Buenos Aires’ small but lively jazz scene has its roots in the early 20th century – Argentina’s economic heyday when a fast expanding upper-class would readily adopt new trends from abroad. Jazz from Europe became popularized throughout the city by the ubiquitous tango orchestras, but the genre eventually established its own following as the years went by. The scene took a hit during the dictatorship years of the 1970s, but has gradually been making a comeback, with a number of cool clubs popping up around the city. Let’s take a look at the best Buenos Aires has to offer.
The city’s most famous jazz bar, Thelonious is a super cool New York style venue with a dimly lit ambiance that pulls off both moody and glamorous at the same time. Located in the trendy Palermo district, the long narrow space gets packed out quickly, so try to arrive early to secure a good spot. An interesting array of upcoming and well established local and international artists belt out their best tunes on any given night, while a selection of skillfully crafted cocktails never fail to keep the punters happy.
Thelonious, Jerónimo Salguero 1884, Buenos Aires, Argentina +54 11 4829-1562
This famously groovy club is almost as well-known as Thelonious, attracting a classy and sophisticated crowd. Guests arrive at a CD shop, pay for their tickets and head downstairs to discover an elegant restaurant type atmosphere situated below a wide stage. As one of the city’s premier jazz clubs, Notorious attracts some of the best local and international musicians, so booking a table is often essential.
Boris Jazz Club
One of the city’s largest venues with a capacity of 200 people, Boris Jazz Club plays an important role in the Buenos Aires jazz scene. The club was purpose built for live music so the acoustics are superb, a major draw card for the true jazz aficionado. Boris emphasizes black and blue shades to create a moody atmosphere which is well appreciated by the mostly swanky, upmarket clientele. The food and drinks are great, although not as cheap as other places in town.
Boris Jazz Club, Gorriti 5568, Buenos Aires, Argentina +54 11 4777-0012
Jazz Y Pop
This is Buenos Aires’ oldest jazz venue, dating all the way back to 1978. Jazz Y Pop is located in a cozy underground hall, decorated by photos of famous jazz musicians and covered in quirky open umbrellas on the ceiling which are said to assist with acoustics. The club has numerous passionate regulars who insist it is the city’s greatest thanks to its unpretentious and homely vibe, where each table is situated right up close to the band.
A chic option in south Palermo, Café Vinilio is housed in an elegant colonial style building and hosts a wide variety of jazz musicians and sub genres. The club is popular for its intimate setting, great selection of food and drinks as well as a regularly changing art exhibition to admire between sets. Advance booking attracts a small discount but tables are allocated on a first come first served basis so it’s best to arrive early.
Café Vinilio, Gorriti 3780, Buenos Aires, Argentina +54 11 4866-6510
A relative newcomer to the Buenos Aires’ jazz scene, Bebop opened its doors in 2014 and has enjoyed increasing popularity ever since. This 120 seat venue uses shades of red and timber to create a warm and sophisticated feel for its classy clientele. A variety of national and international artists play jazz, pop, blues and funk while the kitchen and bar serve up top notch food and drinks.