could try having a sushi dinner and charming the waiter. But as there are no guarantees you’ll need a fallback plan. If you’re into the trend of disguised bars, try its sister venue, Frank’s (get the password via Facebook and enter through a telephone booth) or Victoria Brown (and enter through a coffee shop).
• Open Tue-Wed 9pm-12.30am, Thurs 9pm-2am, Fri 9pm-4am, Sat 9pm-4am, Malabia 1764, no phone or website
Florería Atlántico, Recoleta
When wandering the upmarket Recoleta neighbourhood you may be confused to see a florist’s open at 2am. The store is a front. Hidden in the basement is an ultra-stylish bar, co-owned by the city’s leading cocktail expert, Renato “Tato” Giovannoni. Try his gin – Principe de los Apóstoles – which is enhanced by a touch of yerba mate (Argentina’s signature herbal tea).
• Open Mon-Wed 7pm-2am, Thur 7pm-3am, Fri 7pm-3.30am, Sat 8pm-3.30am, Sun 8pm-2am, Arroyo 872, +54 11 4313 6093, floreriaatlantico.com.ar
Lo de Roberto, Almagro
Stepping into this small and scruffy tango bar, its walls crammed with framed photos of old crooners, feels like visiting a bygone era. Some time after 11.30pm, Osvaldo Peredo, the eighty-something owner, will rise to his feet and sing evocative lyrics from the bar floor. Groups of friends huddle around tables, sharing chairs and spilling out on to the pavement between acts. It’s a very special place – and nowhere offers a more local porteño experience.
• Open Mon–Fri 6.30pm-4am, Sat 9pm-4am, Sun 10pm-4am, Bulnes 331, +54 11 6546 3695, no website
Café San Bernardo, Villa Crespo
This is a typical old neighbourhood bar by day, where you might find an elderly patron sipping cortado coffee with an eye on the television showing last night’s football highlights. But, by night, it springs to life with raucous chatter and the clattering of paddle bats. As dozens of table-tennis tables are rolled out, a laid-back, beer-swilling crowd rolls in. Grab a plastic pint glass and expect to be here for the long haul. There’s table football and pool, too.
• Open daily 24/7, Corrientes 5436, +54 11 4855 3956, no website
Sky Bar, Microcentro
Take the lift up to the 13th floor of the chic Hotel Pulitzer to find one of the few bars in the city with a view. Thursday is “after office” night, meaning it draws a crowd from early evening (which is 9pm in these parts), and so is a good place to come if you want a taste of the city’s famous party atmosphere without sacrificing too much sleep. Buenos Aires isn’t stunning from above – more of a mishmash of flat concrete roofs – but it certainly looks special during a purple-hued sunset. Get here early to grab one of the stools facing out over the city.
• Open from October to early April. Sun-Wed, 5pm-midnight, Thurs-Sat 5pm–2am, Maipú, 907, +54 11 4316 0800, hotelpulitzer.com.ar
Doppelgänger, San Telmo
San Telmo is the city’s oldest neighbourhood and known for its artsy feel. The bar scene is similarly down-to-earth, with favourites including backpacker-magnet La Puerta Roja and chilled-out La Del Barco. But if you want something more sophisticated, head off the main drag to find this retro, gimmick-free cocktail bar. Low-lit, with racing-green walls and the feel of a youthful gentleman’s club, it specialises in the classics: from negronis and martinis to Latin favourites, including caipirinhas and pisco sours.
• Open Tue–Fri 7pm until close, Sat 8pm till close, +54 11 4300 0201, Avenida Juan de Garay 500, doppelganger.com.ar
Cerveceria Nacional, Palermo
Across much of Buenos Aires the beer choice is limited to Quilmes, the local watery lager, or Heineken. It’s a shame, considering there’s a thriving microbrewery scene. Fortunately, this new joint has come along to showcase the best of them … 100 varieties from 30 artisan brands. See also the mini chain of Antares bar, which does a fun tasting selection of its own beers in mini glasses.
• Open Tue–Thur 6pm–midnight, Fri-Sat 6pm-1am, Arévalo 1588, +54 11 4771 3383, Facebook page
Señor Duncan, Almagro
Ring the bell of this old mansion and you’ll wonder if you have the right place: is this really a bar, or the houseshare of some particularly lucky art students? You might still be asking the same question when you leave, after a night spent wandering its beautiful rooms (all wood panelling and stained glass) and happening upon the open-mic performances, music in the piano bar, some impromptu theatre or a swing-dance session. Check the Facebook page to keep up with what’s happening when.
• Open Tue 8pm-2am, Thurs 9pm-late, Fri-Sat, 10.30pm-late, Avenida Rivadavia 3832, +54 11 4958 3633, Facebook page
This buzzing newcomer may not have the makings of an all-time classic, but it’s surely a top pick for the southern hemisphere 2014/15 summer. There’s an industrial feel, with big, garage-style doors opening on to a long, central bar, lined with recycled iron shutters. The roof retracts to provide some respite from the humidity, and live music and DJs keep things lively into the early hours. And, if you need a reminder that things start late here, note the sign beside the racks of spirits: “Happy hour, 4am–5am.”
• Open Tue-Wed 8pm-2am, Thur 8pm-3am, Fri–Sat 9pm-5am, Gorriti 5741, +54 11 4775 6733, Facebook page
This place began life as a speakeasy in another part of Palermo and in keeping with its origins, it doesn’t give much away from the outside. There’s no sign on the front, and the downstairs windows are obscured with heavy black drapes. The giveaway is the queue that forms outside the front gate in the early hours. Arrive at 2am and you may not get in. The attraction is the house-party atmosphere. Slump on a downstairs sofa by the DJs decks, or head to the terrace to mix with a sociable crowd.
• Open Wed-Sat midnight-4am, Humboldt 1445, +54 9 11 6722 6784, no website
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