A Local’s Guide to Buenos Aires Nightlife

Buenos Aires is a 24/7 oasis of cool – but at night, the party doesn’t really get started until well after 2am. Insider Marisa steers you to the best hidden spots.

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Photo © Sean O'Reilly

Bars

Start your night at some of the city’s more laid-back bars, located in Buenos Aires’ oldest neighborhood, San Telmo. Doppelganger (locally called Doppel) specializes in classic cocktails like negronis and pisco sours. Then check out Napoles Bar, once a massive storage unit for an antique collector. He decided to put his wares on display – from vintage cars and motorbikes to old barbershop chairs – and added a well-stocked bar for good measure.

Speakeasies

Buenos Aires has a thriving underground bar scene. Speakeasies with hidden doors are everywhere, such as Florería Atlántico in Recoleta, a chic cocktail bar masquerading as a flower shop.

In Palermo, the undisputed nightlife epicenter of the city, you’ll find the Harrison Speakeasy. It used to be a completely secretive, upscale affair that’s now widely known to be concealed beneath Nicky NY Sushi. (Ask to “see the wine cellar.”) Getting past the doorman can be a challenge at this members-only joint, but it’s well worth the incredible cocktails and glamorous atmosphere if you manage to get in.

Try the Verne Club for its author-inspired menu and absinthe tasting, before vying for your place in line at the city’s newest hot spot, Uptown. The wait can be frustrating, but once inside you’ll enjoy a full-on homage to the New York subway, complete with trains, turnstiles and urban graffiti.

Located on a quiet, tree-lined street in Villa Crespo, 878 may seem out of the way, but it’s easily the most welcoming and laid-back underground bar in the city.

Clubs

Rosebar, a warehouse-style place in Palermo, is the go-to, pre-club spot, conveniently around the corner from Niceto Vega, Buenos Aires’ street of nightclubs. Head to legacy favorite Club 69 at the Niceto Club to see and be seen, or if the music is all that matters, hit up the Under Club, a hangout for clubbers who take their house and techno seriously.

Try Makena Cantina Club for your live music fix, then head bayside to Terazas del Este, a waterfront bar that becomes Bayside Nightclub on Saturday.

Gay Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is one of the most gay-friendly cities in Latin America, which is well-reflected in the nightlife scene. The early-birds watering hole is Pride Café in San Telmo, but the real party happens late night – Glam in Recoleta is a boys’ favorite for electronic and Latin pop, or catch a drag show at Sitges in Palermo.

Milongas

An Argentina night without tango would be a sin, so be sure to check out a milonga (tango house), designed for dancing the night away.

Maldita is a classic,  and its live orchestra El Atronfe draws a crowd – Tuesdays are “Tango Queer.” For newbies, your best bet is La Cathedral, well known for its relaxed and informal vibe. If you’re not a night owl, hit up El Beso’s matinée milonga near the Callao metro stop, where dancing starts at 3pm, Monday to Saturday. Go on Tuesday nights for an all-night event. Finally, end the night at La Virtua, the after-hours milonga that even serves patrons breakfast after 4am to keep them dancing.

Want to know more about Argentina? Listen to the World Nomads podcast. How drinking mate defines Argentinians, how to kiss properly when you greet someone, and meet Popi, the scientist who's saving penguins.

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