There’s certainly no shortage of world cities that know how to let their hair down after the sun goes down and enjoy the night away. Not always hard partying, of course – it can be animated chats in lively, sometimes historic cafés; hanging out in laid-back lounges; taking in an amazing show; and myriad other pursuits. And for all that, Argentina‘s capital is second to none in the variety of its options and the joy the porteños (locals) take in enjoying their nights and each other’s company.
Unique to Buenos Aires nightlife, of course, is the scene that swirls around its quintessential art form, the tango. This sensuous dance developed back in the 1880s in the rough, working-class precincts and has had its ups and downs in popularity in the many decades since. These days it’s enjoying new vitality and new generations are flocking to both traditional and contemporary forms. Some shows are geared to tourists, of course, and there are several quite good-quality ones, including El Viejo Almacen and Café Tortoni. But there are also hundreds of authentic milongas where locals gather to hoof the night away (and many of them offer lessons at all levels), such as La Catedral, Maldita, and La Virtua.
Theatre aficionados will find here one of the world’s more diverse stage offerings, with one of its main thoroughfares also its answer to Broadway and the West End, Avenida Corrientes, packed with venues not only presenting tango shows but musical comedies, revues, and local and international works of all genres. And then, of course, there’s the splendid grande dame Teatro Colón, 99 years old and built in the old Baroque/neoclassical style. Devoted to classical genres – symphony, opera, ballet – it’s considered to have among the best acoustics of any theatre on the planet.
For those seeking alternative, more avant-garde theatre, head to the Abastos neighbourhood (another hotbed of tango, by the way), as well as Palermo and quaint San Telmo. You’ll find a wide menu of offerings, often masterminded by the city’s young up-and-comers and staged in a variety of converted spaces.
Beyond all that, especially on weekends, the night is long in B.A., and after the theatre, you can hang out in the cafés or bars for a spell until you hit one (or more!) of the many hot dance clubs, where at midnight the joda (party) is just gettting started.
There are a several main nightlife zones, each with a different feel. The huge Palermo and Palermo Hollywood districts offer loads of varied options, from laid-back bars and lounges to more boisterous pubs and dance clubs like Rosebar, INK Buenos Aires, and JET BA. In Palermo’s Las Cañitas sub-neighbourhood, especially the four-block stretch of Calle Báez which is its nightlife hub, is home to a batch of exclusive, upmarket restaurants and nightspots such as Kandi and Van Koning.
We’ve all hear New York is the city that never sleeps, but honestly, it has nothing on Buenos Aires. Passionate, intense, and up. All. Night.