Already been to a tango show and liked what you saw? Then put on your dancing shoes and get in on the action at one of Buenos Aires’ many milongas (tango dance clubs), where the true spirit of tango comes alive. Ranging from informal, beginner friendly affairs to sophisticated upmarket venues where experts dominate the floor, there is a milonga in Buenos Aires for everyone, so read on to find the best one for you.
The city’s number one late night milonga, La Virtua doesn’t really get going until about 3 am. It’s unpretentious though lively, especially on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday when it draws the biggest crowds. La Virtua is Buenos Aires’ premier tango after-party, the place people go to keep dancing when other milongas have closed. The best dancers don’t rock up until 4 am when they put on some spectacular live performances to show the crowd how it’s really done. Be sure to try their kitchen’s specialty, the media luna (croissant), said to be the best in the city.
An old classic on the Buenos Aires tango scene, Maldita is a great option for newbies and better dancers alike. The milonga’s standout attraction is definitely its live orchestra, El Atronfe, which plays once or twice a week (check Facebook to see when they are on and make a reservation). The orchestra is comprised of Maldita’s managers who founded the space some ten years ago, eventually becoming legendary in the local scene. Be sure to arrive by 11 pm when the orchestra starts, or by 9 pm to join classes that cater to all levels.
Not a night owl? Then check out Confiteria Ideal’s Matineé Milonga, an afternoon tango session that begins at the far more reasonable hour of 3 pm. Downstairs is an elegant cake shop, which although a little aged, is a local institution that has sold an exquisite selection of pastries to Buenos Aires’ elite since 1912. The upstairs dance hall features a massive domed roof and is lit by a series of graceful lanterns that exude old world charm. This historically important landmark also puts on a Saturday evening event from 10 pm for those who prefer late nights.
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