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Buenos Aires nightlife

To get a true taste of Argentine life, be prepared to stay up way past your bedtime. Dinner in Buenos Aires rarely begins before 10 pm, even at home, making it common to see entire families, often with very young children, still going strong at two or three in the morning. Most dance clubs and tango milongas don't even open until 2 am, and while city authorities are engaged in a long-term campaign to curb alcohol-related traffic accidents, it's telling that new ordinances prohibit the sale of alcohol only after 5 am and impose mandatory closing at the less-than-controversial hour of 7 am.

Surprisingly, though, porteños are not heavy drinkers. True, they consume a prodigious average of 55 bottles of wine a year—roughly four times the typical consumption in North America—but most is quaffed with food. In general, locals prefer not to spoil the memory of a night out by obliterating it entirely, opting to nurse a single glass of wine or to chat over coffee in one of the city's elegant cafés or salons. But those few drinks easily fuel long nights in Buenos Aires's buzzing bars, where louche night owls preen and flirt, people-watch from sidewalk tables, or lounge with cocktails in lush gardens.

Clubbing, carried out almost exclusively by the under-30s, is a weekend affair, and many clubs open only on Friday and Saturday nights. Those situated near the Río de la Plata come into their own in summer, when open-air terraces afford grandstand views of the port and river—look carefully and you can often spot the lights of Uruguay glinting on the far shore. Be sure to check local listings before heading out for the night, as private parties and live music nights can play havoc with club schedules.

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Bar Isabel, Buenos Aires

Chilean fun lover Juan Santa Cruz—the driving force behind Casa Cruz, celebs' favorite Palermo dining spot—opted for the same blackened walls and...more

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Bar Plaza Dorrego, Buenos Aires

Perhaps the most celebrated dive in all of Buenos Aires, Bar Plaza Dorrego has been pouring one icy-cold chopp (draught beer) after another for nigh on a...more

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Cigar Bar, Buenos Aires

Tucked into a corner of the Alvear Palace's colossal interior of towering columns, breccia marble, and gilt ornamentation, the Art Deco–inspired Cigar Bar...more

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El Viejo Almacèn, Buenos Aires

Housed in a former San Telmo general store dating back to 1798, El Viejo Almacén offers a vibrant example of how good—and surprisingly...more

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Gran Bar Danzón, Buenos Aires

The ultra-designed, ultracool Gran Bar Danzón's bistro menu showcases spiffy renditions of Argentine classics, but the real draw is the bar, with its...more

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La Biela, Buenos Aires

This airy old-school café opposite the Recoleta Cemetery (be sure to check out the giant gomero, or rubber tree, out front) is a bona fide Buenos Aires...more

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La Cigale, Buenos Aires

This all-purpose bar, café, and late-night discotheque offers a sophisticated take on the familiar cram-them-in-until-somebody-faints ethos of most B.A....more

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La Peña del Colorado, Buenos Aires

Lying far outside the complex rules and social restrictions of tango, Argentina's folk music, or música folclórica, reemerged to a new popularity...more

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Luna Park, Buenos Aires

In operation for 80-odd years, Luna Park—with its landmark neon signage—has seen its share of history, from the 1935 funeral of tango legend Carlos...more

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Mansion Dandi Royal, Buenos Aires

Mansion Dandi Royal, the luxurious "Residential Tango Academy" housed in a 1903 San Telmo mansion, opens its Salon Dandi ballroom to the city's tangueros every...more

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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