Cafés y Bares en Barrio Norte, Recoleta y Retiro

Continuing with the tour of the notable bars of Buenos Aires, this time we delve into those present in Barrio Norte, Recoleta and Retiro. These neighborhoods boast the most exquisite architecture in the city. When walking through them we can find palaces and European-style buildings, and they invite us to remember the great personalities who walked their streets. The cafes and bars, called “notable” by the Government of the City of Buenos Aires, are witnesses of this living history that invites us to visit them. Below, we will describe each of them.

Barbarian Bar

This bar is located at Tres Sargentos 415 in the Retiro neighborhood. It was founded by the plastic artist Luis Felipe Noé in 1969, as a demonstration or “a cultural provocation”, as the New Figuration artistic movement to which he belonged used to say, together with Ernesto Deira, Rómulo Macció and Jorge de la Vega, who From the beginning it became the symbol of an entire generation. The glass on the façade was painted by Jorge de la Vega and the interior, in boiserie, with a wooden bar counter and parquet floor, reminds us that this was the first pub that the city of Buenos Aires had. Today it is still a meeting place for intellectuals and artists. Renovated a few months ago, the walls are striking at first sight, now entirely painted in matte black to neutralize the architectural box and highlight the collection that includes pieces by great figures such as Jorge de la Vega, Roberto Aizemberg, Líbero Badii, Teresio Fara, Ernesto Bertani , Quinquela Martin, Leopoldo Presas, Rómulo Macció, Luis Seoane, Yuyo Noé, Antonio Berni, Marcelo Bonevardi, Alberto Greco, César Paternosto, Zulema Maza, Raúl Soldi and Germán Tessarolo, among many more. This black color was applied to boiserie (carpentry), walls and ceiling, generating a very unique spatiality, in contrast to the Slavonian oak floor of the entire house, which was also preserved.

The Bárbaro Bar is anchored in an environment of iconic architecture of the Buenos Aires landscape. At 442 Tres Sargentos is the Sánchez, Lagos and De la Torre building, the same studio that Kavanagh did, blocks away. From the same sidewalk you can see a section of the fabulous Harrods stores, and towards Alem Street emerges the Carriage Market, soon to open in the brick complex designed by Emilio Agrelo (author of the Galerías Pacífico, one block away) beginning of last century. Beyond it was the Eastern Gallery, and the beloved Florida Garden, Tancat and the Dada Bar are still there.

Bar Hotel Alvear


It is a traditional place in Buenos Aires, elegant and distinguished. In the heart of the Recoleta neighborhood and along the aristocratic Alvear Avenue (1891) is located this exclusive space of the Alvear Palace Hotel. Decorated with original French-style boiserie (carpentry), since 1932 it has been a meeting point for businessmen and personalities of Buenos Aires high society.


The Lobby Bar of the Hotel Alvear is a traditional place in Buenos Aires, elegant and distinguished. It is inside the Alvear Palace, one of the five-star hotels in the City of Buenos Aires, an example of Buenos Aires' architectural heritage, with eleven floors and five basements, inspired by the model imposed by the Ritz hotel chain, which combined the beautiful forms of the French 18th century with all the comfort and equipment requirements of modern technology.


It is an ideal place to enjoy cocktails, champagne, or any other drink. The bar has one of the most complete selections of cognacs and whiskeys. The sandwiches and appetizers are an exquisite complement.


Numerous national and international personalities passed through its round marble tables, with beautiful candles, such as the Prince of Wales; the kings of Spain Juan Carlos and Sofia; the authors and singers Charles Aznavour, Joan Manuel Serrat and Eric Clapton; the actors and actresses Vittorio Gasman, Sofía Loren, Sharon Stone, Antonio Banderas, Catherine Deneuve, Sean Connery, Charlton Heston and Geraldine Chaplin; presidents Jacques Chirac and Nelson Mandela; the writers Arthur Miller and Rafael Alberti; athletes Oscar “Ringo” Bonavena and Michael Schumacher; and personalities from the world of fashion and perfumery such as Kenzo, Paloma Picasso and Carolina Herrera.


The Alvear Palace Hotel Bar, without a doubt, is a citizen luxury. Formal or elegant casual attire is required to enter.

Bar Saint Moritz

The history of this bar tells that its tables listened to the dialogues of Leonor Acevedo and her son, Jorge Luis Borges, neighbors of the establishment. The Retiro neighborhood, at Paraguay 802, corner Esmeralda, has one of its most traditional sweet shops: Saint Moritz. Its name evokes one of the best-known winter resorts in Switzerland.

In Buenos Aires, the Saint Moritz confectionery opened its doors in 1959. In a short time it gained the support of an important clientele. The access through Esmeralda was the one used for sales to the public. Doughs, sweet bread and crumb sandwiches were some of their specialties. This service was provided until 1986.

The spacious hall of Saint Moritz is modulated by four central columns surrounded by mirrors. The square tables are covered with red tablecloths, and on these other yellow ones with the name of the confectionery embroidered in red. The chairs are upholstered in the same color. The walls, above the paneling, present several posters of Saint Moritz and drawings from different places in France. Behind the main bar, where the cash register is, the different bottles of whiskey appear. The other bar, which was the confectionery's public sales bar, keeps the roll holder as a witness, including the paper with which the pastry shop's “treasures” were wrapped.

In the 60s and 70s, this café was chosen to have tea after visiting the numerous art galleries in the area.

Anibal Troilo Corner


In this bar located at 1500 Paraguay Street in Barrio Norte, the former Café del Carmen operated, a place where "Pichuco" was immortalized with his gatherings and, according to Buenos Aires legend, served as a source of inspiration for several tangos.


This bar had previously been founded by the Asturian brothers Pedro, Pepe and Faustino Fernández, who bought a premises that in turn was a warehouse and beverage outlet. In 1975 it was declared a Historical Monument and in 2014 the government of the City of Buenos Aires included it in the list of notable Buenos Aires bars.


Nowadays it looks renewed but retains the same mystique as always. From Monday to Friday it works as a typical Buenos Aires bar and seasonally offers musical shows on the weekends, with a live performance by a bandoneon player. The place is decorated with more than 300 paintings, including a collection of portraits of Troilo, photographs of the River Plate club (of which Pichuco was a fan), pennants, trophies and drawings, among other objects.


The regulars, generally young university students and many tourists, find in this corner a corner for lunch, dinner with the family or simply having a coffee listening to music.​

The Connecting Rod

Located in one of the most beautiful corners of the Recoleta neighborhood, on Av. Presidente Manuel Quintana 600 (one hundred meters from the Iglesia del Pilar and the Cemetery), this has been the preferred meeting place for several generations of Argentines since 1942.

History says that in 1950 a group of speed worshipers, after exhausting the patience of others, was expelled from the place they frequented for their meetings. And what better idea than to dispel the bad moment with a dive “and we look for a new place to land.” The adventure was short for one of them since the crank of his car said enough at the corner of Junín and Quintana. At that time, a certain “Bitito” Mieres got out of his car and gathered his companions, Jorge Malbran, Ernesto Torquinst, and others, settling in this small bar which they baptized “La Biela fusion” first, and then simply as “ La Biela”, the name with which he became world famous and which is a trademark registered by many motorsport lovers.

The Argentine Sports Automobile Association had no headquarters, and so these fans called La Biela “The Secretariat.” Later, successors of that first group such as Charly Menditeguy, Rolo Alzaga, Eduardo Copello, Gastón Perkins and many more, were witnesses and protagonists of the most fearsome fashion that filled the sidewalks of Quintana, Ayacucho and Alvear: the “PICADAS”, a noisy monster , a provocateur of adrenaline and curiosity from the sixties.

From here the story is known. The nut trend is represented on the walls of La Biela and the place is attended by illustrious people, acquiring worldwide fame. Its tables have been visited by countless tourists, politicians, businessmen, athletes and many more. Characters with Royal or Democratic power, such as the Kings of Spain or the Premiers of various countries. Artists of the quality of Adolfo Bioy Casares, Ernesto Sábato, Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, Joan Manuel Serrat, Joaquín Sabina, Facundo Cabral, Pérez Celis. Actors and actresses of all media. Formula 1 racers from different eras, such as Jackie Stewart or Emerson Fitipaldi. Famous footballers and an endless list.

Another bronze plaque placed at the entrance informs us that in 1999, La Biela was declared a “Site of Cultural Interest” by the Legislature of the City of Buenos Aires. To what has been said we can add the photographs autographed by José Froilán González or Clay Regazzonni, a drawing made by hand by Fabrizio Ferrari, grandson of the “Commendatore” Enzo Ferrari, when he was a child, a painting donated by the last descendant of the Lamborghini family where see the brand's most luxurious car, and more. The most recent examples of the visit of the famous film director Francis Ford Coppola, whose first night out on his visit to Buenos Aires was to La Biela and the sayings of the actor Robert Duvall “We always go to La Biela, which is my favorite place in everyone. It is a great corner, the coffee, the waiters.”​