Buenos Aires

Preparing for a night out in Buenos Aires has an element of marathon training to it. Rest up with a siesta, fortify yourself with some protein, and drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after. That’s right, the key to porteño nightlife is longevity—after all, an early night means hailing a cab at 6 am.

The scene here rivals that of any capital city, so you’ll find something to suit every taste. Trendy cocktail bars, secret speakeasies, classic tango haunts, artsy watering holes, and packed dance floors await. To make the most of them, try following the locals’ lead.

Painting Buenos Aires red means looking sharp, going with the flow as you bar-hop, and not challenging your new B.A. buddies to raucous drinking games. Porteños adore going out with their friends, but it’s not uncommon to see a large group sharing a liter bottle of beer and swigging from the same glass. Latino lightweights? Not at all. This is just how Argentines roll—and once a night gets really rocking, they'll move onto their favorite tipple, Fernet y Cola.

Hours are relaxed, but there are general guidelines. The smartest bars kick off an evening with happy hours that begin around 8 pm and often stretch way beyond 60 minutes; downtown drinking establishments start even earlier to lure workers to part with hard-earned pesos, spawning the "after-office" across the city, which is now a nightlife fixture almost any day of the week. Theater performances begin around 9 pm and the last movie begins after midnight. By that point, lines to get into popular bars have started forming, but clubs aren’t buzzing until 4 am. If in doubt, turn up later than you consider reasonable when you’re meeting a local (30 minutes after the appointed time is the norm). The subte (subway) closes between 10 and 11 pm, depending on the line and day. Monday through Saturday it reopens at 5 am; on Sunday, however, trains don’t start running again until 8 am. So taking a cab to and from home is a good idea—it’s also quicker than waiting for a colectivo bus very late at night.

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  • 1. Bebop

    Montserrat | Live Music

    Lurking beneath Aldo's Vinoteca Restorán, this new musical hot spot is led by sommelier and owner Aldo Graziani. A huge jazz fan, he makes sure...Read More

  • 2. Buenos Ayres Club

    San Telmo | Dance Clubs

    Rousing live orchestras keep even nondancers entertained at the nontraditional milongas that are this club's hallmark. La Orquesta Típica...Read More

  • 3. Ciudad Cultural Konex

    Abasto | Live Music

    A mixed bag of live music, film screenings, wild parties, and interactive theater make for an interesting line-up at this huge converted factory...Read More

  • 4. Clásica y Moderna

    Recoleta | Live Music

    An older, artsy crowd gathers here for live jazz complemented by dinner, drinks, and a dash of philosophy. Musicians make good use of the vintage...Read More

  • 5. Gran Café Tortoni

    Plaza de Mayo | Live Music

    Excellent local musicians put on daily performances of tango classics in the downstairs salon of this legendary café, but note that ticket prices...Read More

  • 6. Gran Rex

    Centro | Live Music

    Exquisite art deco theaters line Avenida Corrientes, but the rationalist-style Gran Rex—constructed by architect Alberto Prebisch, of the Obelisk...Read More

  • 7. Groove

    Palermo | Live Music

    This nightclub, which doubles as a live music venue, may be oddly shaped for spot-on acoustics; however, it attracts plenty of underground and...Read More

  • 8. La Peña del Colorado

    Palermo | Live Music

    There's nothing pretentious about this place: laid-back groups gather to enjoy traditional Argentine folk music and hand-held foods like empanadas...Read More

  • 9. La Trastienda

    San Telmo | Live Music

    A San Telmo institution, this cabaret-style club is one of Buenos Aires’ most popular venues, so grab a table and enjoy an intimate performance...Read More

  • 10. Los Cardones

    Palermo Soho | Live Music

    Named after the tall cactus plants that typify northwest Argentina, Los Cardones is the place to go for a beer around a big table with strangers...Read More

  • 11. Luna Park

    Centro | Live Music

    This indoor stadium at the very top of Corrientes Avenue has been hosting boxing events, ice-skating spectaculars, political rallies, plus rock...Read More

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  • 12. ND/Ateneo

    Centro | Live Music

    This spacious theater and cultural space mainly showcases midlevel local bands, showmen, and comedians, with a few big Argentine names thrown...Read More

  • 13. No Avestruz

    Palermo Hollywood | Live Music

    A barely marked door and a narrow passageway open into a world far removed from the flashy bars and restaurants surrounding this music venue...Read More

  • 14. Notorious

    Recoleta | Live Music

    A jazz bar, restaurant, and record shop rolled into one, Notorious often hosts some of the area's best musicians. Certain nights have a fixed...Read More

  • 15. Thelonious Club

    Palermo | Live Music

    The best porteño jazz bands (and occasional foreign imports) play at this intimate, upscale spot. Arrive early for a good seat, as it's a long...Read More

  • 16. Ultra

    Centro | Live Music

    The owners of this dynamic space for art and live music have run an independent record label for more than a decade. On weekends they throw...Read More

  • 17. Virasoro Bar

    Palermo | Live Music

    This is an intimate art deco venue for local jazz maestros and appreciative audiences. It's a great space and you can get up close and personal...Read More

  • 18. La Paila

    Palermo Soho | Live Music

    A little piece of Catamarca transplanted to the middle of Palermo, this place has live folk music most nights from around 10:30. To get in the...Read More

  • 19. Plasma

    Barracas | Live Music

    A few blocks from San Telmo and opposite the large headquarters of Clarín newspaper, Plasma is a little cradle for alternative and talented...Read More

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