After-Hours Art Installations & Pizza for Breakfast: Buenos Aires according to a Late-Night Savant
A graphic designer with his finger on the pulse of BA's underground arts scene, Eugenio is the kind of Porteño with whom you chat for ten minutes, whether about his favorite local bands or his cycling adventures in Tierra del Fuego, and feel an immediate, effortless rapport.
He also happens to be the kind who knows which buzzy Palermo corner makes the ultimate happy hour perch (hint: one where you can soak up the sidewalk vibes and some of the best street art in the barrio). You won't find a local more knowledgeable about late-night snack shacks, word-of-mouth art soirées, or the capital's recent craft beer revolution (move over Malbec!).
Generous and expansive as ever, Eugenio filled us in on how to mix culture and cocktails, BA's best Thursday night dance party, and where the locals do "breakfast" after an energetic evening out.
What's your go-to destination for a distinctly Porteño night out?
Many visitors are surprised by the concept of the cultural center as a nighttime destination. It's a whole different way to go out—much more interesting than being at a bar because you get to experience art in a kind of party atmosphere. You might see an exhibition or an installation by an emerging artist, but it's not at all like being at a museum. You'll be listening to music; perhaps you'll be dancing or sitting on the floor. You're relaxing, but you're also very inspired. It's like being inside an art show. It's a natural high.
Say you're in the mood to go dancing—but somewhere with "onda" (not a sprawling, soulless club). Do you have a favorite place to let loose?
Definitely Club 69. It's part of Niceto Club in Palermo, and it's been around forever. It's so classic—it never fails. I think I go almost every Thursday night. I really enjoy the performances, the DJs, the music, the vibe. And afterwards (when I'm dancing, I last for three hours, tops!), I would go to Kentucky to eat pizza standing up. God bless Kentucky. Luckily the one in Plaza Serrano is very close to Niceto, and it's open 24 hours. At the end of a long night out in BA, you can't go to sleep until you have breakfast.
Where would you go for a more easygoing night among friends? Or even a date?
Many people don't know that MALBA has a screening room where they show late-night classics. There I've seen Hitchcock, Kubrick, David Lynch, Polanksi. How often do you get to see Psycho on the big screen? I saw Metropolis there with live music. People don't know it exists, and they show movies almost every night. The film cycles are curated by different experts, and everything is always very well thought through. Sometimes they show documentaries, sometimes movies from the '60s and '70s. Generally the focus is on indie films and the classics—movies that generate good conversation.
In your opinion, which of BA's neighborhoods is the most culturally compelling for after-hours explorers?
I live here so maybe I'm a bit biased, but walking around Palermo you get to experience everything: the art in the street, the hairstyles, the clothes, the restaurants, the energy. But the other neighborhood I love is San Telmo. It will always be the nostalgic part of the city. There you have one traditional bar after the next. It's laidback, bohemian—a place where you can connect to the colonial history of Buenos Aires. If Palermo is trendy and hip, San Telmo is much more romantic. You have to experience both.
What advice would you give to a friend planning his or her first few days (or nights) in Buenos Aires? Is there an establishment or experience that should be on everyone's list?
For me it's more about walking the city with an open mind and an open heart. You have to have an open heart in Buenos Aires. Pack your phone with the music you love, and just walk. You don't have to confine yourself to Recoleta or Palermo. You can go to Almagro. You can go to Caballito or Belgrano. Because Buenos Aires is not just the cemeteries and the museums. It's the trees. It's the people. It's the old people. Buenos Aires is more of a feeling, you know?