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We focus a lot on the creator here at La La Lista – the musicians, the artists, the photographers, the chefs. But what about the architects of our experiences? The venues that provide the space for artistic expression, and the show organizers who orchestrate the production and make our lives better? Well, this one is for them.
Given the fact that the last couple of years have been… pretty bleak for the local cultural scene, these places deserve our patronage. So to ring in our favorite season in Buenos Aires, here are 10 of our favorite springtime venues to catch live music and enjoy a night out, in no particular order.
Sometimes a rebrand is just what the doctor ordered. When camping first came on the scene in 2014, it was one of the first beer gardens Buenos Aires, nestled in las Terrazas del Design. But the outdoor mall/foodcourt vibes of its previous locations was always just a bit “off,” and their menu left us wanting. Now, reimagined and reopened in Retiro under new management, it’s quickly becoming one of our favorite places to catch a live show. In fact, having recently caught Mariana Michi there, we personally rank it as one of the finest-sounding outdoor venues in Buenos Aires. We haven’t yet tried the food, but hope to do so soon.
Borges 1975 is one of those spaces that makes you feel like you’re part of a vibrant, creative community that the world needs to know about, just by virtue of being there. From its wonderful collection of colorful tomes in the bookstore on the front, to the lovely little patio area where you can enjoy a delicious cocktail and dreamy ambiance, to the beautiful-sounding stage area in the back that often features up-close-and-personal jazz shows. It’s a great little discovery, and one you’ll feel compelled to return to often.
Ah, La Confiteria. AKA “Queen of Terraces.” We fell in love the first time we ascended those marble stairs and entered the stately, mirrored ballroom-turned-venue. It was almost like we were attending our first quinceanera (which rumor has it was the type of event that this venue used to cater to), but instead of teenage boys scratching themselves in dress shirts, there were hipsters! So many hipsters! Decadent hipsters, scruffy hipsters, granola hipsters, all sauntering about. It was truly a sight to behold.
As previously mentioned, the crowning glory of this fine establishment is the enormous terrace that boasts cool tile-work and a few, precious benches. When it’s done up with tables for fanzine and art fairs under the fairy lights, the whole thing feels like Christmas.
Casa del Árbol
Home to one of the loveliest little bookstores in all of Buenos Aires, Casa del Arbol has just about everything we look for in a springtime venue. Patio, metegol, a cozy bar, and a nice little venue for taking in a show.
A stylish venue in San Telmo with a rooftop terrace and 2 other indoor concert halls, Clasico Fernandez boasts a stellar sound system in an upscale environment. Don’t be a dunce and put the money for your food/drinks in the envelope being passed around between sets – that goes towards the bands, not your check.
Centro Cultural Recoleta
What’s not to love about Centro Cultural Recoleta? In addition to the many gorgeous, modern indoor concert spaces, the back patio, when set up with a stage, is an amazing place to snag a beer or a mate and catch a show with friends between checking out the arts and crafts for sale at the plaza’s feria. Best of all? It’s always free.
Ciudad Cultural Konex
A landmark among cultural centers and home to the Time Bomb, the Konex also hosts a variety of independent outdoor festivals and music events, such as (for example) the totally dazzling fusion of runway and live music from non-binary fashion brand TEBAS, or the upcoming Vertigo Festival on Saturday 2/10. Recommended for any large event – the huge and versatile space is great both rain and shine.
Club Cultural Matienzo
Oh Matienzo, the places we’ve been. I remember when you were but just a wee little mansion-turned-cultural center on Matienzo street, with a killer terrace up a killer flight of stairs (seriously, you didn’t want to take a tumble down those bad boys. I almost died. We all almost died. You could say that the Fernet fun slide was a rite of passage amongst my friends).
Now you’re all grown up, a behemoth multi-level, sprawling complex with several terraces, multiple bars, and a couple flights of properly inclined stairs that don’t turn into the world’s most painful amusement park attraction after a few too many. I was once told that the new Matienzo was previously a school, and while I didn’t fact-check this backstory, I’m going to run with it; there is a certain “recess for adults” vibe to the whole operation. In any case, the classrooms, galleries, mini theatre for film-screenings that make up the bulk of their cultural activities during the day lend to a wholesome, academic feel that makes us feel good whenever we go for a second round – like we’re supporting something that matters.
Otra Historia Club Cultural
Otra Historia hasn’t been around for long, but it’s quickly made its mark, not only due to its off-the-beaten-path location (hooray, Ortuzar!), but also its eclectic mix of shows that can be held simultaneously in its cozy and separate salas. Add to that the spacious patio, the generous drinks, and the distinctly ungentrified crowd, and you have yourself a blessedly unpretentious location that is more than worth crossing Lacroze for.
Mark another point for Villa Ortúzar. This cozy patio, tucked away from the street in our favorite little residential barrio, was host to one of our first live shows since the pandemic – a true breath of fresh air.
On the complete opposite side of the spectrum, we have the polished, classy, Lynchian dream of a venue, La Tangente. Some of you may protest that this shouldn’t be included on our springtime venue list. You are correct — that patio/alleyway in the back is tiny. But as spring seems to be giving way to the scorching nights of summer earlier and earlier every year (only interrupted by the intermittent torrential downpours of October/November), I feel justified in including it: sometimes we need a climate-controlled, cool as a cucumber space where we can lean casually against a wall with a cocktail and enjoy live music with a solid sound system and pretty lights. Its extremely thoughtful design allows for a dimmer switch-degree of audience participation: from the elevated tables in the back to the recessed gallery in front of the stage, you always have a good view of the action without sacrificing comfort. #ThirtyandFlirty
Also, their show-runner/organizer is a woman and we at La La Lista think that is a very, very good thing.
Seeking that perfect middle point between chic dive bar and classic rock pub? Located in Palermo Hollywood, this is not the expected sit-down joint for cocktail yuppies. it’s more atune to wafting through the sea of cigarette smokers as you reach the bar for a nice cool pint. Every time I’ve been the music has been a mix of rock, punk and indie but the bar has a great variety of acts performing most nights of the week. Shout out to Strummer who put on a stellar St Patrick’s Day Show with fiddle bands and all. If you want a venue with friendly staff and even more friendly patrons this is definitely your place.
For a long time, Ladran Sancho didn’t have a sign, which made it feel a little more special the first time you manage to stumble into its cave-like interior. The venue has a modest stage, a cozy bar, and lovely little patio, and is home to the feminist DILDA festival, which happens every other Sunday and has a lovely assortment of food, art, fanzines, clothes, decor, and lingerie all from independent vendors for sale, as well as the occasional live music performance by female artists. It is the perfect Sunday afternoon plan for catching up with your lady friends.
Felissio is a tiny little bar located in Colegiales, Ciudad de la Paz 444. Founded by three brave sisters, it opened its doors for the first time during the quarantine, and as restrictions began to relax, became one of the first places in the city where you could go to hear or play live music. It seems to have a sort of gravitational attraction, pulling into its orbit musicians from all backgrounds, from rap, to jazz, folklore, indie, and more. Several nights a week you can find Felissio full of music and good vibes, and often, when the show is over, an impromptu songwriter’s circle or open mic takes place. The owners and their employees treat everyone who pops in as though they were old friends, creating a familial environment, and a home-away-from-home for a growing number of regulars. And then of course there’s the exquisite food and drinks served there (with beautiful aesthetic presentations worthy of your Instagram feed), at reasonable prices. Stop in and try our favorite drink, the “Cosmo Felissio.”
El Bar De Kowalski
Ok, I’ll cop to my predisposition towards anything Polish — my last name is a simplification of Dzergowski, after all. But this place was just so fun, y’all. A bar in the front and a large patio in the middle, perfect for milling around with a White Russian in hand.
While not quite as popular with independent musicians as other similar venues in town, Kowalski was just picking up steam, hosting cool events such as film screenings, a metegol championship, and of course, our much beloved Lebowski Fest. It was a wonderful spot, and we’ll miss it dearly.
Espacio Cultural Mi Casa
Anyone who has been reading our live music column for a while knows that we were frequent patrons of Mi Casa, and for good reason. The garage-turned-DIY-cultural-center complete with busted up furniture, improvised stage risers, and its heavily stickered bathroom (even by Buenos Aires standards). But what Mi Casa lacked in fanciness, it more than made up for in buena onda and proximity to excellent Peruvian chicken establishments. The Abasto-based venue is powered entirely via human warmth, through the collaborative efforts of its owner/queen of goodness Nadia, and her team of musicians and collaborators who organize shows, run the sound, serve the bar, and manage the door.
While the dog days of summer could make the venue a bit stuffy, it was a great place to catch a show during spring and fall — even on the occasional rainy night — the spacious and covered entryway is perfect for socializing in between sets. Mi Casa was a thing of divey beauty, and we are pouring one out in its honor.