Everyone knows that Buenos Aires is the capital of tango. The passion, intensity, and the carefully executed moves are without a doubt exciting to watch! But if you’re looking for a more low-key alternative to a dinner show, we know of the perfect places for you. For a taste of Buenos Aires tango culture without shelling out for an extravagant show, check out these top four tango cafes in Buenos Aires. In all of these historic venues, tango shows are held at night but a visitor can enjoy the atmosphere of a café during the day. Sip your coffee like a porteno and absorb the history of tango culture in the very city where it was born!
1-Esquina Homero Manzi:
Named after and devoted to the famous tango lyricist Homer Manzi, “The Corner of Homero Manzi” is off the beaten track but definitely worth the trip. Born in 1907, Manzi wrote his first tango song at age 14. He went on to be so much more than a songwriter: poet, journalist, screenwriter, playwright, and film director are all titles he held before dying of cancer in 1951. Come to Esquina Homero Manzi to learn more about this fascinating man, his work, and the dance and music that he loved!
Founded in 1858, Café Tortoni is the oldest coffeeshop in the country. A classic landmark, the café is always bustling with tourists and locals alike. When you’re there you should order a submarino, which is a popular drink of hot milk with a chocolate bar you add yourself. At Tortoni, the chocolate comes in the shape of a submarine! Walls adorned with tributes to various characters of tango’s history lead to a room in the back that’s entirely devoted to displaying artifacts.
3-Café de los Angelitos:
Originally called Bar Rivadavia, this famous landmark was once a shady spot used as the hang-out of scoundrels and thieves. However, the building was recently restored to full elegance, making it a classy place for a merienda. Traditional café by day, modern tango house by night, Café Angelito shifts easily from one mode to another with its tasteful decorations that include black-and-white photographs on the walls.
Though the bar officially became El Querandí in 1920, its history reaches back much further, since the plot of land where it sits was among the first group of houses built in the city. Because of its historic location near a university, El Querandí has been the meeting place for writers and intellectuals since it opened. The black tablecloths, dark wood chairs, and sleek bar make this place feel upscale, while its daytime café menu is completely affordable.
For the traveler who doesn’t want the big show, these classic tango cafes in Buenos Aires are excellent options for getting a taste of the history and passion in the dance of Buenos Aires. Whether you visit one or visit them all, there’s no doubt that you’ll come away with the taste of tango you wanted!
By: Caroline Leland