Aires: Party Like a Rock Star Porteño
by Harmony Hansen
(Harmony is a professional writer working out of Buenos Aires and
You will not
catch the Porteños
(Argentines living in Buenos Aires) walking
down the streets of Buenos Aires speaking Spanish, they speak
Castellano, which is like Spanish with a dash of Italian thrown in
to make it extra seductive.
This country is so
hot that they need another language with which to express themselves,
and you will find no hotter city in Argentina than Buenos Aires (BsAs
to those that call it home).
Nothing that I was
told about Buenos Aires could have prepared me, a first time visitor
to the city, for the combination of sophistication, culture and
outright madness that surges through the people, streets, restaurants
and discos (boliches) in Buenos Aires. There are countless activities
to fill your time with during the day and during the night in this
Euro-Latin city. I soon learned that while the day offers countless
opportunities to explore and revel in the city’s cultural richness;
that the night offers a seductive backdrop for a culture that is
devoted to socializing, looking beautiful, and partying like rock
By day I walked
through the historic streets of La Boca, one of the oldest and most
colorful neighborhoods in the city. Boca is located right on the
river and is famous for its history as an artist enclave. There are a
bevy of artists that live here in pink, blue, and green painted
buildings. They sell their art on the streets amid amazing Argentine
restaurants and Tango shows. In an unusually odd combination of art
and sports, Boca offers the absolute best of both worlds, for it also
is home to one of Argentina’s most famous soccer teams. I discovered
this stadium when one my Argentine friends, proceeded to drag me on a
tour of the soccer stadium that houses The Boca Juniors (Address:
Brandsen 805, Buenos Aires).
This team is one of the most popular soccer teams amongst Argentina’s
maniacal soccer fans. The experience taught me more about Argentine
culture in the three hours that I spent there then any other single
experience. Walking through the museum located there I found myself
surrounded by starry-eyed Argentines, and some foreigners, all
learning about this fascinating soccer team. While I took
approximately an hour going through the museum my friend took about
two hours, absorbing every detail of The Boca Juniors history.
After the museum we took a tour of the actual stadium itself and this
was downright magical, you can positively feel the religious like
quality that soccer has in Argentina.
The only barrio that
can follow in La Boca’s fiery footsteps is San Telmo, the historical
heart of the city. Where a person can wander around and by
accident catch a Tango show, buy an exquisite antique lace
handkerchief, and enjoy a leisurely lunch on the cobblestone square of Plaza Dorrego.
I fell in love with San Telmo the moment that I stepped foot in this
romantic barrio. There are amazing antique stores, artists selling
their wares on the streets, and amazing restaurants to stop, sit and
watch it all take place. While wandering through the cobblestone
streets of San Telmo I discovered the amazing Bar Sur (Address:
Estados Unidos 299.
www.bar-sur.com.ar) where dancers have been performing for over one hundred years. I had
been strolling through Buenos Aires since ten in the morning and was
all too glad to rest my weary feet and take in a show.
While Buenos Aires
bathed in sunlight is an amazing experience, all visitors to this
city heed this warning: Save your energy for the night
experience. For this city’s other culture is invisible
until midnight. This is when the city’s many restaurants, bars,
and dance clubs light their candles, turn on their dim lights and
open their doors to allow in the beautiful devotees of the madness
that is Buenos Aires by night.
I began many of my
perfect nights in barrio Palermo or Recoleta with a plan to eat
dinner, at midnight for the socially conscious among you, ten for
those who cannot wait that long.
The dress code for the night is
“dress to impress,” that is if you want to blend in with the city’s
most fashionable citizens that you will find yourself partying,
dancing, and dining next to. Make a reservation to dine at the
fashionable and exquisite sushi restaurant Dashi or the contemporary
restaurant/trendsetter Mecca Bar Uriarte
1572, Buenos Aires, Argentina Phone: 11/4834-6004)
Dining in Buenos Aires restaurants is a social experience unlike many
others. While the food being served here can be exquisite, it is
merely a footnote to the experience of sitting in an impeccably
decorated space filled with hypnotic music and electric people.
Order drinks and appetizers in addition to your main dish, for no one
will be rushing your dinner to the table; this is simply not the
Argentine way. Restaurants here aim to provide a beautiful
backdrop to your intimate dining experience. You are paying not
only for food but also for the time you spend at the table conversing
and meditating on the vibe surrounding you. Do not be surprised
to see beautiful young women clad in red leather walking around from
table to table promoting the hot upcoming party or music festival.
This sort of activity is just one example of the “anything goes” theme
that dominates the nightlife scene here.
Upon finishing up
dinner, I head to a bar to have a few drinks and slip into the techno
zone, for no dance club worth going to really gets started in Buenos
Aires until 3:00 AM. El Unico
Palermo, Buenos Aires) is a good place to head after dinner for great mixed drinks and
amazing people watching opportunities, the same can be said for
Shamrock (Rodriguez. Peña 1220,
Recoleta, Buenos Aires) .
You may be surprised at the suds you see being ordered, for Heineken
beer and Iguana beer are big favorites with many Argentines, hey no
culture is perfect. And when it comes to the harder stuff you will
find no more popular drink than Fernet Branca and Coca Cola. This
strong and heady drink may go down a big rough at first but its
ability to be drunk in large quantities without that nasty little
hangover the next morning makes it the perfect drink for the active
Argentine or visitor that wants to stay out until 8am and still
function the next day.
The main event is
upon us: dancing until dawn at one of Buenos Aires amazing discos.
The first time that I step foot in a disco in Buenos Aires I felt as
if I had entered a world that I had only seen in the movies or on TV.
Beautiful music pulsing, beautiful people circulating, and a lighting
job that makes it all insanely seductive. It is not difficult to find
a disco here with amazing music, people, and atmosphere. They are
more than plentiful. Pacha (Costanera/Palermo,
V. COSTANERA NORTE Y PAMPA)
and Mint (
R. OBLIGADO Y SARMIENTO, Punta Currasco) are located along the river and offer mind-blowing venues for dancing
until the sun comes up. A unique and all too Buenos Aires nightclub
experience can be had every Thursday night at Niceto
(Niceto Vega 5508
This Palermo hot spot offers visually spectacular X-rated stage
performances with an orgy like throng of revelers dancing in the
shadow of the stage. Portenos have a stamina for dancing unlike any
other I have seen, they make New Yorkers look like adolescents, and
just when you think that everyone will collapse the DJ will put on an
amazing new tune that sends a wave of motion through the crowd.
Many people that I
met in Buenos Aires, both foreigners and natives alike, wonder just
what it is that makes this city both so seductive and insane.
There are many theories, and one fact: everyone who leaves Buenos
Aires seems to come back for just one more fix/visit, and gather more