El Federal is one of the best places in the city for a traditional bar experience. The tradition begins with the exterior, with floor-to-ceiling windows and dark green awning, and then inside are old rustic wooden tables and a bar behind which the wall is covered with wine bottles. It is thought by many to actually be the oldest bar in the city, and even if that’s not the case, the atmosphere of late 19th century Argentina can still be felt. Despite its age, the bar is still clean and well-kept, while managing to retain its old-school charm. An excellent spot for a daytime coffee or evening beer.
The main attraction of El Balcón is its location on the first floor of a historic mansion overlooking Plaza Dorrego. The best tables are, unsurprisingly, on the balcony that overlooks the square below – during the day or early evening Plaza Dorrego is the bustling center of San Telmo so is always full of life. The interior boasts a stage which hosts live acts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A delightful spot to absorb the atmosphere of picturesque Plaza Dorrego.