Best Nightlife in Buenos Aires: A City for Night Owls

Buenos Aires is an irresistibly fun city that comes alive at night like no other, making it easy to fall in love with all the Argentine capital has to offer.

In Buenos Aires, tango dance clubs called milongas hold a special place in the hearts of porteños and tourists alike. There Argentina’s history and culture meet sincere desires for fun and artistry – all to the unmistakable sound of tango.

Dinner is a late affair in Buenos Aires, but the clubs are even more so. Nightclubs often don’t get going until midnight or later, while some clubs only get packed at 3 am. This applies to milongas as well as to Buenos Aires’ happening dance clubs (called boliches). You might decide to check out the local energy drink, called Speed, to keep up.

Even if dancing is not your thing, Buenos Aires has plenty to do at night, such as sipping expertly made cocktails and enjoying Buenos Aires’ many excellent theaters. For some good drinks and novel ambiance, head to beautiful bars like the stunning Milión and cool 878 or unique places like rockabilly bar Mundo Bizarro and jazz lounge Notorious. Or for a theatrical performance you won’t readily forget, check out the Teatro Gran Rex.


This 3300-seat theater located on Avenida Corrientes (considered to be the local equivalent of Broadway) is the Argentine capital's biggest. Teatro Gran Rex attracts well-known international acts in the fields of dance, ballet, music and musical shows with everyone from Tony Bennett to Coldplay. Inspired by Radio City Music Hall in New York and built in the 1930's, the multi-level theater was designed by architect Alberto Prebisch in an imposing, rationalist style. (Alberto Prebisch is also known as the man who designed Buenos Aires' iconic Obelisk.) Today, Teatro Gran Rex offers the biggest, most commercial shows to come to Buenos Aires.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: The Teatro Gran Rex is the biggest theater in town.

Sarah's expert tip: You can check out Teatro Gran Rex's website for the schedule of shows and performances, but for purchasing tickets, head to the site instead.

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Located in Recoleta near the Sofitel Hotel, Florer�a Atl�ntico is actually a secret retro-inspired bar that is not so secret. By name, it appears to be a flower shop and when you first step inside there are more wines for sale than flowers; however, behind a side door is where the action is: the award-winning bar itself. This secret bunker is like a proud ship of good cocktails with one foot in the past celebrating Argentina's European immigrants and one foot in the present with a hip vibe and modern soundtrack. The basement bar has fantastic sea creatures and maritime motifs gracing the walls and its menus pay homage to countries like Italy, Spain and Poland.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Florería Atlántico is an interesting bar that serves good drinks.

Sarah's expert tip: As a popular place, Florer�a Atl�ntico can get packed, so if you have your sights set on dinner, then try to make reservations by phone.

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Barrio Norte

Located in Buenos Aires' Recoleta neighborhood, Notorious is a cool jazz lounge and restaurant that features live jazz performances every night starting at 9:30 pm. The restaurant overlooks a pretty garden and serves meats, pastas and sandwiches, as well as has a good selection of wines and cocktails. If you can, try to bag a table at the front. You can make a reservation in advance, but it's not strictly needed. Notorious' attached store has a good selection of jazz CDs and DVDs. In fact, you will need to walk through the store to get to the venue in the back.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Notorious is a great but more mellow option to sample Buenos Aires' nightlife.

Sarah's expert tip: You can check Notorious' website for details on the live music lineup, but jazz fans should trust that there is something good on every night.

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With a name that means something along the lines of "weird world," Mundo Bizarro revels in its quirkily retro, slightly underground vibe. Starting with the flashing neon sign out front, Mundo Bizarro is not a place to be ignored. Inside, black leather sofas, heavy drapes and loads of red create a cool atmosphere in this Buenos Aires rockabilly bar. Early on (before 11pm, I mean) you might manage to bag a vinyl booth for a relaxed cocktail from the long list, but later, the tunes crank up and late night Palermo drinkers fill the space. But when other places start to close, Mundo Bizarro makes for a good last stop.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Simply put, Mundo Bizarro is a fun Palermo drinking hole.

Sarah's expert tip: True to its retro theme, you won't see trendy concoctions around here; Mundo Bizarro sticks to classic American and international cocktails like mai tais and negronis.

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A casual spot with a trendy, alternative vibe, Niceto Club encourages guests to dance the night away. As a pivotal fixture on the BA nightlife scene, Niceto stages diverse live bands in the "early" spot (before 1am!). From African drumming to electro-folk, the music of the "early" show music is eclectic, but hip and often includes the best of local bands as well as visiting bands from abroad. Around 1am DJ's take over and Niceto's ever-popular club nights begin. Don't miss the legendary Club 69 on Thursdays. If you're looking for a place to dance in Palermo, then Niceto Club is it.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Niceto Club is a hip mainstay of Buenos Aires' nightclubs.

Sarah's expert tip: Visit Niceto Club's website for up-to-date info on shows, bands and parties.

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Located in Buenos Aires' upscale Recoleta neighborhood, the gastrobar Gran Bar Danzón stands out for a reason. Trendy patrons and a slick atmosphere make this the perfect spot for learning all about Argentine wines; try working through the list of over 400 wines served by the glass. Gran Bar Danzón's charms also include peerless bar food and dexterous mixologists. Otherwise, the restaurant serves up upscale international cuisine with Argentine touches (think meats, pastas and sushi). The desserts are particularly delicious, but if you're having trouble deciding and are with a trusted group, then consider yourself lucky and go for the dessert sampling.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Gran Bar Danzón is an attractive place for a drink in Recoleta.

Sarah's expert tip: If you're heading out to Gran Bar Danzón for dinner and not just cocktails, try to make a reservation. You can do that online or by phone.

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One of the city's greatest bars, 878 was once a speakeasy of sorts. It still has no sign, though the bouncer and sometimes a gaggle of smokers on the sidewalk mark the location. (In their absence, ring the bell.) Inside, patrons find themselves in a high-ceilinged lounge with a fashionably pared-down aesthetic of exposed brick walls, dim lighting and tea lights and among a well-dressed crowd of locals and jet-setters sipping drinks and enjoying modern Argentine fare. 878 has nice cocktails and an extensive wine list, but I've also found that the barmen are more than happy to mix you up something new.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Bar 878 delivers good cocktails in a dark, relaxed ambiance.

Sarah's expert tip: Look carefully for 878 or you might just walk straight past it. When in doubt, take a taxi and they'll drop you at the door.

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When you're looking for a cool place to have a drink in Buenos Aires, Victoria Brown is definitely up there with the best of them. This smooth bar has great cocktails, speakeasy-inspired decor and a chill vibe. The place can get packed though, which makes reservations a must. At the front you will find a cute, small cafe that is open during the day, but past the bouncer and the large door at the back, a different world awaits when the sun goes down. The bar combines the underground glamour of old New York speakeasies with 19th century whiskey distilleries and clear steampunk overtures.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Victoria Brown offers up charming decor and a cool vibe.

Sarah's expert tip: The themed menus are enticing but the food can be hit or miss. On the other hand, the cocktails at Victoria Brown are consistently heavenly.

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Simply put, The Cathedral rocks. One of the city's most happening tango dance clubs (known as "milongas") and located in the little-visited neighborhood of Almagro (bordering Villa Crespo), La Catedral is popular, informal and described with such words as "bizarre," "funky" and "most authentic." Definitely the coolest of tango clubs, dancers of all standards congregate here for the nightly classes and milonga session. Even if you don't yet dance tango, La Catedral is still a cool place to hang out, drink, eat vegetarian fare, talk, and watch as well as listen to tango. There is a resident cat that wanders around, though it usually keeps off the dance floor.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: La Catedral is a lively and uniquely Buenos Aires haunt.

Sarah's expert tip: If you want to take one of the tango classes, note that they often start an hour or so after the officially stated start time. Plan on being flexible.

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Buenos Aires doesn't specialize in outdoor drinking spots, but Milion is the pick of the bunch in central BA. Fashioned out of a beautiful old French style mansion and secreted away on the residential streets of Recoleta and the Barrio Norte, Milion is spread out over a terrace, a garden and a lofty-ceilinged interior. DJ sets, cutting edge art and screenings of film shorts add to the modish mix. And if you fancy a drink, you will have plenty to choose from, both classic cocktails and modern concoctions. Milion draws a varied crowd, but you will see well-heeled 30 somethings in particular.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Stylish and charming, Milión is a special place for a drink.

Sarah's expert tip: If you can manage to snag a table or a spot on the terrace, do it! Also, you might want to be aware that the restroom at Milion is unisex.

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Meet Sarah Rogers

Born and raised in northern California, Sarah grew up to become an expat, traveler and wordsmith. She spent seven years in Madrid, Spain and now calls Buenos Aires, Argentina home. She has had...  More About Sarah