Best Places For Tango in Buenos Aires
DanceOne of the most memorable ways to experience the best of this broody, melancholic, impassioned art form is through dancing it yourself. For a novice-friendly floor, try La Ideal or La Viruta. El Nacional and Niño Bien at El Centro Region Leonesa are popular with locals. The hippest tangueros flock to La Catedral and Parakultural at Salón Canning. For breaking the "he leads, she follows" rule, head to La Marshall.
WatchIf you’d prefer a more passive appreciation of this fanciest of footwork, fear not: there are options that won’t require significant coordination. For many, the tango experience begins and ends with cena-shows. These include drinks and a three-course dinner, and are entirely aimed at tourists (the only locals are businesspeople entertaining clients). Some are flashy affairs known as tango de fantasía in expensive, purpose-built clubs—expect sequined costumes, gelled hairdos, and high-kicking moves. Others are relatively lower-key in older venues that once catered to porteños before tango tourism took off. Best Atmospheric Surroundings Bar Sur for the worn checkered floor and Old World bar. Mansión Dandi Royal for the art nouveau architecture. Best for Blowing the Bank Rojo Tango for the gorgeous surroundings—and tangoers. Madero Tango for varied, professional performances and first-rate food. Least Tacky Querandí for classic café surroundings and polished shows. El Viejo Almacén for pedigree (founded by tango legend Edmundo Rivero) and high energy. Shamelessly Over-the-top Señor Tango for fishnetted glitz and over-the-top embracing of stereotypes.
ListenThe average porteño is much more likely to go see tango musicians than tango dancers. Offerings range from orchestras churning out tunes as was done in Carlos Gardel’s day to sexy, bluesy vocals from divas like Adriana Varela; from pared down revisitings of the tango underworld by groups like 34 Puñaladas to anarchic young collectives like La Orquesta Típica Fernández Fierro. For tango that packs a punch, look out for electronic tango fusion from groups like Gotan Project and Bajofondo Tango Club. Most Laid Back Centro Cultural Torquato Tasso for a hip, clubby vibe. Bar de Roberto for gin-guzzling old-timers and impromptu performances. Club Atletico Fernandex Fierro for the roosty eponymous orchestra that runs it. Most Traditional Gran Café Tortoni for the historic setting and consistently excellent performances. Confiteria Ideal for the old-school orchestra and gorgeous surroundings. Most Modern La Trastienda for performances by stellar soloists and the occasional electrotango show. More Tango Spots in Buenos Aires. Photo credit: Chase Binder, Fodors.com member
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Be sure to watch out for the pickpockets, muggers and "stinky-substance" scammers. They're everywhere in BA. I learned the hard way.