Buenos Aires Bars & Nightlife
Victoria Brown Coffee & Bar
Costa Rica 4827, Palermo
A speakeasy, designed to resemble a Victorian-era factory (hence the name), the ambiance is dark and cozy with circular leather booths, low lighting, and truly excellent cocktails. Settle in for a few aperitifs and small plates to tide you over until dinner, which given Buenos Aires’s dining schedule typically gets going around 10 p.m.
Bar Los Galgos
Callao 501, Microcentro
The original owner of this jazz bar was an enthusiastic dog-racer, hence the name Los Galgos, which translates to "the greyhounds." It's a determinedly old-school joint, where in lieu of beer taps, the booze flows from vintage goosenecks, the tables are Formica-topped, and the mirrored bar is a relic of times gone by.
Uriarte 1664, Palermo
Conveniently next door to BA hot spot Casa Cruz, Isabel is equally as glamorous as her neighbor. An upscale bar, the decor has that seductive, seventies vibe going on—gilded doors, a roaring fireplace, plush velvet booths, and mood-setting dim lighting. If you can get past the tight door, the martinis are the thing to order.
Arroyo 872, Retiro
This bar—submerged beneath a pretty flower shop—is helmed by the city’s most revered bartender, Tato Giovannoni. The cocktail list is a celebration of the immigrant-led cultural fusion that is the backbone of this Latin city. Tato makes his own homemade gin (a pretty novel endeavor in Argentina), unusually—and patriotically—flavored with eucalyptus, yerba mate, and grapefruit. The basement bar itself is minimalist and urban with whitewashed walls, a chalkboard menu, and a long bar brightened up with yellow stools. Small plates are available, but be sure to book well in advance for table service.
Estados Unidos 302, San Telmo
Café Rivas serves food and drinks all day in a space about as charming as they come (that happens to be located on one of the more picturesque, cobbled corners of the city). Dining options are of the classically Argentinian variety (steaks, breaded pork cutlets), and the weekend brunch is excellent but, really this is a spot to sit at the bar with a glass of full-bodied wine or creamy coffee and unwind—ideally after a few hours spent browsing the San Telmo flea market.
Bar Plaza Dorrego
Defensa 1098, San Telmo
Bar Plaza Dorrego is one of those super-evocative, classic, old-school spots with the requisite checkered floor, suited-up waiters, and dusty wine bottles. The old wood bar is covered in the scrawled etchings of customers past and present, and some of the waiters have been working the floor for over two decades. Take a seat at the bar and order a few drinks (teetotalers try their famous submarino—hot milk with a little added chocolate), and traditional Argentine snacks to the sound of tango music for the quintessential BA evening.
Thames 878, Villa Crespo
Ocho7ocho (as the locals call it) is packed to the rafters, night after night and deservedly so. Located—like many of the city's bars and restaurants—in a converted townhouse, the vibe is laid-back and relatively unfussy with low sofas, smooth stone walls, and dark lighting—it kind of feels akin to being in a cave. The cocktails are excellent, but this is also the kind of bar to kick back with a simple, but well-made gin and tonic and catch up with a friend.
Arévalo 2030, Palermo
A pretty novel concept, this bar is a complete reconstruction of the NYC subway, as if it’s in transit from the Bronx to Uptown—yet, unlike the subway, this bar also manages to feel illicit, swanky, and clean. From the guys behind the Harrison Speakeasy, no stone was left unturned here—they’ve thought of every detail from the subway tiles that cover nearly every surface and the turnstile you need to pass through, to the actual subway car that holds the bar. This, however is no ordinary subway car, inside is a chic space with leather booths, towering ceilings, and a bar manned by booze experts mixing up themed cocktails to a soundtrack of rap and R&B.
The Harrison Speakeasy
Malabia 1764, Palermo
A riff on the fish market speakeasy operated by the notorious Harrison family in New York during the Prohibition, this iteration (authentically located underneath a sushi restaurant) recreates all of the illicit drama of the period. The real Nicky Harrison—a jailbird who later fled New York—wound up finding life and love in Buenos Aires and every detail in this bar is an ode to his story. (Even the menus feature newspaper clippings detailing Harrison’s 1930 incarceration.) The well-stocked bar is manned by guys who know what they're doing, too.
Pony Line at the Four Seasons
Posadas 1086/88, Recoleta
Inspired by Argentina’s polo-loving lifestyle, Pony Line has become a destination in and of itself for both visitors and resident Porteños (despite its hotel location which can sometimes be a real mood-killer). This bar is beautiful and so aesthetically different—the walls, floors, and bar are composed patchwork-style of varying shades of timber. The combination of natural materials and neutral colors feels immediately relaxing and warm—it's the kind of place you want to settle into the cozy, tan, leather banquettes with a drink in hand and stay all night. The libations range from champagnes and cocktails to locally-made artisanal beers with a solid small bites menu (oxtail empanadas, truffle fries) to keep you going.