By Samir and Rachel
Entertainment is a huge part of traveling and there is definitely no shortage of entertainment and nightlife in Buenos Aires, especially in Palermo, the area we were in. The schedule is Argentina took some getting used to. People here don’t eat dinner until about 10 or 11pm (they have a merienda, or snack, around 5 or 6pm) and then some go out after that. We went to a couple boliches, or nightclubs, and both times we went, we got there around 1:30am or 2am and were part of the early crowd! We left after 4:30am both times and there was still a line outside to get in! Craziness!
We tried the Buenos Aires pub crawl (www.buenosairespubcrawl.com) one Friday in Palermo. While the crawl went to some fun places in Palermo, we were definitely the oldest ones there! The age range was probably 17-23 – eesh! But we ended up at a fun boliche with a nice buzz J But the place only served mixed drinks with Speed (like Red Bull). It was a huge place with the roof and walls covered with TVs and fun dance music.
One of our major sources of entertainment was Spanglish (see our post on learning Spanish in BA). We would meet people at the event and inevitably hang out there or somewhere else. Another bar I liked in the Palermo area was Sugar Bar – fun place, cheap drinks and good music. Our first night of Spanglish, we were sitting at Funes y Maga where the event was held and talking to some other folks at the event. At about 2am, a group of ladies in their 50s or 60s comes in and orders a round of drinks! We were so amused – never would you see that in the US, especially so late! Another night, Rachel met some girls at the event and we tagged along with them to Kika, another super nightclub. The place got packed around 3am and was HUGE! We had a blast with our new friends and had a great time dancing the night away! Side note: the cover at Kika was 50 pesos for ladies and 100 pesos for men! But if you signed up on the guest list on Facebook or got some password from FB, ladies were free before 2 – this seemed to be a recurring theme with the boliches – always some list or group or marketing gimmick you could take advantage of if you planned ahead!
Other than the bars and clubs, we wanted to experience other types of entertainment, like going to the movies. So we headed to the Cinemark in Palermo twice to see a movie – once to see “Brave” in 3D, and second to see “Batman, The Dark Knight Rises”. We thought it was particularly interesting that the Batman showing had a 10-minute interval in the middle of the movie for patrons to refresh on snacks or use the bathroom. And we liked that they had assigned seating.
We also decided to be a bit more upscale, so we saw a performance by the Contemporary Ballet at the Teatro San Martin. There were three acts – two of which were really ‘modern’ dancy – we liked the middle performance the best. Though we were trying to read the program to see what each was about and realized our Spanish was definitely more conversational and not so helpful with reading deep explanations of the ballet!
We also decided to test our Spanish skills and see a show at the theater, Estado de Ira or State of Wrath. We had an idea of what the show was about and were able to understand about 50-60% of the dialogue but figured out mostly what was going on, including most of the jokes! The show was about a theater company that are trying to put on the play Hedda Gabler but lose their main actress at the last minute and have to show a new actress how to play the role. A lot of subtle but funny comedy, especially physical comedy.
Our last source of entertainment was probably my (Rachel) favorite – TANGO! Tango is such a beautiful and sensual dance – I love it! And the music is so distinctive as well. Tango has its roots from the Africans that were in Argentina hundreds of years ago – kind of like how American jazz developed. Perhaps that’s why I liked it so much!
We took two private tango lessons in Palermo – I really liked how much we learned in just two classes. We learned some basic steps and some fancy looking stuff but was pretty easy to do J http://www.tangopiola.com/
We also saw a lovely tango show – though we just saw the show and didn’t do dinner. We went to the show at La Ventana – it wasn’t as flashy some of the other tango shows which I liked because I wanted a more authentic tango. The original producer of the show was a tango musician himself – and funnily enough, we were dancing to his music during our private tango lessons. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures or video during the show. Boo. http://www.laventanaweb.com
Tango is danced all over the city in places called milongas (also a style of dancing). We went to La Viruta, a milonga where we could both take tango lessons as well as practice dancing with everyone else after our lessons. They also did two dance numbers before our group lessons – amazing! I think the group lessons were okay – the private lessons were definitely better and we learned a lot more in two lessons. But the group lessons were a slightly different basic step and what everyone at that milonga danced to. www.lavirutatango.com
Overall, the nightlife was one of the best things about BsAs and I’m glad we got to enjoy it together!