Almagro is one of the best kept secrets in Buenos Aires. This central barrio oozes Porteño charm and is pleasantly off the tourist trail. A favoured haunt of bohemian locals and expats in the know, Almagro has a host of great bars that beat Palermo’s overpriced hipster joints. We check out some of the best ones.
La Vieja Guardia is part bar, part independent theatre space. It’s a no-frills joint, with simple wooden tables but plenty of onda and a friendly yet unassuming crowd. In spring and summer the brightly coloured patio packs out with beatnik locals who are actors, musicians and everything in between. The shows in the theatre space at the back are usually a la gorra, or “pay what you feel”, so there are no strings attached if you fancy checking it out but decide it’s not for you. Stick to the drinks and avoid the food.
This corner bar is perfect for a romantic rendezvous with a dreamy Latino/a, or for a get together with a group of friends. It has a vibe straight out of the 90s, and could be a substitute for Central Perk on the set of Friends, but with a distinctly South American style. It gets busy quickly, so if you don’t mind waiting, there is always a friendly mass of people waiting for a table on the curb, so don’t be afraid to make friends.
A favoured haunt of writers, poets and literary types, Musetta could easily be in Paris or Berlin, such is the European flavour of this corner café. Decked out like a living room inside, the couch corner is surrounded by bookshelves, which are perfect for a perusal over a coffee in the mid-afternoon. The drinks are reasonably priced and the food is plentiful, healthy, and delicious, so grab a book and make yourself at home.
This hole-in-the-wall bar is popular with French crowds, given the name and the atmosphere. Beware the resident black cat with attitude that holds court on the tables and chairs near the window, and get the empanadas, which go well washed down with some beer, wine, or the ever-popular local tipple, Fernet and coke.
Almagro’s most notable bar notable, or heritage bar, is El Banderin, another corner joint overflowing with Argentine memorabilia in the form of football bunting, football plaques, photos of famous Argentines and friends who have graced the premises over the years, and a decidedly Porteño attitude. If you only visit one bar notable on your trip to Buenos Aires, make it El Banderin.
This ancient bar is an Almagro classic. Full of old-timey bits and bobs, and walls that are covered with dusty bottles as old as the place itself. El Boliche de Roberto is located right in the heart of the tango mecca, and has live musicians and singers who play and sing tango music every night after about 11PM. The food and drinks are decent, but it is the Buenos Aires of old that lives on today in El Boliche that keeps people coming back week after week.
This dive bar is a staple on the Almagro scene and is frequented by a grungy crowd who come for the dark and dingy vibes, indie music that often borders on progressive or shoegazey, and the cheap beer. This is one for lovers of long hair and ripped jeans – fancy folk need not apply.
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