The nightlife in Buenos Aires is one of the liveliest in the world. Nightlife really means nightlife for the young and rich Porteños because they usually only start their evening entertainment in the city after they have eaten at around 10 p.m. They first enjoy themselves in bars or cafés for hours and never go to the clubs before 2:00 a.m. – the time when the parties are just starting.
Drunk people are very rare because the Porteños only drink moderate amounts of alcohol. Chic clothing is expected – how chic, however, depends on the individual clubs and the neighborhoods in which they are located. Alcohol can only be consumed from the age of 18.
Palermo is popular with the fashion-conscious people. This is particularly true in the Las Canitas and Palermo Hollywood areas, which are littered with chic cafes, bars and restaurants. The streets around Recoleta Cemetery are also very popular with night owls. This is particularly the case on weekends, when the bars and cafés with a street terrace are full until everyone moves on to the clubs. Several pubs, including English and Irish pubs, are located in and around Calle Reconquista and Avenida 25 de Mayo.
San Telmo is a center for unconventional bars and tango shows.
Puerto Madero is attracting more and more people who want to watch the sunset over dinner and a drink.
The nightlife peaked from Thursday to Saturday. However, there is always something going on during the rest of the week. The bars and clubs offer a wide range of music styles and entertainment to suit all tastes – from tango shows to techno nightclubs.
The cultural life in Buenos Aires is also incredibly rich. Although the city is particularly popular for its tango, it also offers good ballet and theater, cinemas, opera houses and very good classical concerts.
There are numerous large cultural centers that offer many events such as free tango classes, art exhibitions and concerts. The following are recommended:
Centro Cultural Recoleta , Calle Junín 1930, (Tel: (011) 48 03 10 40; Internet: www.centroculturalrecoleta.org )
Centro Cultural General San Martín , Sarmiento 1551, (Tel: (011) 43 74 12 51, Internet: www.ccgsm.gov.ar )
Centro Cultural Borges , Viamonte and San Martin, (Tel: (011) 55 55 53 59, Internet: www.ccborges.org.ar ).
Most concert halls and theaters are closed from mid-December to late February, when many porteños are on vacation.
The entertainment section in the newspapers The Buenos Aires Herald (Internet: www.buenosairesherald.com ), Clarin (Internet: www.clarin.com ) and La Nación (Internet: www.lanacion.com.ar ) provides information on events, screenings and films . The tourist offices and tourist information can also provide very up-to-date information about events in the city.
The agenda part in the Buenos Aires Day & Night-Magazin lists very current events in the city. The magazine is available from tourist offices and cultural centers. A lot of information is also available in bars, bookstores and hotels. The city’s cultural centers and museums distribute leaflets and posters.
Tickets are available from the individual venues. There are also central ticket agencies ( Carteleras ) in the city center, where concert, cinema and theater tickets are available at reduced prices, e.g. Cartelera , Lavelle 835, (Tel: (011) 43 22 92 63). Ticketek (Tel: (011) 52 37 72 00; Internet: www.ticketek.com.ar) sells tickets in advance online, over the phone and has stalls at the Alto Palermo shopping center on Santa Fe Street.
Many bars offer both food and live music, which often makes it difficult to distinguish those places that only offer drinks from those that belong to the restaurants or live music providers. La Cigale is a lively bar in the city center that attracts a young crowd with its live music and DJs.
Address: Avenida 25 de Mayo 597, Buenos Aires
Telephone: (011) 48 93 23 32
Gran Bar Danzón
Right in the city center is the oldest wine bar in Buenos Aires, the Gran Bar Danzón, where guests can drink Argentinean wines and cocktails in a chic setting.
Address: Libertad 1161, Buenos Aires
Phone: (0110 48 11 11 08
The Voodoo Bar is a hip place with cozy armchairs and a lively dance floor.
Address: Calle Baez 340, Buenos Aires
A popular bar in Hollywood, the noble area of Palermo, is the Unico, which with its loud music has a magical attraction for young people who love to party.
Address: Calle Honduras 5604, Buenos Aires
Telephone: (011) 47 75 66 93
The Crobar, Paseo de la Infantana, and the New York City, Calle Alvarez Thomas, both located in Palermo, are two of the many established mega-clubs where you can dance to mainstream music amid a well-groomed and better-off audience.
Address: Paseo de la Infantana, Buenos Aires
Kika, Honduras 5339, Palermo Hollywood has long been a top attraction in this nocturnal wonderland, while Tequilla, Costanera Norte, is one of the city’s most exclusive clubs.
Address: Honduras 5339, Buenos Aires
The Pacha guarantees the ultimate club experience and the very best national and international dance music DJs.
Address: Costanera Norte and La Pampa, Buenos Aires
The Opera Bay is a lively place on the harbor that is crowded almost every evening.
Address: Cecilia Grierson 225, Buenos Aires
A lot of the city’s bars and clubs offer live music, but Café Tortoni is a really good choice.
Address: Avenida De Mayo 825, Buenos Aires
The most famous café in the city is La Bodega. It offers tango performances and jazz in the basement. It is easy to get caught up in the whirlpool of the tango fascination that can be felt everywhere in the capital and there are numerous places where you can listen, watch and participate in tango.
Address: Buenos Aires,
El Viejo Almacén
El Viejo Almacén offers its restaurant guests evening tango shows.
Address: San Telmo, Avenida Independencia & Balcarce, Buenos Aires
For reasonable prices and a more authentic impression of the tango, you should go to the Bar Sur, where the participation of the audience is encouraged.
Address: San Telmo, Calle Estados Unidos 299, Buenos Aires
El Samovar de Rasputin
Tourists looking for live blues and rock music are advised to visit El Samovar de Rasputin or Del Valle Iberlucca in Caminito, La Boca. Jazz fans gather in the Thelonious Bar, Calle Salguero 1884.
Address: Del Valle Iberlucea 1232, Buenos Aires
Classical music is rarely offered in bars, although Argentina has world-class musicians such as soprano Maria Cristina Kiehr and tenor José Cura. The Buenos Aires Philharmonic performs at the Teatro Colón. There concerts are often given in the Salon Dorado (golden room) which do not cost admission. Operas are also performed by the Philharmonic and are of a high standard.
Address: Avenida Libertad 621, Buenos Aires
Phone: (011) 43 78 73 44
Argentinian Julio Bocca is world famous for his ballet dance; however, the general standard in the city is not that high. Ballet fans go best to the Teatro Colón and the Teatro Coliseo, Calle Marcelo T de Alvear 1155 (bookings with Ticketek). Tango is by far the most common form of dance and can be seen in countless bars, in cultural centers and even in the streets of the city. Salsa is also popular.
Address: Calle Marcelo T de Alvear 1155, Buenos Aires
Theater performances are very popular in Buenos Aires and consist of a good mix of international and Argentinian productions that both locals and visitors can watch. Argentine playwrights who have made a name for themselves include Roberto Arlt, Roberto Cosa and Griselda Gambaro. The theater season usually starts in March and the locals are both critical and enthusiastic about the plays they watch.
The Complejo Teatral de Buenos Aires is a complex of five theaters, which are located in the city center and bring a diverse program of Argentine and international plays and children’s performances to the stage.
The Teatro del Pueblo, Avenida Roque Sáenz Pena 943, performs modern and independent Argentine productions.
Address: Complejo Teatral de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires
Telephone: (011) 437 01 11; (011) 43 26 36 06
Music and dance
The city has inspired numerous writers, playwrights and poets, but not as much as Jorge Luis Borges, who is known all over the world for his poems and short stories. He wrote his first book, Fervor de Buenos Aires (1932), after returning from Europe. It is a collection of poems about the city, in which the Recoleta cemetery is also mentioned. His most famous short story is El Aleph , which takes place in the Constitucion area.
Ernesto Sabato wrote in his psychological novel About Heroes and Graves (1961) about the people and places of the city. Buenos Aires writer Julio Cortazar focused on Argentine characters in his works 62 (1968) and Heaven and Hell (1963), while Manuel Puig’s novels, Cheated by Rita Hayworth (1968) and The Kiss of the Spider Woman (1976) deal with the role of folk culture in Argentina. In his books The Perón Roman (1985) and Santa Evita (1995), Tomas Eloy Martines mixes the life of Perón’s reality with fiction.