Monday, October 25, 2010

De La Noche: Boliche, Pub, Milonga

For what it lacks in the way of inflation control, smog checking, and respect for authority, one thing that Buenos Aires delivers is the nightlife. Yes, the porteno youth live for "la noche" here, which isn't hard to do when there are clubs open til 7am every night of the week. It took less than three days here to understand that there are Monday clubs, Tuesday clubs, etc. Not every club is bumping on every night of the week, but there are special nights at each club. The "specialty" of the night usually consists of foreign music (e.g. hip-hop night, drum n' bass night) supplemented by drink discounts. Oh yeah, if you didn't know already, the standard dance music south of the border is almost exclusively reggaeton, which stinks for those of us who prefer rhythmic diversity.

These nights are almost always found at boliches (giant clubs) and clubes (U.S.A.-sized clubs). Some boliches can fit up to 2,000 dancing bodies or more, which can make them pretty overwhelming for someone who hasn't experienced it. Entrance fees range from 35 to 50 pesos (9-12 USD), which will usually provide one complimentary beer or mixed drink. After a month of living here, boliches have ceased to be the regular main attraction of the night, and tend to be more of an afterthought driven by people we're with or have met on that night. There are a couple of really amazing spots that I feel I should mention.

Asia de Cuba -- same owners as the incredible restaurant in LA on Sunset -- is probably the most exclusive and "dressiest" of dancing venues in Buenos Aires, though apparently no boliche fancies itself above a hoodie these days. A huge perfectly lit Buddha statue reclines before the main bar, flanked by two scantily clad dancers as an ironic welcoming gesture: the centerpiece of a night you probably won't forget. Yes, the blaring house music intermingled with some monologue about how we're going on some magic journey can be a bit over the top and obnoxious, but ask 9 out of 10 portenas where they want to get taken out tonight and they will probably mention "Asia." I've been able to join a table here the last two times I went and it definitely made the night ten times better (when you're up until 7am, there's no price tag for a place to sit down).

Terrazas del Este -- went here for the first time this weekend to meet some friends and was blown away by the beauty of this enormous coastal venue. It is my favorite boliche hands down, as it boasts three dance floors, two DJs (one mainly USA tuneage, the other house/reggaeton), and a drink coupon with 50 peso admission. Not only are the indoor bars sleek and accomodating for the masses (photo of the east bar above), but as its name suggests the club offers large, cabana'd terraces with couches that overlook the coast. If you want the perfect spot to party until the sun comes up, look no further. See my shaky, terribly timed Blackberry video below for footage of the main dance floor/VIP area...The cool lights kick in at the end.

If you're not looking to go full throttle into the sunrise, there are some interesting Irish American styled pubs, some of which offer the Latin American addition of large dance floors like The Shamrock in Recoleta, walking distance from my apartment. There are also loungier resto-bars, including our house favorite Milion (pictured below, also a few blocks from the domicile) which is actually a converted mansion from the '70s that boasts an endless list of high-end cocktails that never fail to impress those with an eye for mixology.

If it's time to tango, you best make your way to a milonga. Milongas are tango dance halls that offer dance lessons to begin the night, often accompanied by traditional live music. I've only been to the one pictured at the top of the post, known as La Catedral, which is a short bus ride from my apartment. This place gets really crowded on Tuesday nights, as people gather in the high-ceilinged, dimly-lit attic ambience to watch and dance to some live music. Large tables allowing much multicultural mingling barricade the bar (yay alliteration), and a wide selection of wine bottles are offered at reasonable prices. This unique feature of Latin American nightlife happens to be my surprise favorite, as there is simply nothing else like spending hours chatting with old friends and making new ones over two bottles of Mendozan Malbec we just bought for 12 USD at the bar (you thought right -- $6 each), listening to some live music, and learning the city's most iconic art form. Check out my footage of La Catedral on a Tuesday night below.

That's all folks.

Hasta Luego

1 comment:

  1. Dude sick commentary. I'm sorry that you have to endure the monotonous synchopation of reggaeton, but it sounds like the diversity of the night life makes up for it all. We gotta catch up man, google voice or skype me