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a city by city guide to the best indie clubs, bars, record shops and local bands

Buenos Aires, Argentina

by Hernán Cabeza

Beyond the classic tourist sights like Caminito-La Boca, Puerto Madero, the Avenida 9 de Julio and the obelisk, the gardens of Palermo, Costanera Sur, and so on, Buenos Aires has a rich cultural life, both in the centre as well as in the outlying districts. In the central part of the city, especially in the Avenida Corrientes, there are two important arts complexes - El Rojas and El San Martín – which offer a vast program of independent cinema, music, fine art and theatre as well as diverse courses and workshops. In both, indie bands such as Pez, Menos Que Cero, Flopa Manza Minimal and Pequeña Orquesta Reincidentes have put on shows, although most of the musical events are to promote national folklore and tango. In a similar vein, MALBA (Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires) hosts the most modern exhibitions of Argentinian art.
   If you prefer something slightly more nocturnal, the districts of San Telmo and Palermo offer a diverse range of fashions, bars and clubs – you’ll find clothes stores run by independent designers, style bars, a wide variety of restaurants, especially in the Palermo Hollywood neighbourhood, and clubs like La Trastienda in San Telmo where the likes of Stephen Malkmus, Luna and Yo La Tengo have played. The Retrio district also boasts a vibrant nightlife scene. There are countless Irish bars with a great variety of beers, but you can also experience alternative cinema, theatre and music, in places like La Nave De Los Suenos. In terms of indie music, a few blocks from the obelisk you’ll find the Pop City club night, organised by the record label Ultrapop, where you can listen to good music and bands play live.
   As you can see, the “city that never sleeps” offers an ample range of possibilities beyond the regular tourist spots, and we could go on and on about the innumerable districts of Buenos Aires, but it’s better to list the places, groups and clubs that we recommend if you want to take an alternative look at the city.


Clubs


Podestá Súper Club de Copas

Armenia 1740, Palermo – Tel: 4832-2776
Electronica, ambient, indie pop, disco house and live bands.
(www.elpodesta.com.ar)

La Trastienda
Balcarce 460, San Telmo – Tel: 4342-7650
Club with music and theatre, plus various live shows.
(www.latrastienda.com)

Unione e Benevolenza
Perón 1362, Fri-Sat, midnight onwards
Home of the Pop City club night, organised by the indie label Ultrapop. Cool music and live shows by local groups.


Bars


Bukowski

Bartolomé Mitre 1525, Centro Capital, 11am-2am Mon-Thurs, 11am-4am Fri-Sat – Tel: 4372-2843
A bar frequented for its porteño atmosphere. Hosts a variety of music and alternative theatre.

La Nave De Les Sueños
Suipacha 842, Capital
A very modern indie bar run by an Argentinian cultural group. A good place for a drink and to enjoy cinema, theatre and music.

La Cigale
25 de Mayo 722, Retiro, opens 6pm Mon-Fri, from 8pm Sat
A modern bar with electronic music and DJs.

The Kilkenny
Reconquista 1000, Retiro, 5.30pm-6am Mon-Fri, 8pm-6am Sat-Sun – Tel: 4312-7291
An Irish bar with a good variety of beers. Often packed with both tourists and locals.

Plaza Serrano
A variety of bars, around the famous Placita de Serrano.
Serrano al 1500, Palermo


Record Shops


Abraxas

Santa Fe 1270, local 74

Oíd Mortales
Avda. Corrientes 1145 Local 17
(www.oidrecords.com)

Transilvania Records
Santa Fe 1440

Bonus track
Corrientes al 1200


Local Bands


El Otro Yo
Legendary indie rock band of the 1990s, still playing, and becoming more and more popular. Influenced by Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Yo La Tengo, etc.
(www.elotroyo.com)

Flopa Manza Minimal
An occasional trio formed by Florencia Lestani, Mariano “Manzana” Esaín and Ariel Minimal. Very melodic songs, from acoustic pop to rockier fare.
(www.flopamanzaminimal.com.ar)

Valle de Muñecas
Band led by former Menos Que Cero singer Mariano Esaín. Inspired by Buzzcocks, the Beatles and the Who, amongst others.

Francisco Bochatón
Ex Peligrosos Gorriones. Francisco is now more dedicated to indie pop, and delights us with his outstanding tunes.
(www.francisco-bochaton.com.ar)

Pez
Rock band led by Ariel Minimal.
(www.pezapesta.com.ar)

Jaime Sin Tierra
(www.jaimesintierra.com.ar)

Postes
Hernán Cabeza (your ITG author) and Rodolfo Rosende. Lo-fi pop duo, both members of Opel along with Maximiliano Müller and Lionel Simijoski. Currently missing in action. Will we return to play live? Under which name?
(www.postespop.com.ar)
(www.opelpop.com.ar)


Miscellaneous


MALBA (Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires)

Excellent modern building that houses young interesting art and culture. Cinema, literature, fine arts, a designer shop, guided tours, and a bar.
(www.malba.org.ar)

Centro Cultural Rojas
Av. Corrientes 2038 – Tel: (054-11) 4954-5521 / 4954-5523
Diverse activities programmed by the University of Buenos Aires. Visual arts, science and technology, cinema and video, circus, choir and orchestra, dance, music, experimental societies and theatre.
(www.rojas.uba.ar)

Centro Cultural General San Martín
Sarmiento 1551 – Tel: (054-11) 4374-1252 / 1259
This centre, run by the secretary of culture of the government of Buenos Airies, hosts exhibitions of traditional and avant guarde art. Music, theatre, cinema, various courses and conferences.
(www.ccgsm.gov.ar)

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If you'd like to recommend a club, bar, record shop, band or any indie delight for inclusion in the Indie Travel Guide, please email us. If we've included a link to your band/shop etc, it would be lovely if you could link back to us. Thank you!

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