With plenty of sights to see in around the north western Argentinian city of Salta, many visitors will be looking for somewhere to relax after a tiring day touring the area. Salta’s long history, combined with its growing tourist industry, means that there is a mixture of places to grab a drink, from old-fashioned peñas (folk pubs) to modern bars. Here’s a list of some of our favorite.
Uno is a small, modern and popular bar which serves a range of cocktails plus all the usual bar drinks. It is located on Balcarce, the street around which most pubs, bars and nightclubs are centred, which makes it an ideal location for starting the night off with a mind to moving onto a club later. The music is usually drum and bass, but if that’s not to everyone’s tastes there is an outside terrace to escape the noise.
Balcarce 926, Salta, Argentina, +54 387 422 9120
Also on Balcarce Street, Macondo offers live music most nights. It is central to Salta’s indie scene, and its music is most frequently rock or alternative from the ‘90s and 2000s. There is a streetside terrace for customers to take in the lively Balcarce atmosphere, and a food menu is also available for those who would rather avoid the clubs and have a more relaxed evening.
Balcarce 980, Salta, Argentina, +54 387 431 7191
La Casona del Molino
La Casona del Molino is the first traditional peña featured on this list. It is not a bar, as such, but rather a traditional folk pub where gauchos (cowboys) used to go to sing folk songs and share stories. This particular peña prides itself on being truly authentic and is probably the least touristic of Salta’s folk pubs. While it is a taxi ride away from the centre of the city, it is consequently far from the loud, modern bars on Balcarce, and attracts locals looking to perform. It is popular so booking ahead is usually recommended.
Luis Burela 1, Salta, Argentina, +54 387 434 2835
Goblin Irish Pub
If visitors are getting tired of guessing menu items, and making uncertain orders in broken Spanish, this Irish bar is popular with English-speaking ex-pats, and offers a pleasant break from the struggles of a foreign language. It is found not on bar-filled Balcarce but just off Plaza 9 de Julio, so for those looking of a more relaxing bar experience, Goblin Irish offers a quieter, less busy option.
Caseros 445, Salta, Argentina, +54 387 401 0886
Café del Tiempo
Although not obviously a bar, this café offers live music on its terrace right in the middle of the fashionable Balcarce bar area of Salta. The interior is designed in the style of a typical Buenos Aires café: tall windows, vintage posters and shelves packed to the ceiling with wine bottles. It’s more of a place to grab a beer, or enjoy a bottle of wine, rather than drink cocktails, and there is a good menu of appetisers (sweet and savoury) to go along with the drinks. The music includes tango, jazz and blues.
Balcarce 901, Salta, Argentina, +54 387 432 0771
La Vieja Estación
Another peña, but this time in a slightly more accessible location on Balcarce. La Vieja Estación offers a cosy and inviting traditional Argentinian interior, with dark wood, dimmed lighting and a small stage for the performers. There are not only folk bands but also traditional dance groups, so for a taste of various aspects of traditional Salteña culture, this is the place to come. The drinks aren’t fancy but there are plenty of local wines to choose from. At weekends it may be advisable to book ahead since it is hugely popular.
Balcarce 875, Salta, Argentina, +54 387 421 7727
Peña Gauchos de Güemes
This peña has actually been declared a Salta heritage site. Although not the original, it was built as a copy of a particular peña where the heroes of Argentine independence, San Martín, Güemes and Belgrano, used to meet. The architecture is in a traditional adobe style, which means smooth outer walls made of compacted straw, earth and clay. There are of course the usual peña folk performances, but Gauchos de Güemes stands out due to its traditional historic architecture. It is a little out of the way but well worth a visit for those needing a relaxed evening with a good bottle of wine.
Av. Uruguay 750, Salta, Argentina, +54 387 421 7007
The final peña on this list, Peña Balderrama is popular with locals since the deceased owner was somewhat of a prominent local figure during his time. From the exterior it is a colonial building with an intricate roof, which creates an inviting façade. The outside appears small, but it is deceptive: inside there are tables upon tables and a large performance area. The performances are quite elaborate and closest in style to an evening at the theatre. As with all peñas, expect to enjoy wine rather than cocktails.
Avenida San Martín 1126, Salta, Argentina, +54 387 421 1542
Salta’s main casino is an alternative way to enjoy an evening in the city. The casino is attached to the Sheraton hotel but open to all, and there are two bars as well as two restaurants for guests to enjoy. The Tipas Bar offers a fantastic panoramic view of the city, in a sophisticated setting away from the noise and bright lights of Balcarce.
Coronel Francisco Uriondo 330, Salta, Argentina, +54 387 437 3022
Bartz Tapas Mundiales
Bartz Tapas Mundiales is mainly a restaurant, but its tapas menu allows for guests to enjoy a few appetizers and drinks. Located just off Balcarce, it offers a more relaxed atmosphere away from the loud music, in a more tranquil restaurant setting. Personable service and modestly priced bottles of wine mean that guests can spend a good few hours here passing away the evening.
Santiago del Estero 686, Salta, Argentina, +54 387 461 0160