La Hora del Vermút: An Insider's Guide to Aperitivo Hour in Buenos Aires
Brought to Buenos Aires at the turn of the 20th century by the city’s first Italian and Spanish immigrants, la hora del vermút (literally, “vermouth hour”) is a Porteño institution. It’s a leisurely time, often in the afternoon, when locals congregate in casual bars and cafés to drink vermút: an aromatized, fortified wine flavored with herbs and spices.
Here, gyde Sebastian gives you the scoop on where to have this pre-dinner indulgence in Buenos Aires, from renovated Belle Époque mansions-turned-cafés to next-generation bars.
Tucked within a traditional corner in Centro—where the aristocratic elite and the city’s newcomers once met for tango soirées in the early 1900s—this restored bar notable is history reimagined. First built in 1879, the building was revived in 2015 and transformed into Los Galgos by chef Julián Díaz and designer-illustrator Flor Capella, creators of Bar 878, the first-ever speakeasy in Buenos Aires. Not only are the boquerónes delectable and the vermút sodas and charcuterie plates top-notch, but the nostalgic ambiance is downright magical. Order from the wooden bar in the bustling downstairs or head up to the intimate second-floor—your perk is a dreamy view of Buenos Aires, best enjoyed at sunset when the lamp posts are agleam.
Los Galgos; Avenida Callao 501
This hip new haunt in bohemian Chacarita is a fresh take on a Porteño classic. Housed in a 1930s-era structure that was once home to an Italian family, La Fuerza is a laidback outpost open from morning until late night. Not only does it tout the first-ever vermút produced in the Andes (each bottle comes replete with over 40 botanicals grown in the foothills of Mendoza), it packs a serious punch for cocktail connoisseurs on the hunt for the next great libation. Both red and white vermút are on tap—made from malbec and torrontés grapes, respectively—and are prepared with a splash of soda water and a lemon or orange.
La Fuerza; Avenida Dorrego 1409
As one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, San Telmo’s alluring cobblestone streets claims many of the most storied cafés in Buenos Aires. On any given afternoon at Café Rivas—a bar and restaurant housed within an elegant, centuries-old mansion replete with blossoming bougainvillea on its façade—it’s common to find a group of multi-generational locals gathered, fervently reading the country’s La Nación newspaper over vermút. A pre-fixe menu is with Argentine classics like milanesa and sweet treats like medialunas is best enjoyed while seated at the curved wooden bar or one of the two-seat tables tucked within the intimate second-floor balcony. Bonus: go on Friday or Saturday evening to enjoy live piano performances.
Café Rivas; Estados Unidos 302
Photo by Agustin Bertero Esquina for La Fuerza.