Cafés y Bares San Telmo

The streets of San Telmo are lined with places and bars full of history. When walking through this legendary neighborhood, which was the first in the city, you can feel the essence of the people who lived and traveled there. The cafes and bars, called “notable” by the Government of the City of Buenos Aires, are the living history that invites us to visit them. Below, we will describe each of them.

British Bar

This bar, located on the corner of Brasil (399) and Defensa, opened its doors in 1928. At that time, it was called “La Cosechera”. But the frequent presence of English immigrants and former combatants from the First World War, who lived in a nearby boarding house popularly called “the tenements of the English” (see note: Av. Caseros), made it their meeting place. favorite. Since the 1930s, the British Bar became the emblem of Parque Lezama. At their tables it seems as if time did not pass. A few years ago the entire neighborhood mobilized to prevent its closure.

Bar El Federal

The building where the “El Federal” coffee bar is located dates back to the 19th century. It is located on the corner of Perú and Carlos Calvo 599, in the heart of San Telmo. Previously, it was used as a warehouse with a beverage outlet, a classic Buenos Aires commercial typology from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The two rooms that make up El Federal, with traditional furniture, have an interesting Buenos Aires exhibition, which includes old advertisements, photographs from the 20s and 30s. Objects that mobilize our memory such as old tricycles, old bottles of aperitifs, glass siphons of color with a metallic head and paintings related to figures of city music (such as the incomparable Roberto Goyeneche, Edmundo Rivero, Homero Manzi, Osvaldo Pugliese and Héctor “Chupita” Stamponi, among others) determine its warm spirit, which is reinforced with the attention of its staff of young men and women.

The low bar, which stars in the first room, allows you to eat the house specialties (picadas, omelettes, loins and special sandwiches, homemade turkey ravioli or strudel) in a very comfortable sitting position.

The hippo


From a strategic location in the San Telmo neighborhood, it provides cordiality and good service. The northwest corner of Brasil and Defensa presents a three-story building built when its history was just beginning in the 20th century. Since the eve of the Centennial of the May Revolution, that is, since 1909, in the premises of Brasil 401 and Defensa there has always been a café, originally called “La Estrella del Sur” with the type of warehouse and beverage outlet.


El Hipopótamo offers a varied menu, from pizzas, special sandwiches and snacks to house temptations, such as dulce de leche or apple pancakes.


The interior of the bar maintains a certain darkness, where different tiled posters from old advertisements stand out as color accents, such as: Campari Aperitif (blue, yellow white), “Prefer a Gardini, the best machine for sewing and embroidery” (red and yellow) and “Cigarettes 43. Free of all trust” (blue, red and white).


In this area, some scenes from the films “Despabílate amor” by Eliseo Subiela, and “Las cosas del Quiero II” directed by Jaime Chavarri, with the participation of Ángela Molina, Manuel Bandera and Darío Grandinetti, among other figures, were filmed.​

The poetry

It was a reference area for the poets of the Generation of '60. Its history begins in 1982, when the poet Rubén Derlis inaugurated, on the corner of Chile 502 and Bolívar, the “Café La Poesía”. The writer Derlis belonged to the Generation of '60 and in six years he turned the bar into a reference area for this movement that had Juan Gelman, Francisco Paco Urondo, Olga Orozco, Alejandra Pizarnik, among others, as the most influential exponents. of that current. He also brought together the new generation of poets pushed by the nascent democracy. It was an undisputed reference place of the time.

During the six years that followed until its closure, Café La Poesía was the headquarters of the artistic bohemia of San Telmo, the favorite neighborhood of intellectuals. Here the “Group of Seven” was founded and it was the meeting place of UNCIPAR (Union of Reduced Step Filmmakers). In addition, the “Lunfarda Poetry” cycle and the various police and jazz literature meetings were held, as well as narrative and poetry workshops.

At one of his tables, Horacio Ferrer (Illustrious Citizen of the City of Buenos Aires since 1992 and of Montevideo since 2002) met Lucía Michelli, to whom he wrote a poem called Lulú, which would later be transformed into a waltz. by Raúl Garello. Her first verses read: Do you remember the La Poesía café / that magical night in San Telmo? / Buenos Aires engineered our meeting, / so romantic and sweet Lulú. At the first table entering through the corner, right next to the window, a plaque crowns the wood with the dedication to this eternal couple.

After several years of business that did not prosper, in 2008 Café La Poesía reopened its doors on the same corner in Buenos Aires and with the same characteristics.

The Querandi


In 1920 it opened its doors and still preserves its furniture. On the corner of Perú 302 and Moreno is this legendary café, on the site that Don Juan de Garay, after the second founding of the City, gave to Don Alonso Gómez del Mármol in 1583, located in the Historic Center of the City. . In 1920, El Querandí opened its doors, one of the favorite refuges for students from the neighboring Colegio Nacional Buenos Aires until it had to close in the 1980s, like so many other bars. Fortunately, several years later it was recovered with its Thonet chair furniture intact and its walls covered with its classic dark cedar paneling. It was restored in 1992, and declared a “Notable Bar” and “Living Testimony of Citizen Memory.” Its space has very high ceilings, Solomonic columns, dark paneling, details that make it a Buenos Aires classic.


This cafe comes with different offers depending on the time of day. At noon, a large illuminated space with tables arranged with large space between them, elegant and comfortable. With reserved space for business lunches, receptionist service, executive and à la carte menu options, weekly suggestions and a menu that is renewed each season.


At night, a dinner show with a tango show, international cuisine and an intimate and traditional atmosphere of authentic tango music.

South Bar

The bar is so named because it is located on the old southern boundary. In 1967 it opened its doors, on the corner of Unidos 299 and Balcarce (located in the Historic Center and part of the Official Tourist Circuit of San Telmo), southeastern limit of the city ejido when Don Juan de Garay founded it for the second time in 1580. Decorated in an intimate way, with Viennese-style furniture and black and white checkerboard limestone floors, the Bar Sur is a good place for those who want to listen to and watch tango dancing every night until dawn.

He is a pioneer in the nighttime show in Buenos Aires and has offered his traditional and participatory show every day for 45 years, continuing from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. The house specialties are: tapas, pizzas, empanadas, chicken and loin casseroles, and vegetable pies.