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Cochabamba 444 Tango Milonga

An authentic milonga in San Telmo

Red Hot (Leggings) on the Tango Milonga Dance Floor

For an authentic tango experience in Buenos Aires, there are many options beyond the professional Argentine Tango Shows. For a different side of Tango, head to Cochabamba 444, the San Telmo milonga where the city’s best tango dancers come to strut across the dance floor with people of all ages, walks of life, and nationalities. The bar is dimly lit by chandeliers with yellow bulbs, giving an aura of antiquity that takes you back to Buenos Aires in its Golden Age of high-society and sizzling tango bars. It’s located on a quiet street just three blocks from Plaza Dorrego, where the Sunday antiques fair is held.

Tango dancers at the Cochabamba 444 milonga in San Telmo

Buenos Aires tango lessons

If you’d like to try out your dancing shoes, tango lessons are offered Thursday and Friday nights at 8pm at Cochabamba 444 (arrive a little late and there’ll be no problem – this is Argentina, after all). The teacher gives the class in Spanish, but if your Spanish isn’t great have no fear, because there is bound to be some English-speaking expat or even an Argentine who will happily translate for you as you whirl around the floor (or trip over your own feet, as the case may be). There may be better places in Buenos Aires for instruction on dancing tango than Cochabamba 444, but this milonga is really known for is its atmosphere and music.

Dance the night away, or just watch and enjoy

If you just want to come to watch the dancers and enjoy the music, you can show up around 10pm or 10:30pm and grab a table near the modest bar in the back. The bar serves bottles of cheap wine and things to munch on like empanadas, and picadas (plates of meats, cheese, olives etc), all at very low prices, even by Buenos Aires standards. Overall, the bar is populated by Argentines who are serious about tango, but there are certainly some foreigners on the scene too.

Once the music starts, even the most unassuming of patrons will whisk out on the dance floor and dazzle you with their grace, covert sensuality, and intensity. There’s a method to the madness, though: the culture of tango is outlined in strict rules that you can only learn from being a part of it. For example, the men always ask the women for a dance, and sometimes it’s done subtly with just a raised eyebrow. And once a couple is dancing tango, they will continue as partners for an entire song set.

A traditional Tango band belts out some classic tunes

Cochabamba 444: a performance worth coming for

Toward the end of the night, Cochabamba 444 will typically offer some sort of performance. It’s usually a traditional live tango band, who will bang out classic tunes with style on a stand-up bass, bandoneon (the type of accordion used in tango), and piano. Sometimes, however, you might get lucky and see a hilarious puppet show or a singer belting out some soul tunes.

Make note that Thursday night is arguably the best night to go, although you will probably also see some spectacular dancing and live music on Fridays too.

Make note, dress is casual but it’s best not to wear jeans and sneakers, as tango culture is somewhat more refined and traditional. You may not easily meet other travelers or Argentines at Cochabamba, but you will certainly observe a beautiful dance, authentic tango culture, and stirring musical performances.

[Article written by Rachel Singer]

Location of Cochabamba 444

Cochabamba 444, between Defensa & Bolivar, San Telmo

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Comments

7 Responses to “Cochabamba 444 Tango Milonga”

  1. Alan Patrick on June 22nd, 2007 4:26 pm

    Thanks Rachel for an excellent first post here at the Buenos Aires Argentina Guide! :)

    Glad to have you, as a tango fan, on the team, because to be honest, tango really is my major weak spot when it comes to Buenos Aires knowledge.

    Anyway, looking forward to having more posts from you, be they about tango, or other interesting places in Buenos Aires.
    Thanks again,

    Alan

    [Reply]

  2. Subjuntivo on June 23rd, 2007 12:58 am

    Oh, I’d like to contribute, but I wouldn’t know how…

    If something comes to mind, I’ll let you know!

    Keep it up!

    Bestest,
    S.

    [Reply]

  3. Diva on June 26th, 2007 9:24 am

    I have a controversial style, would that work?

    [Reply]

  4. Alan Patrick on June 26th, 2007 9:14 pm

    Subjuntivo,

    I’d love a regular reader/commenter like yourself to contribute. I’ll send you an email about it now. Thanks!

    Diva,

    I would also love you to contribute to my blog, controversial or not. You can even plug your tours all that you like in any post you make… maybe we can talk about it at the Cookie event this week? (assuming you are going, and you are serious about contributing?)

    Cheers guys,

    Alan

    [Reply]

  5. diva on June 27th, 2007 10:54 am

    Hablamos en el evento. espero que vayas 10 y media en punto
    hast aluego
    yo

    [Reply]

  6. Alan Patrick on June 27th, 2007 12:27 pm

    Bueno Che, nos vemos alla, 10 y media – tiempo ingles ;)

    [Reply]

  7. guy on August 6th, 2007 4:23 am

    we’re booking an apartment in san telmo for october. thanks for your help finding coachabamba. we’ll stop by.

    [Reply]

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