South America has long held a reputation for being home to some of the world’s craziest party animals. The nightlife scene in hubs like Rio, Santiago and Cuzco may be the stuff of legends, yet Buenos Aires has no rival in the whole continent when it comes to being the destination for stylish and safe clubbing, drinking and dancing. The city’s undisputed night-life scene is probably the reason the siesta was ever invented; considering most ‘great’ nights don’t really start until 2am, a mid-day nap becomes rather essential!
Buenos Aires boasts a healthy array of great nightclubs, most of which you’ll no doubt discover when you visit, yet if you want an authentic night out when in Argentina’s capital, then best you concentrate your activities around the two most famous and revered Argentinian options: tango dancing and wine drinking.
Milongas: traditional tango nights
Tango nights are among the favourite night-time activities of visiting tourists and should not be confused with the heavily choreographed and picture-perfect tango shows normally geared towards foreign admirers. Those particularly shows are actually rather brilliant, yet being non-interactive, they should really be regarded as something entirely different.
Milongas are social and fun dance nights, organized at all sorts of venues like bars, restaurants, clubs and dance halls. Almost all begin with a one-hour class for left-footed visitors and all definitely end with a raucous and sociable dance-athon.
Ironically, these local tango-nights tend to attract an older local crowd in Buenos Aires, mostly due to the fact that the internationally beloved tango is weaning in popularity amongst young porteños, who’d rather hip-hop and boogie to the latest American tunes instead. We know…it’s almost too painful to read. Nevertheless, Buenos Aires still hosts hundreds of milongas every week! Going along to an authentic dance night, and having plenty of chances to join in, is by far one of the most enjoyable and fun things to do on a night out in Buenos Aires.
The ins and outs of milongas
Considering milongas are held in different venues, it’s a good idea to download this free quarterly guide which details where tango nights are held all over Buenos Aires. It helps to keep in mind that crowd age and general atmosphere are determined not by the venue where they are held, but by the group which is organizing it. However (in case you’re not confused enough), the same type of milonga is held on the same night every week at a certain place. What this all means, at the end of the day, is that if you experience a great milonga night whilst in BA you could repeat your visit on the same night the following week and expect the same turnout.
The most popular milongas among visitors to the city are Flor de Milonga and La Catedral , which both hold great events on Tuesday nights; La Milonga del Indio , which is an amazing outdoor even held on Sundays and Salon Canning on Scalabrini Ortiz 1331, where revered Parakultural holds THE best milonga nights in Buenos Aires on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays.
The best in show
Milongas are certainly an incredibly unique experience and something not to be missed; yet spending a night being dazzled by a professional tango troupe is also something we’d recommend you do.
If you are going to splurge a little on a dinner and show night, then we suggest you skip long-held institutions like Senor Tango and Tango Porteño (which seem to have degraded miserably over the last few years), and head instead to El Querandi, a lesser-known yet brilliant show which adds a little historical and cultural enlightenment to its phenomenal dance show. What El Querandi is, in essence, is a Broadway-style show where the origins of the dance and its impact on the local culture are narrated through a three-hour tango extravaganza. The spectacle is incredible, the food fairly decent (all things considered) and the atmosphere always buzzy.
Coming to Buenos Aires and not sending your taste buds on a delicious adventure is just about unthinkable. Argentinian wine, Malbec in particular, is renowned as among the very best in the world so indulging in a wine-bar-crawl during your vacation is also something you should find time for.
If you’d like to combine your love of tango and wine then check out Vinotango, a new and unique concept bar which offers some of the country’s best drops accompanied by a titillating cabaret show. At Vinotango you can join a wine-tasting and tango night, and you can also pop in to pick up a few bottles of Malbec on your way home from a day’s explorations.
Bar du Marche in trendy Palermo is also another venue which seamlessly combines two loves; this time food and wine. Purveyor of some of the most delectable aged cheeses in the country, Marche also boasts a reputable wine list which includes over 50 locally made boutique wines. You can either choose to have a full dinner or ask the knowledgeable staff for recommendations of their favoured cheese, salami and wine concoctions. Trust the experts on this and you won’t go wrong!
Aldo’s Vinoteca, a place which claims to have the most extensive wine list in the whole city, is not a bar suitable for those who find decision making a bit of a challenge. Along a truly superb choice of Argy wines you’ll also find a healthy selection of Spanish and Italians drops too. Aldo also offers a yummy selection of tapas-like snacks to complement your beverage.
A renowned haunt for locals, thanks to its reasonable pricelist, Aldo is the kind of place you could head to every single night during your stay and still enjoy a varied drinking experience. A four-hour long ‘happy hour’ completes this wine bar perfection 🙂
Milonga club via Wiki
Tango Show, via Wiki
Vinotango via FB