For reals, Buenos Aires is probably the most attractive city in the world. Epic, wide streets with cafes sneaking up all the sidewalks that are open till 5am, Jacarandas shaking off their flowers all over the place, huge old deco buildings with balconies on most windows and litre beers for $2 AUD. And we all know if there’s anything us kids like more than Tacos and boxsets, it’s cheap drinks and architecture.
For this, the latest installment in The Smirnoff Start Pure City Guide series, we find ourselves in Buenos Aires sipping a Dama Blanca (Buenos Aires inspired White Lady). So, if you find yourself thinking about
drinking traveling the South Americas, here are a few places to get your hip fix (on an arts industry budget) in BA:
Palermo Soho (part of the Suburb Palermo)
Address: rua Honduras, Buenos Aires
This sub suburb of the North-Eastern hood of Palermo looks like someone ironed out Surry Hills into a much more walkable suburb of café-bookshops, design markets and bars. Stay at Palermo House (ask for the attic room if you like things like a full-length, street facing window in your shower, having a trapdoor and being awesome) and eat all the meats at the many Parilla joints.
Kim Y Novak
Address: Güemes y Godoy Cruz
4900, Palermo, Buenos Aires
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 9:30pm-late
A good place to do this is at Kim Y Novak, as it’s full of quirk and makes for a great counter-cheto night. Located in what used to be the red-light district of Buenos Aires, it cultivates the regular hipster sleeze bar with junk on the walls, late night dance floor and lots of people with hipflasks. It’s apparently especially good if you’re a gay dude or lady.
Address: Defensa 855, San Telmo, Buenos Aires
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 12noon-4pm and 7:30pm-1am, Sunday 12noon-1am
An a asado (or Parrilla) is basically a BBQ where they cook every kind of every type of meat over the course of several hours and everyone eats so much that you can feel your arteries turn to blutac. It’s painfully delicious. They like to wash it down with vodka or the Argie drink Fernet which, if you haven’t gotten used to it, tastes so much like petrol that I actually drank a mouth full of petrol and didn’t notice till I smelt it on my breath (fun travel story!). This place does a great asado, it’s full of locals which hipsters LOVE and they also dish out those huge, delicious Argentine steaks. Ordering salad here is like ordering Four X beer in Victoria.
Ciudad Cutural Konex
Address: ?Sarmiento 3131? Abasto, Buenos Aires
Opening Hours: La Bomba is on Monday 8pm-10pm
If you’re like me and you break out in a rash of scornful hives at the mere words ‘Drum Circle’ you might be inclined to give this weekly party a miss but you would be a total loser if you did. Firstly, it’s only a drum semicircle, which plays to a couple of hundred people every Monday night and it’s super fun. Argentina seems to have a knack for this actually, taking things that would seem incredibly lame or a bit feral at home and then being all like “What, juggling / lady gaga flash mobs / Panama hats are cool, what are you even talking about?” Anyway, the drinks are big, the drums are loud and it’s packed wall to wall with babes.
The Casa Rosada (Plaza de Mayo – it’s giant and pink, you’ll find it.)
Address: Balcarce 50 1064 Buenos Aires
Or rather, out front of Casa Rosada. With parades, protests or parties occurring nearly every day this flamboyantly pink presidential palace right in the centre of Buenos Aires isn’t your average parliamentary building. And the parks in front are the best place to sit in the sun and watch the Argentineans walk by and make you feel bad about the way you dress forever.
The Roxy Disco (Arcos del Sol, Avenida Casares 4000)
Address: Federico Lacroze 3455, Colegiales, Buenos Aires
Opening Hours: Saturday and Sunday 1:30am-early
If Keith Richards was a bar he’d be The Roxy. It’s a dirty old rock bar, which like most things in BA, is a lot like a few places here in Aus but bigger and older and louder. They play everything from Cut Copy to AC/DC and to give you an idea of how cool it is, this place doesn’t even open ‘till 1:30am and only on Friday and Saturday nights.
Address: Avenida de Mayo 1111 C1085ABB Buenos Aires
Let me make this clear, the rooms are by and large pretty average and the cost is slightly higher than most backpacker’s (less than a hotel, though) but the cache of staying in a building older than Canberra that looks like it’s straight out of a film noir classic, that at one time or another housed Errol Flynn, Mark Twain and a bunch of beat writers, is too great for most millenials. There is an almost panoramic view in the pool room / bar of Avenida 9 de Julio- the pretty, six lane traffic artery that moves most of BA everyday and there is a taxi driver who delivers COLA (wink wink, sniff sniff) to the hotel most nights.
San Telmo (Markets and suburb)
Address: Defensa 961 or Bolívar 998, Buenos Aires
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 10am-8pm
This inner city suburb is just so pretty, youse. It’s exactly what you would assume all South American towns to look like if you did absolutely no research and collected all your visual information from episodes of Zorro, like I did. The whole place is chubby with antique stores and meat heavy restaurants. Every Sunday they have a street market that runs for a couple of K’s and while it’s mostly just the usual junk and tatt you find in any market around the world – complete with Native American pan pipe players fluting out “Sounds of Silence” over and over – it’s much better looking than most.
Reserva Ecológica (On the Río de la Plata riverbank)
Address: Avenida Dr. Tristán Achaval Rodríguez 1550, Buenos Aires
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday April-October 8am-6pm November-March 8am-7pm
A big old ecological reserve right in the CBD? Sure, why not. It’s 865 acres of wild green stuff that you can hang out in and walk around without having to leave the city and there are actual hummingbirds in there (sidenote, do you know that Toucans eat Hummingbirds? That made me sad for like a whole half hour.) Great place for picnics and whatnot but it’s even nicer to just walk on the boardwalk that surrounds most of the park – especially if you don’t like being too far away from an empanada stall at any given moment. Just for the love of god, wear insect repellent – the mosquitoes are big and mean, I think one stole my purse.
Address: Avenida Cnel. Niceto Vega 5510 Buenos Aires
Niceto is one of the old monoliths of the Buenos Aires clubbing scene, and its enduring success is a testament to how consistently good it is. By far the best-known night of the week at Niceto Club is Thursday, when the baroque Club 69 takes place, but Friday night isn’t too shabs either. Opening hours are from 12:30am on Thursday and Friday nights and from 1am on Saturday nights.
To give you an idea of the music scene, the latest local band to play at Niceto Club was El mató a un policía motorizado. De nada:
Words by Alice Williams @shutupalice