|After a disastrous fire in a disco, which claimed more than
190 lives, dance clubs in Buenos Aires were shut down for several months.
There was a three-day national mourning from December 31, 2004
to January 2, 2005. Then, dance clubs were ordered to remain closed
until January 18, to review and improve security measures. This was
followed by more than another month of delay tactics applied by the
powers that be.
The situation has largely normalized since, but several landmarks of the time before have closed for good, while others have jumped in to fill the breach. As a further consequence, clubs tend to be relatively strict about closing hours, and may admit less people than they actually have space for.
The list of dance clubs authorized to open can be found here. Note the some clubs have not opened again, despite being authorized to do so for a while.
Buenos Aires hardly ever sleeps. While some pubs open as early as 6pm, serious clubbing doesn't start before 2am, and frequently goes on until 6, 7am, or later. On Sundays, you can also find some after hours.
This page starts with an overview of the most popular entertainment areas in central Buenos Aires, and then I'll describe what I found worthwhile doing on what day of the week. Be warned that this is mainly about electronic music, which is on the rise in Argentina just now. For Salsa, Rock, or even Tango, you ought to look elsewhere. (Somebody please send me links !).
Alas, the economic crisis has taken its toll also on the night life: on "slow" nights, like Mondays, Wednesdays, and - surprisingly - also Sundays, it can now be a challenge to find bars with a good crowd, let alone dance clubs. To overcompensate for this, popular places get awfully crowded (in the "you have to push people around before you can tilt your glass to have a sip, and cautiously waggling your toes is all the dancing you'll do" kind of sense) on Friday, Saturday, and increasingly also Thursday nights. One year after the devaluation, new places are starting to pop up, and old places are re-inventing themselves, so there is hope to see the Buenos Aires night life restored to its previous glamour soon.
Namen sind Schall und Rauch, so many places feature a different name and sometimes also a different style every night. Fancy ones have several names in parallel. So better remember locations, for taxi drivers usually don't keep up with the latest Great Renaming.
For up to the minute information on the electronic scene, check out buenosaliens, inSEXted, and Clubber.com.ar.
Arcos del ferrocarril (from Libertador y Infanta Isabel to Av. Sarmiento y Casares) is one of the hot spots of Buenos Aires. About a dozen bars and clubs are tucked underneath a long railway embankment. The main evenings are Thursdays to Saturdays, but occasionally, there's also something going on on Wednesdays or Sundays.
Costanera Norte (Av. Costanera Rafael Obligado, from J. Salguero to Pampa) is another stretch with lots of restaurants, bars, and dance clubs, some of the restaurants turning into discos at 2 o'clock.
Palermo Vijeo (around Plaza J. Cortazar) is a more recently developed entertainment area with a bit of a neighborhood ambiance. Again, lots of restaurants, bars/cafes, and a few dance clubs. There are also some very interesting clubs and bars scattered over the area called "Palermo Hollywood", west of Plaza Cortazar, reaching into Colegiales and Belgrano.
Another possibility may be the french-themed La Cigale bar (25 de Mayo y Viamonte), but better check. Features pretty good trip hop. (See also the Tuesday and Saturday entries.)
Last but not least, the Jobs (see below) is also open on Mondays, although a far cry from the beehive it turns into on Tuesdays.
La Cigale (25 de Mayo y Viamonte) is hugely popular
on Tuesday nights. Features one of the largest
bars in town and good cocktails. Unfortunately, it's a sad victim
of its own success, and nowadays you may find yourself treated to an
hour-long wait outside in a disorderly and increasingly aggressive
crowd, while it's actually quite boring inside.
Last visit: 7-MAR-2006 (Tel. 4312-8275, early 2005)
+160's (at Bahrain, Lavalle y 25 de Mayo)
trademark is accelerated drum and bass. For those not into speeds in excess
of 160 beats per minute, the DJs put on more soothing sounds for the first
The place is popular, but mercifully much more accessible than "La Cigale".
Note: this used to be at the El Dorado, at Hipolito Yrigoyen y
Bernardo de Irigoyen, but had to move after the city government
implemented their security theatre in 2005.
Last visit: 25-APR-2006
Full Bar) on
Rivadavia 878 (near Suipacha) is not as polished as the other choices,
has pretty good music, and the darkest
dance floor I've ever seen, but it's not very known yet, so
there are hardly any people.
Last visit: 6-AUG-2003
Asia de Cuba in Puerto Madero, near the Hilton, only hosts private parties on Wednesdays, despite persistent rumors to the contrary.
Club Caix in the Costa Salguero complex is the star that
lights the porteño Wednesday nights. It's a classy club
(sunken dancefloor, lush couches, a bed, toilet attendant - you
name it, it's there) that starts late, with excellent music, and
just the right amount of people. Just beware that, at times,
it may be hopelessly overloaded with men.
Update: haven't heard much about it recently. If someone knows if it's still open on Wednesday nights, please let me know.
Last visit: 27-AUG-2003
Prestigious Mint (Punta Carrasco, see also the Friday entry, below)
opens early on Wednesday nights for its "after office" evenings.
Unfortunately, people seem to bring not only their business
suits, but also most of the frustrations from their work day,
which makes for a fairly unpleasant atmosphere.
Last visit: 27-AUG-2003
Club 69 (also known as
Niceto Vega y Humboldt)
is one of the hottest spots in town. They have two stage shows in the
main room, one hip hop themed, and the other inspired by traditional
cabaret. The former chill out room, with its pleasantly accessible bar
also features hip hop these days.
It may get fairly crowded, have long
lines, and, worst of all, it now closes meticulously at 6 (in exchange
for that, they now open before 2, supposedly as early as midnight). It
has also earned perhaps too much fame among tourists, who make up
most of the crowd. Nevertheless, on a good night, it's still an
excellent choice. Saturdays sometimes feature magic, which is more
oriented towards hardcore electronica, with the exception of the last
Saturday in each month, when they also have a "Club 69".
Last visit: 27-MAY-2006 (Tel. 4779-9396, 26-MAR-2005)
Early birds may also like the
Carnal Bar just across
the street from Club 69. Nice interior design, laid back
and frequently jazzy music, and you can also have dinner there. On a
dry night (for visitors from places with more patronizing cultures:
I mean the weather ...), their upstairs area may also be of interest.
Last visit: 18-MAR-2006
Three blocks from the Club 69, at Humboldt and Honduras, little known
MaXXXimo bar sometimes has some of the greatest electronic music
you can hear in a bar in town, yet unexplicable, recently they treat
their clientele more often to mainstream pop.
Last visit: 18-MAR-2006
The Shamrock Basement (in the Shamrock pub, Rodriguez
Peña and Arenales) has a good line-up of DJs,
and usually quite decent music. Unfortunately, it's mainly visited
by with people who prefer pissing the night away over dancing.
dance floor is more like a parking lot. For those looking for
the garderobe: it's on the right side of the bar.
(It was closed for quite a while, but has opened again around
Last visit: 8-OCT-2005
Jah Bar (Cabrera, between Godoy Cruz and the railroad
tracks) isn't the most spacious place, but compensates for this
with a massive lineup of DJs. Since the place is relatively new,
it hasn't been discovered by the masses yet.
Opens Thursday to Saturday.
Last visit: 10-MAR-2005
Arkos (Av. Sarmiento y Casares) was formerly called
The Place and El Manolo and used to be a pretty
wild place, with mainly latin-themed music (Salsa and the like),
but it seems the word has gotten around, and it then was
always far too crowded - and not necessarily with the nicest people
in town (it even made it to the news when a guy was thrown out and
beaten to a bloody pulp).
Apparently, this lowered its popularity somewhat, and when going
there after many years on the night of May 1st 2006, it was only half
Last visit: 30-APR-2006
Pacha/Clubland (Costanera y Pampa)
starts slowly with a bit of dance and techno for a quite young (and
sometimes quite drunk) crowd on
Fridays, ... and turns into exquisite techno hell on Saturdays.
Awesome, but can get hideously crowded on Saturdays, and
queues build up quickly after 2 am.
Once the place for techno in town, it now mainly attracts a
chic crowd from the northern suburbs who appreciate easy access by
Last visit: 13-AUG-2005
(Marcelo T. de Alvear y Parana)
starts as a restaurant and turns disco-bar later at night.
People are mainly in their late twenties and beyond.
The music style ranges from alternative to disco, dance, and
house. Friday and Saturday, and also opens Thursdays. A recent
addition are evil psychodelic strobe lights.
Last visit: 7-FEB-2004
Animal (Av. Sarmiento y Casares) used to be called
Animal Instinct and, briefly,
Fabriclub and bwat.
Many names, same concept: dance music in an
upscale club environment. Mercifully, they seem to have changed
the light show that used to include eye-piercing photon torpedoes.
The place heats up slowly after around
2:30 am, and may in fact only open at that time.
Typical age is in the 25-30 years range.
Last visit: 13-AUG-2005
New York City aka LaCity aka Apollo beat
(Alvarez Thomas y Forest), a bit off
the beaten track in Belgrano, this hidden jewel
is a huge disco where a stylish young
crowd gets down to dance tracks. The interior design is fantastic.
You'll particularly love it if you liked the movie "Planet of the
Apes". Fridays feature very interesting electronic music (once they
even played a rare "Eisbär" techno mix), but start late - even at
3 a.m., the place is only half full, and any self-respecting clubbers
don't make their appearance before 4 or 5.
Update: the NYC is a bit the flying dutchman of the Buenos Aires nightlife: everybody has heard of it, but it doesn't quite exist in our reality. So if planning to go there, include a backup choice in your plans, in case you find it closed/abandoned.
Update: seems to open now regularly on Saturdays.
Last visit: 14-MAR-2003
Mint is carefully hidden away at the far end of Punta Carrasco.
The people there are typically in their late twenties or early
thirties. Slightly upscale, at least as far as prices are concerned,
and not too crowded before 3 o'clock.
The male vs. female ratio rapidly shifts towards the former as the
night wears on.
Last visit: 17-JUN-2005
Elegant Kika (Honduras y Godoy Cruz) club/lounge has one
tiny dance floor for mainstream dance and a larger one for
electronic music (mainly house). The bar in the middle of the
electronica room is a nice touch. Also attracts a fairly large
Last visit: 15-OCT-2004 (Note: seems to be closed for good. I'm keeping the entry for a while, since people may occasionally still talk about it.)
Rumi (Av. Figueroa Alcorta y La Pampa) caters to the
glamorous, which may explain some oddities in the way lines
in front of the entrance are handled.
It opens Wednesday to Saturday.
The music varies through the
evening, so if in search of electronica, you may have to wait a drink
or two's time for the hip hop to pass.
Wednesdays, it hosts the Batonga!, which has relocated from
Last visit: 8-JUN-2005 (Tel. 4782-1398, 7-MAY-2005)
Le Click (Av. Rivadavia y Riobamba) opened in March 2006
and seems to be Kika reborn. This bright new star in the Buenos
Aires night sky
has two dance floors, one with pop music, which has yet to
be discovered by the masses, and the main dance floor with
electronic music, featuring about every second week the divine
Romina Cohn. Be warned that the building shields cellular phones
Last visit: 28-APR-2006
On Saturday nights, La Cigale (25 de Mayo y Viamonte) tries
to attract the pre-dance clientèle, although it doesn't
really get going until about half past one, so your choice is
either to linger, or to get to the disco before everybody else
starts lining up.
Last visit: 23-AUG-2003
Elegant Opera Bay (Puerto Madero, Cecilia Grierson; formerly known
as El Divino) has recently re-opened, with fairly boring disco
on the main floor, but good electronic music in a separate small club
area. On the opening day, the organization was the worst mess I've seen
in my whole life, and many of the people were quite on the stuffy side.
Nevertheless, quite late in the evening, the club part got really good.
First visit: 6-SEP-2003 (will check out again in a while)
Unremarkable Club Araoz (Araoz y Guemes) used to be a "latin
music" place, but recently, it switched to electronic music. They
rotate DJs a lot, so they still seem to be trying to define their
style. The place is spacious and has plenty of bars, but I found it
a little boring, and also a bit rough.
Last visit: 29-APR-2005
Museum (Perú between Mexico and Venezuela) is another
"neighbourhood" kind of discotheque, and has a main
dancefloor with ... well, let's call it popular music (latin rock,
pop, and later a bit of mainstream electronic), and a small upstairs
dance floor with electronic music. Beware the evil stroboscope, which
even burns through regular sunglasses.
First visit: 6-MAY-2005
Bahrain (Lavalle y 25 de Mayo) is also an interesting choice
on Saturdays (see the +160 entry for Tuesdays), with quite popular
mainstream music upstairs, and various styles of usually rather good
electronic music downstairs.
Be warned that Saturdays, they implement a rather peculiar admission scheme: either, you register ahead of time by adding your name to an online ``invited'' list (e.g., at buenosaliens), or lie convincingly about having done so, and are then treated to an endless queue, but admitted under otherwise reasonable conditions, or enter without all the list bureaucracy, get a much shorter queue, but then have to pay ARS 70 admission for every 1-3 people in your group, which includes a bottle of champagne which you can then try to trade at the bars for something more useful.
Apparently, the people who implemented this bizarre procedure felt they owe their club's name at least some oriental reference, and thus have adopted the standards of transparent commerce you'd expect on a bazaar.
Last visit: 10-JUN-2006
Somewhat surprisingly, there is a pub with pretty good relaxed music
(sometimes trip hop and electronic jazz, sometimes more mainstream)
right in the midst of the Recoleta tourist
trap (and priced accordingly - of course, "expensive" in Argentina still
means "dirt cheap" by the standards of almost any other place), on
Vincente Lopez between Uriburu and
Azcuenaga, a bit west of La Pagana.
Last visit: 21-SEP-2003
On Sundays, buenosaliens has a good listing of current events that start a bit earlier in the evening.