San Nicolás is the most central neighborhood of the City of Buenos Aires, home to the Obelisk, the Teatro Colón and Corrientes Street. Together with Monserrat, they were the first neighborhoods in Buenos Aires to be populated.
The neighborhood took its current name around 1720, from the construction of the church of San Nicolás de Bari, located on the corner of the current Carlos Pellegrini and Corrientes Avenue.
The 20th century brought with it the transformation of the City, and with the layout of the North Diagonal and the widening of Corrientes Avenue, the church was demolished and rebuilt in its current location, on Santa Fe Avenue, outside the neighborhood to which two Centuries before he had given it his name.
Within this historic neighborhood you can visit several bars designated as “notable” by the Government of the City of Buenos Aires. Historical bars with their own imprint that house a large part of the memory of this city.
Below we invite you to learn about each of them:
Le Caravelle Caffe
Lavalle, the first pedestrian street in the city of Buenos Aires, was for a long time the street of cinemas. Precisely around those times, in 1962, Le Caravelle Caffe opened its doors, at Lavalle 726, just meters from the corner with Maipú.
Today the Café retains its space as it did then: a feeling of placidity and timeless familiarity. On the right wall, four identical clocks give us the time in Buenos Aires, Rome, Madrid and Athens.
Le Caravelle has two bars, the left one corresponds to the bar and sandwich shop, and the sale of coffee beans or ground. Behind her three photos illuminate the spirit of the house: one of Piazza Navona with the Fontana dei Fiume, with our River Plate included; another from the largest fountain in Rome: the Fontana di Trevi, and finally one from the steps of Piazza España.
The bar on the right corresponds to the cafeteria itself, its display shows exquisite croissants made of fat or butter. Here it is consumed standing. In this sector, a Lagorio espresso machine produces non-stop. The coffee cups, as well as the paper napkins, have the Le Caravelle logo printed on them. It is a must to taste their spectacular cappuccino.
Among its illustrious visitors were the painters Guido Cinti and Dante Anteo Savi, the engraver and architect Alfredo Bollón, the photographer Silvia Troian, the “bon vivant” Guido Gazzoli, and the writers Michele De Nichilo and Claudio Sáez, among many other lovers of good coffee, they enjoyed this place.
The Brighton Bar
The New Brighton, located at 645 Sarmiento Street, still preserves the atmosphere of the “Belle Époque” of Buenos Aires. It used to be a tailoring shop of excellence where everyone from former presidents to the kings of Spain were served.
Years after its founding, in 1908, the famous Clark's restaurant, owned by the beloved and endearing chef Carlos Alberto “Gato” Dumas, also operated there. At the entrance there is a splendid cedar bar, adorned with columns of fine joinery work, topped by bronze Corinthian capitals. Above are three carved ostrich feathers, a gift from the Prince of Wales, one of the most elegant men of his time. In the afternoon the grand piano plays and it is populated by a mostly male audience, while at noon and at night you can eat international cuisine in an extremely elegant room.
Boston City Cafe
Boston City café is located on 165 Florida Street, inside the General Güemes Gallery, which was inaugurated in 1915. This gallery is also known as Pasaje Güemes, and is part of a magnificent building with aesthetic influences of art nouveau. The building has an interior pedestrian passage, 116 meters long, that connects Florida and San Martín streets and is considered the first building in our country built entirely of reinforced concrete and one of the first skyscrapers in the City of Buenos Aires. . During part of his fifteen-month stay in Buenos Aires, between 1929 and 1931, the French writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry lived in one of the apartments on the sixth floor, who wrote the book “Night Flight” there.
Currently, and for almost fifty years, the Boston City café, open Monday to Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., serves a large downtown clientele, made up of actors, athletes, fine artists, office workers, executives and general public.
The interior of Boston City has an important circular central bar with a glass top and marble front with geometric decorations in bas-relief. The other bar, lateral and straight, made of granite and wood, is for drinks. A small, elevated slope allows another perspective from its nine tables. From there, through a straight staircase, you reach the upper level, which in its floor plan repeats the shapes of the two aforementioned bars.
Coffee with milk with croissants, pasta frola, cornstarch alfajores, palmeritas, bay biscuit, apple and ricotta cake, along with crumb sandwiches, toasted ones, and those with black, French, Arabic or pebete bread, are part of the classic Buenos Aires offering from Boston City.
From the Café, in addition to the magnificent access to the upper floors, which have an entrance on Bartolomé Miter Street, you can enjoy the Güemes Gallery, with its magnificent Botticino marble pilasters imported from Italy, the 36 stained glass windows with imitation gold bronze carpentry , the elevators, the luminaires and its two interior domes, which made it one of the buildings that has been protected by the City Government with structural registration.
Café Los Galgos
This classic café by the Ramos brothers is located on the ground floor of the building on the northeast corner of Lavalle and Callao Avenue 501, which was originally the residence of the Lezama family.
It began its activity in 1930 (previously it had operated there, first a branch of the Singer sewing machine company and then a pharmacy). The premises have been kept in a good state of conservation, with the necessary changes for the different activities depending on the season.
It was an Asturian immigrant who set up the “Los Galgos” warehouse and beverage outlet. In 1948, another Spaniard, Don José Ramos, acquired the premises and respected his name.
The sober and at the same time careful attention offered at Los Galgos, together with its very particular climate (with its wooden chairs, the two porcelain greyhounds, the elegant bronze faucet in the shape of a swan, the swinging doors, the portrait of the inevitable Carlos Gardel embedded in the boiserie, and the paintings with surreal dog portraits, make him the favorite of many Buenos Aires residents when eating a good special sandwich on French bread, or a triple of toasted ham and cheese, having a coffee with milk with croissants with fat or with bread and butter; a beer, or enjoy accompanied by a classic vermouth with a triolé (with cheese, olives and peanuts).
Artists such as Enrique Santos Discépolo and Tania, neighbors of the café (they lived in Callao at 800), attended there; Julio De Caro, true renovator of tango; Enrique Cadícamo and Aníbal Troilo; Also regular clients were: Dr. Arturo Frondizi, president of the Nation between 1958 and 1962; Dr. Oscar Alende, remembered governor of the Province of Buenos Aires and founder of the Intransigent Party; Dr. Ricardo Balbín; the actor Osvaldo Miranda; the magnificent, and forgotten, writer Abelardo Arias, National Prize for Literature with his novel Polvo y espanto; the pianist and composer Mario Valdéz, who used to meet for coffee with the trumpeter Rubén Barbieri (composer of the music for the film “El Perseguidor”, by Osias Wilensky, and brother of the famous “Gato”); the great Martín Karadagián, creator of the remembered television program Titanes en el Ring; the painter and sculptor Santiago Cogorno and the Rosario journalist and writer Reynaldo Sietecase, among many others.
Blue Sea Coffee
The multi-story apartment building on the southeast corner of Rodríguez Peña and Tucumán (1700), the work of architect Alejandro Enquin, gives way to the Mar Azul café on part of its ground floor. This business has an original and simple atmosphere characteristic of the late 40's and early 50's. It has an area covered with painted glass, typical of the time, and of which there are not many examples left in the City of Buenos Aires.
Here, the poet Arturo Cuadrado commented, he had been inspired to write his poem Forbidden to Look, where he says: “Blue sea. Blue sky. White sail…”
Its previous owners were Maximino Gallo and Francisco González. Currently the establishment is run by Carlos Encina Alarcón, an experienced man in the union, with twenty years of service at the beloved Británico Bar.
Among its varied clientele, Mar Azul is frequented by students from the neighboring Dante Alighieri Association and the Faculty of Law of the University of Salvador.
We also remember, among its regulars, the neighbor writer Martha Mercader; to the socialist deputy Norberto La Porta; to the journalist and poet Enrique Symns; to Dr. Ana Suárez (in her years as a law student), first coordinator of the Commission for the Protection and Promotion of Notable Cafes, Bars, Billiards and Confectioneries of the City of Buenos Aires; to the writer and poet Carlos Penelas; to the prominent engravers Anteo Silvio Savi and Cacho Gualco; to the cartoonist and illustrator Carlos Panichelli and the writer Gabriel Sánchez Sorondo, author of “Buenos Aires popular”, a recommendable and beautiful guide to popular bars, cafes and restaurants in our city.
The Thibon family was dedicated to the cultivation of vines in their native France and brought their knowledge on the subject to Buenos Aires in 1935. Three years later, in 1938, he opened the café that bears his last name and stands out to this day for its wine cellar. But that's not all: ground and roasted coffee also became a classic to be drunk in a pleasant atmosphere with history. It is located at 723 Montevideo Street.
Federico Lorenzo, third generation, when he was fifteen years old he began to learn the trade of coffee roasting and at 20, when he finished colimba, he got fully into the business. It was in 1975 when his father delegated control to him and today, at 71 years old, he is in charge of the meticulous process of coffee roasting and preserving the secrets throughout the generations.
This classic bar in the City Center is one of the favorite places for all those looking for a meeting point near the banking area of the City or as a lunch spot for employees from the surrounding offices. Being located on the strategic corner of Av. de Mayo 599 and Perú, the bar has always witnessed the incessant movement of this area, close to the Plaza de Mayo, in the heart of the city of Buenos Aires.
Inaugurated on September 28, 1954, “London City” was a refuge for poets, artists, politicians, who traveled from the Municipal Palace to the Deliberative Council building, journalists who entered and left the neighboring building of the newspaper La Prensa and the Buenos Aires residents. and tourists walking and working along the historic Avenida de Mayo.
Julio Cortázar was one of the many illustrious attendees at the London City Confectionery. Precisely, his novel “The Awards” (1960) was planned and written at one of his tables, serving at the same time as a central place in the plot of the work.
The store is part of the building where the famous Gath & Chavez store once operated. Today, part of this historic property, which does not include the ground floor premises, belongs to the company IRSA, which rents its offices to the Government of the City of Buenos Aires.