By day San Telmo is quaint and picturesque, however it is truly a neighborhood to experience at night. La noche porteño (BA nightlife) is on full display as the streets get more and more colorful as the night drags on. While the after office crowd packs in many bars and breweries for happy hour, the debauchery continues late, really late, in San Telmo it is not uncommon for bars to stay open until 5 am! Whether you are looking for a cozy pub, extravagant cocktails, renowned wines or something hip and different, you’re bound to find it in San Telmo.
La Puerta Roja
Open the blue door and you go on with your life as you know it, open the red door and you will go through a wormhole taking you to one of San Telmo’s most infamous bars known for obnoxiously loud rock music and an intoxicatingly fiery concoction called the chili bomb. Once something of a secret to the San Telmo crowd, nowadays the secret is out and Puerta Roja has become notorious for the after office bunch coming from Microcentro. Starting from Thursday evening, the unofficial start of the weekend in BA, through Saturday it is not uncommon to find crowds of partiers packed shoulder to shoulder in a hedonistic mass. During quieter times local and international football matches are projected while tasty bar food is available (try the super nachos).
Chacabuco 733 (the red door beside the vegetable stand). Mon-Sat: 12pm-5:30am Sun: 12pm-12am. Happy Hour everyday 12pm-10pm. Website.
The mecca of craft beer in Buenos Aires is the creation of Martín Boan, former beer maker of Quilmes, the most drunken industrial beer brand in the country. At some point Boan decided to leave the brew giant and start making quality craft beer shortly afterwards he started a string of beer related businesses, including a beer inspired closed door restaurant. After lots of success and demand in his clandestine resto he decided to take his beer making skills mainstream and created Bierlife, the first craft beer garden in Buenos Aires. Not only was it the first, but it also has the greatest variety of beers featuring between 40-50 locally made draft beers on any given day. While Bierlife generally features some 8-10 of their own house varieties of beers, they are all about supporting the ever growing craft beer scene and some of the best producers are featured. In addition to the excellent variety of suds, all of the food is created with beer as well, the pizza crusts are made with wheat beer, the salmon is marinated in hops and they even have birramisu for dessert made with cream stout. Happy hour is one of the best deals in town with 2X1 beers, and due to its popularity it really packs in the crowds.
Humberto Primo 670. Tue - Thu 5pm - 12am; Fri & Sat 5pm - 2:30am. CLOSED SUNDAY AND MONDAY. Happy hour 5pm - 7:30pm. Phone: +54 11 4307-6315. Website.
San Telmo’s home to true
mixologists cocktail artists features an extensive list of more than 100 cocktails, especially emphasizing gins and vodkas. If you are baffled by the menu just have a chat with the bartender and they will whip up something based on your likes. Doppel is known for classics such as the Old Fashioned and the Negroni, but also for more inventive drinks like the Ferrocarril 1940, a libation mixed with Pineral, maraschino liqueur and a strange tonic once used to restore iron to the circulatory system of anemics. The art nouveau lanterns, crystal barware and antique mirrors transport you to a Gatsbyesque speakeasy in the roaring twenties. In addition to the elaborate elixirs, the food is also excellent, a variety of tapas, mejillones (sauteed mussels), or the home-made classic burger will make sure you are feeling the doppelgänger effect.
Juan de Garay 500 (corner of Bolivar). Tue- Thu 7pm - 2am; Fri - 7pm - 3:30am; Sat 8pm - 3:30 am; CLOSED MONDAYS. Phone: +54 11 4300-0201. Website.
On the most charming street on the southern border of San Telmo is the setting for Napoles, the newest endeavour from the famed San Telmo antiques vendor Gabriel de Campo. Parked in front of the entrance is a 1960’s era silver Mercedes-Benz that gives you the feeling James Bond will be at the bar sipping a martini surrounded by Russian gangsters and scantily clad women. Upon entering this establishment one cannot help but have the feeling of being whisked away, traveling both backwards in time as well as upwards in social status. The immense building of exposed red brick and wrought iron beams is packed full of antique race cars, motorcycles, terra cotta warriors, statues and works of arts that make it appear more museum than bar. The bar itself is a period piece with dark wooden shelving, backlit stained glass inlays, and an antique coffee maker. Amidst the relics are several tables, many also antiques, giving you the opportunity to enjoy drinks sitting in antique barber shop chairs (no word yet if you are allowed to sip cocktails inside the fire engine red Maseratti). The cocktail menu features such classics as the negroni and martini, but also more inventive cocktails featuring pineapple flavored Campari, banana bourbon, and meloncello. Napoles also serves Italian inspired cuisine; pastas, pizzas, and paninis on fresh baked bread.
Caseros 461. Tue - Sun 9am - 12am. CLOSED MONDAYS. Happy Hour: Tue - Sat 4pm - 7pm. Phone: +54 11 5417-1802. Website.
Las del Barco
A funky, unpretentious dive dripping with buena onda (good vibes) and eclectic decor sits just beyond the northern border of San Telmo. The barmen and women can whip up mean mojitos and they also do one hell of a caipirinha. Colorful lights, swanky couches, bedazzled mirrors, and bright mosaics set the stage for a hip and homey lounge. The bar food is simple yet well executed, picadas (sample platters), batatas bravas (spicy sweet potatoes), and hamburgers are tasty and reasonably priced. At happy hour belly up to the bar for 2X1 cocktails and beers, served with a complimentary basket of pochoclos (popcorn). All night long the staff keeps the vibes going with a good mix of local and international rock and pop to keep those toes tappin’ until closing time.
Bolivar 684. Tue - Sat 5pm - 5am; Sun 5pm - 12am. CLOSED MONDAYS. Happy Hour: 5pm - 10pm. Website.
On Tap originally opened in Palermo as the craft beer boom was beginning to explode, within a year they had four locations throughout the city and today have six locations in total. The bar in San Telmo is incredibly popular, the tiny shop with room for about 20 people at communal tables cannot satisfy the demand, as a result the regulars pour out onto the sidewalks and regularly occupy the median in the middle of Caseros avenue (yes drinking on the streets in BA is kosher). The central idea to On Tap is to support the local craft beer scene in Buenos Aires and as such they feature 20 different taps of local, artisanal brews. The house beer, Grunge, showcases hoppy varietals such as Mumbai English IPA, and the elaborate Black Mamba Stout using 7 different varieties of malts. Typical pub food is available including fried chicken, onion rings, and french fries, look for the shared squeeze bottles of curried ketchup and cilantro mayo to accompany your grub.
Caseros 482. Tue, Wed & Sun 5pm - 12:30am; Thu-Sat 5 pm - 1:30am. CLOSED MONDAYS. Happy Hour 6pm - 8:30pm. Website.
Atom is the new expression by and for hip, creatives types with a need for experimental music and avant guard multimedia interventions. Craft beer, cocktails and draft cider are served over the bar, but the entertainment is what makes Atom a standout, as experimental bands perform with live DJs and a psychedelic medley of lights and multimedia interventions are transmitted live. This is a great expression of how San Telmo has become the neighborhood at forefront of artistic innovation. Atom emphasizes promoting local talent rather than trying to profit, there is never a cover charge. The owner Javo, a true San Telmo personality, and the friendly staff are sure to make you feel at home. The bar also serves lighter fare; empanadas, tapas and pizza along with happy hour all night long!
Bolivar 933. Wed - Sun 7pm - 2:45am. Happy Hour all night! Phone: + 54 11 4361-4679. Website.
This homey pub and microbrewery is another essential stop on the San Telmo craft beer crawl. The low lit bar is surrounded by checkered floors, high-backed booths, couches and tables that provide a comfortable and social vibe. The brew makers are serious about their beer, and highly accoladed as regular winners in South America’s biggest beer competition, the South Beer Cup. On tap are a rotating variety of several brews made in house, including the San Telmo Fire IPA, a mildly hoppy, amber-colored draft; and the Pride Golden Ale, winner of the gold medal in the 2017 South Beer Cup. They also cycle in several other local producers sticking with the philosophy of promoting the local craft brew scene.
Bolivar 862. Everyday 6pm - 3am. Happy Hour 6pm - 10pm. Phone: + 54 11 4300-9439. Website.
More of a wine person than beer and cocktails? No worries, San Telmo’s got you covered with El Túnel old wine cellar. Found in a classic San Telmo casona (estate home) that is the perfect environment to meet with friends or impress that special someone on a romantic occasion. The weekly Friday tastings feature obscure small batch varietals paired with 3 course tasting menus. The typical San Telmo dwelling even makes use of an old subterranean tunnel as the wine cellar, which was possibly once used for smuggling contraband. Keeping it real is live DJ who steadily ramps up the pace as the night progresses. Reservations are a must for the tastings, look for buzzer on a terra cotta colored building with an unmarked door on Balcarce street.
Balcarce 1068. Tastings by reservation only. Phone: + 54 11 2204-7287. Website.
As the name suggests this pub is an English enclave surrounded by the Spanish speaking nation of San Telmo. Gibraltar is a great place to watch football matches, as both local and Champions league games are projected above the bar. Local draft pints and cocktails are dispensed at the bar and the British owners serve anglo culinary staples like curries, fish & chips, and other bar grub. In the back room they have a billiards table and an open air patio for smokers.
Perú 895. Tue, Wed, Sat & Sun 12pm - 4am; Thu & Friday 12pm - 5am. CLOSED MONDAYS. Happy Hour 12pm - 10pm. Phone: + 54 11 4362-5310. Website.
Garage bar is another fresh proposal in San Telmo, a refurbished car park is the setting for a swanky cocktail lounge. The plush leather couches, neon lights, and antique cars will easily make you feel as if you’ve walked into a scene from the Untouchables. The menu is all about simplicity, offering a few varieties of draft beers, a simple drink menu and classic bar food such as pizzas and hamburgers. They also have a pool table to keep you entertained.
Chile 631. Mon - Thu 6pm - 2am; Fri 6pm - 4am; Sat 8pm - 4am. CLOSED SUNDAYS. Happy Hour 6pm - 10pm Phone: +54 11 6091-1354. Website.