A night out in vibrant Buenos Aires first requires a reset to your internal clock: dinner is never earlier than 10 p.m., and it can last for hours. Showing up to clubs before 2 or 3am is severely detrimental to one’s credibility. Locals are also excellent at pacing their alcohol consumption throughout the night (and the following day), so in this case, it’s best to copy them in order not to be that gringo who can’t handle his or her alcohol or who starts yawning before the real party even gets started. Dress to impress – many clubs have dress codes, but really, it’s required just to feel good about yourself when dancing next to effortlessly chic Porteños.
The must-see clubs depend on what night it is, and Argentina’s capital is huge, so it’s also best to pick and stay in one neighborhood when going out. It’s also highly possible that friendly locals will extend an invite to an after party at their friend’s apartment as well. What follows are several suggestions, but the truth is that there are far more choices than could ever be wrangled into one article.
[Also see our travel article “Cities With The World’s Best Nightlife“]
10 p.m. to 2 a.m. – A filling start to the night
The only way to start the night is at a parrilla, or barbecue restaurant. If with a group, pull out all the stops with an asado, a mountain of sausage, chicken, goat, lamb, pork, steak and ribs. For those in pairs, order a bife de chorizo (sirloin) and bife de costilla (T-bone steak) with chimichurri sauce along with a roasted red bell pepper and a salad. The only way to make this meal truly sing is by complementing it with a bottle of local Malbec. If you like your steak rare, press the point, as it’s not typical.
After this two-hour binge, a nice walk is in order to digest and scope out some chill bars, which usually close around 2 a.m. The aptly named Le Bar downtown is ground zero for those about to pull an all-nighter, so ask around there for the best places that particular night.
Another option is getting to know the local wines. Each glass of wine at Gran Bar Danzón, also downtown, comes with written explanation of the flavors and properties. Ocho7Ocho is a well-known hidden bar – the only clue to this place on the street is a doorman. Top-notch whiskey, exposed brick walls and a chill atmosphere serve as a fitting backdrop when gearing up for or winding down after an epic night.
Down in the bar-packed Palermo district, it’s hard to make a wrong decision. Whiskey lovers will find solace at Bar Seis, while Espacio Dada hosts live shows several times a week. Acabar is chock-full of board games and kitschy, floral décor. Carnal is the best place to pre-game, since it’s located right across from Niceto Club, although it’s almost too easy to stay at Carnal all night if you’re lucky enough to get a table.
2 a.m. to 6 a.m. – Don’t stop until you get enough
The weekend starts on Tuesday in Buenos Aires, but even on Mondays, fun awaits. Club Severino has a different theme party each Monday, and DJs blast rock, pop and electronic loud enough to forget about the Monday blues.
Palermo is infallible when bar hopping like a local. Don’t miss Jet from Thursday to Saturday, which transforms from a lounge to a beat-heavy club as night turns into day. Jet is also a great place to see beautiful locals at their very best: a strict dress code is always enforced.
Previously mentioned Niceto Club turns into Club 69 on Thursdays, with a spectacular transvestite show. For a complete change of pace, local favorite The Roxy Disco trades in hip hop beats and cranks up rock’n’roll from every decade.
Milongas, or traditional tango dance nights, can be found all over. These dance nights are more popular with the older population, but this crowd can party just as hard as their younger counterparts. Parakultural is hands-down the best milonga on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays.
Go on a scavenger hunt to find the city’s hidden bars. Customers need to dial a password in a faux telephone booth to open a secret door to get into Frank’s Bar, but the effort is totally worth it. Grab a drink and browse the in-house sex shop while grooving to international DJs at this speakeasy.
6 a.m. onward? The sun never rises at after-hours clubs
Take a break with some food and get a glimpse of the sunrise from the patio at decadent Miloca before continuing to dance the morning away. To ignore the outdoors completely, head to laser-lit Cocoliche or super cool, underground Fugees. For those who just blew their budget in Palermo, Fugees is the right choice, as it’s known as much for its hip hop music as it is for cheap drinks.
If your goal is simply to go as long as you possibly can, Caix is an after-hours that goes from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Sundays. With five dance floors to choose from, it’s not hard to dance away the fatigue and melt one night into the next seamlessly. Pinar de Rocha takes it even further, as it’s open until 7 p.m. on Sundays.