I have to emphasize that restaurant and cafe culture in Argentina is sophisticated. Here you will find with your coffee:
- An excellently brewed cup of coffee, espresso, latte, or as many like it here a “cortado” (possibly “mita y mita”, meaning that half of it is milk) or whatever type of coffee you like
- A small glass of water to clear your throat
- A few bits of cake, cookies or other sweet
- All the necessary additions such as sugar, milk, etc
- A napkin
How’s that for service !
Watch your step when you’re walking around looking for these places because drivers are non-courteous (will turn left or right without looking out for pedestrians, do not adhere to lanes, anticipate red-turning-green stoplights) ! Also, on the sidewalks, there’s heaps of dog shit .. many dogs are walked by professional dog-walkers that don’t give a shit where their employer’s dogs leave their shit, even if it’s on the walkway where they will walk the same dog the next day ! Weird … It’s also weird that very few people ride bikes here. This city is great for bicycling anywhere ! Final funny thing: there are baskets on poles along each road to hold garbage. I guess it’s to avoid animals making a mess of the garbage.
As for some nightlife action, I only checked for places that play salsa (of course), of which Cuban salsa is well-represented fortunately:
- El Tocororo in Puerto Madero: good food, great atmosphere. In November 2005 they had a good Cuban band and great animation but this was no longer the case when I returned in February 2006 (I didn’t go again but they told me there was no live music nor dancing anymore).
- Azucar in Belgrano: low attendance both times when I went there in November 2005 and February 2006, mediocre animation, sometimes good Cuban music.
- Azucar in Abasto: never went there !
- La Salsera: I went there once in February 2006, but found it hard to dance. The floor is that kind of sticky marble-ish stone. The space doesn’t have a whole lot of ambiance, but they play some decent music. So I still had some good fun.
- Club Ciudad started with a great Cuban party the winter season on 18 March 2006. I had a true blast. The Cuban organizers (one of them is called Gregorio, a long-time icon of the Buenos Aires salsa scene and a really great dancer), throw this party on saturday once every month and then for the rest of the weeks have a smaller version on the fridays. See also CubaEnSuSalsa.
- Cuba Mia: coming to life sometime April 2006, this restaurant/club is renovated from the original Ron y Son, which is run by Ibrahim Ferrer Jr., who performs and sings just like his late famous father Ibrahim Ferrer.
- Oye Chico: never made it there, but it seems to be some Cuban hangout.
- For more info on salsa in BsAs, check eg. BsAsalsa and AmericaSalsa.
For other kinds of nightlife for a non-juvenile crowd, see Club22. Never checked it out so can’t advise. There’s also OperaBay. Come early (like 8 pm), go wild and hit on every girl around you because that’s what they’re there for. Better not to bring a girl because you will end up being the bodyguard !
For some jazz and other musics:
- Notorious: nice setup although the stage has a very low ceiling, good acoustics, and you can buy some CD’s while you’re at it. Don’t go for the food, there are better places.
- ND/Ateneo: never went there but they did host an “International Jazz Festival” in March 2006.
- Club del Vino: really great place to listen to live music. With great ambiance.