878 bartender pours a drink that could be for you — Photo courtesy of 878
When you’re looking for a great bar in Buenos Aires, particularly for a midweek visit, head to 878. This former speakeasy delivers a carefree atmosphere with expertly curated drinks and contemporary Argentine charm.
Half restaurant, half cocktail bar, 878 has no sign outside to distinguish it from the houses around it. Only a single bouncer belies the fact that you’ve arrived at the right place.
Pronounced Ocho Siete Ocho, the name refers to its address on Thames Street between Loyola and Aguirre. Located in a quiet part of the Villa Crespo neighborhood, bar 878 is actually not far from busier Palermo Hollywood.
Once inside, one of the many things to like about 878 is that it is not too fancy but not too casual either. In this high-ceilinged lounge with a fashionably pared-down aesthetic, couples appreciate the dim lighting and candlelit counter area, while groups of friends come for the easygoing vibe.
878’s extensive wine list makes for a delightful education in Argentine wine. However, the choice of wines available by the glass is much smaller. 878 also has a wide selection of cocktails, including many international classics.
But to put local tastes to the test, try a cocktail from the "Porteño" section, with ingredients like Campari and Fernet. During the week, check out 878’s happy hour (hora vermú) food and drink specials from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The regular food menu has a long list of small plates, good as appetizers or snacks, as well as a number of main courses like ojo de bife ("ribeye steak") served with roasted potatoes and rocket salad, and lamb hamburgers topped with pancetta, tomato and cheddar cheese.
Other temptations take the form of cheese plates and desserts. Though we fondly remember their pear cake, on a recent trip we tried the savory potato and Lincolnshire cheese croquettes with a chive dipping sauce.
Diners at 878 have priority and are seated at the tables in front, where there are also some leather couches reserved for groups, while the bar’s counter area is destined for couples and singles to enjoy drinks by the light of tall candles.
878 accepts dinner reservations by phone for 8 p.m. to 9:30 pm. But for the bar, it’s first come, first served. On weekends, the large back room annex doubles the bar’s capacity.
To enjoy a relaxed drink and a light bite with a contemporary Buenos Aires vibe, you can’t go wrong with 878.