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10 Best Places for Live Music in Buenos Aires



Though recorded music is essential in many people’s lives, there is something unforgettable about the way good live music pulls you in and forges a deeper connection. As a creative city with a strong performing arts and live music scene, Buenos Aires does not disappoint for options, especially when it comes to tango, jazz and rock. Whether you are seeking a grand experience or an intimate affair, Buenos Aires has live music venues for every day of the week.

Starting high, consider heading to the Teatro Colon to catch an opera performance. Buenos Aires’ opera house is considered one of the best in the world. Then for live music with less grandeur done Buenos Aires style, two choices include La Catedral and Club Cultural Matienzo. While there are many places to dance and listen to tango music, La Catedral serves as a good introduction to both. For its part, Club Cultural Matienzo is a cool beacon on the local music scene; indie rock concerts are a regular feature.

For live jazz, you can get your fix with nightly performances on at the jazz lounge Notorius or at the weekly jazz sessions from retro restaurant Cafe Rivas. The Buenos Aires International Jazz Festival in the (Argentine) spring is also a treat. Otherwise, read on for more live music recommendations in Buenos Aires.


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Microcentro


An historic Art Deco-style arena located in the San Nicolas neighborhood (near Puerto Madero), Luna Park regularly hosts big-name concerts and sporting events like boxing and tennis. Some of the musical acts to have played there include: Frank Sinatra, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Shakira, Nine Inch Nails, Duran Duran and the White Stripes. Luna Park was actually the name of an amusement park that once stood on the spot, but it was demolished to 1932 to give way to the stadium. Since then, Luna Park has hosted its fair share of unforgettable events, such as Carlos Gardel's funeral and Diego Maradona's wedding.

Recommended for Live Music because: Luna Park has hosted top acts downtown for many years.

Sarah's expert tip: It is a fun fact that Juan Peron and Eva Duarte (later known as Evita) met at Luna Park for a charity event in 1944.

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Going on since 2002, this annual state-supported festival sees local and international jazzers converge on the city for a week of indoor and outdoor performances (as well as workshops, music clinics, films and open lessons) in the Argentine spring. You will hear great music from Argentine jazz musicians and groups as well as international guest musicians. A variety of venues are used, including the Teatro Coliseo, Teatro San Martin, National Library and a handful of jazz clubs and cultural centers around the city. As is the case with a number of Buenos Aires' public festivals, many of the events are free.

Recommended for Live Music because: The jazz festival is fun and proves that tango isn't the only musical game in town.

Sarah's expert tip: While Buenos Aires is well known for its tango and rock scenes, the jazz festival highlights the strength of one of the city's other musical traditions.

Read more about Buenos Aires International Jazz Festival →




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. The live music is a treat. 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 the tango music. There is a resident cat that wanders around, though it usually keeps off the dance floor.

Recommended for Live Music because: La Catedral is a uniquely Buenos Aires haunt for live music and dance.

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.

Read more about La Catedral →


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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 Live Music because: Niceto Club is a hip mainstay of Buenos Aires' live music clubs.

Sarah's expert tip: Visit Niceto Club's website for up-to-date info on shows, bands and parties. And if you have an iPhone, leave it at home or keep a close eye on it if you bring it to the club.

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Club Cultural Matienzo is a highly creative space always buzzing with local, well-organized activities like concerts, DJs, plays, dance performances, art exhibitions, poetry readings, movie screenings and arts courses (dance, literature, etc). There is always something on – the maze-like club lending itself to events happening simultaneously. Matienzo also has a restaurant and two bar areas; the food is simple (think pizza and sandwiches) but the prices are reasonable and they have a daily happy hour. Club Cultural Matienzo regularly draws crowds of young, arty Argentines. If you don't get there early (for Argentine standards), you may not get a seat.

Recommended for Live Music because: There are lots of great underground bands to discover here.

Sarah's expert tip: Check Club Cultural Matienzo's website (http://ccmatienzo.com.ar/) for descriptions of daily concerts and events. Some of the events are free, but others are not.

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Ciudad Cultural Konex is a unique, alternative cultural space in Buenos Aires' Almagro/Abasto area. There you will find the emphasis is on live music, but they also stage dance performances, plays, movie screenings and other creative events. Ciudad Cultural Konex is perhaps best known, however, as the home of the Monday night La Bomba de Tiempo shows. This large percussion concert regularly draws an audience from Buenos Aires and abroad who come to groove on the drum beats. The crowd skews young, although you have to be 18 and over to attend. Sometimes well known guest musicians join in.

Recommended for Live Music because: Many people consider La Bomba de Tiempo a Buenos Aires must.

Sarah's expert tip: The La Bomba de Tiempo doesn't stop for rain, so if getting wet isn't your thing, make sure blue skies are planned for the day you want to go.

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San Telmo


This is a spot to enjoy the pleasures of local food and jazz. With its wood paneling and understated retro decor, Cafe Rivas is a restaurant with a cool classic vibe located on a pretty cobblestone corner in the San Telmo neighborhood. Locals and visitors alike come to Cafe Rivas for the weekly installments of dinner and live jazz. Try the rib eye steak (ojo de bife) with some good wine, settle in for the jazz and let the place work its magic. The menu at Cafe Rivas can best be described as European-leaning Argentine food. There are options suitable for vegetarians.

Recommended for Live Music because: Not a big, wild venue, instead Cafe Rivas is a place to spend a nice evening with live music.

Sarah's expert tip: Many Buenos Aires restaurants serve some pretty sad bread, but not at Cafe Rivas. What you get for your "cubierto" charge here is delicious.

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Teatro Colón

Considered one of the finest opera houses in the world and an impressive sight even from the outside, the Colon opened its first season in 1908, after some 20 years of construction. Its classical horseshoe auditorium makes for great sight lines and acoustics, and it is often cited as one of the top five opera houses worldwide. During the season (meaning not January or February) you can buy tickets to see grand opera and ballet productions, as well as hear the Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra. Otherwise, there are guided tours throughout the day every day, even on most holidays, where you can get a closer look at this Buenos Aires jewel.

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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 Live Music because: The Teatro Gran Rex is the biggest theater and live music venue 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 www.ticketek.com.ar instead.

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Barrio Norte
Notorious


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 Live Music because: Notorious is a great but more mellow option to sample Buenos Aires' live music scene.

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.

Read more about Notorious →


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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

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