Bares Notables in Buenos Aires: the City’s Cultural Heritage

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Buenos Aires’ most iconic bars have a deep and rich history in the city. As you walk the streets of Buenos Aires, you might notice some cafes that look quite old and traditional, this is for a reason. They might actually be home to some of the most iconic bars, the Bares Notables in Buenos Aires.

What are Bares Notables in Buenos Aires?

Buenos Aires’ most iconic bars are also called “bares notables,” or notable bars. These are an essential part of Buenos Aires’ cultural heritage. These bars are iconic establishments that have been around for decades, serving as important gathering places for locals, artists, writers, and intellectuals.

There are more than 70 bares notables in Buenos Aires, many of which are located in the city’s historic neighborhoods such as San Telmo, Montserrat, and Recoleta. Each bar has its unique atmosphere and history, but all of them share a sense of nostalgia for a bygone era.

The origins of bares notables can be traced back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries when Buenos Aires experienced a period of economic growth and modernization. The city’s elite class began to adopt European lifestyle habits, including the tradition of going to cafés and bars.

The first bares notables were established during this time, often serving as meeting places for artists, writers, and politicians. These bars became a symbol of the city’s cultural identity, and many of them were named as national historic monuments. For example, Cafe London is famous due to its frequent visits by the poet, Julio Cortazar.

The Oldest of the Bares Notables in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires’ most iconic bar and oldest bares notable is Café Tortoni, located in the heart of Buenos Aires’ downtown area. This bar opened its doors in 1858 and quickly became a favorite spot for artists, intellectuals, and bohemians. Café Tortoni’s interior is adorned with beautiful woodwork and stained glass windows, giving it a unique ambiance that transports visitors back to a different era. The bar’s basement hosts a small museum that displays artifacts related to its history, including letters and photographs of famous patrons. There is also a tango presentation in the back every evening. Be prepared for a wait if you decide to go. Though the line does move quickly.

Cafe Tortoni

Groups of Bares Notables

Another notable bar is El Federal, located in San Telmo, which is one of my personal favorites. El Federal was established in 1864 and is one of the oldest bares notables in Buenos Aires. Its interior is decorated with antique tiles, wood paneling, and stained glass windows, creating a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. El Federal is famous for its food, but my favorites are: Spanish tortilla and pumpkin raviolis. The fresh lemonade is also amazing.

Several of the Bares Notables are grouped together. For example, Bar El Federal is in a group with La Poesia, Bar Cao, Celta Cafe, and Cafe Margot.

In addition to these famous bares notables, there are many other bars worth visiting in Buenos Aires. Bar Británico and Bar Hipopotamus, near Parque Lezama in San Telmo, are popular spots for lunch, coffee and pastries. La Biela, located in Recoleta (across from the cemetery), is a favorite among locals for its outdoor seating area and its excellent coffee.

Visiting bares notables is a unique way to experience Buenos Aires’ culture and history. These bars provide a glimpse into the city’s past, where artists, writers, and intellectuals gathered to discuss ideas, share stories, and enjoy each other’s company. Each bar has its unique personality and charm, making it easy to spend hours exploring and discovering new favorites.

Cultural Relevance of Bares Notables in Buenos Aires

Many of these Buenos Aire’s iconic bars also offer live music, tango shows, and other cultural events, making them a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Most bars also serve food, including traditional Argentine dishes and snacks like empanadas and medialunas. They also maintain the same floor, tables, chairs, meat cutters, etc as they did back in 1940’s/50’s.

Enjoy the Bares Notables in Buenos Aires

Despite their cultural significance, bares notables have faced challenges in recent years. Many have struggled to stay afloat due to the economic downturn and the rise of modern cafes and bars. However, efforts to preserve these historic establishments have been made, including government initiatives to provide financial support and incentives for their conservation.

When in Buenos Aires, I highly suggest making a stop for lunch and taste a piece of the city’s history.

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