Club Boutique (ex Club Museum)

July 8, 2007 by · 5 Comments 

Buenos Aires After-Office

All the shiny disco balls you could ever need - Club Museum, Buenos Aires

(Note: Museum has now been renamed “Club Boutique”)

(But most people still refer to it as Club Museum, so it’ll stay that way for most of this article!)

[Article written by Alan Epstein]

In a late-night city like Buenos Aires it isn’t hard to find a club that stays open until the crack of dawn, or an “after hours” party that will keep you dancing until 10am the next day. This is what makes Club Museum / Boutique in San Telmo so special: on Wednesdays, the people come pouring into this massive three-story club early, at around 7pm, for their “After Office” party.

Wednesday has traditionally been the midweek choice for “After-Office” parties, when the businessmen of downtown Buenos Aires loosen their ties and down a few cocktails. You don’t have to have a suit, tie and briefcase to attend Museum’s Wednesday night affair, but do come dressed the part. Shorts and sandals are frowned upon at the door.

Party revellers having a good time at Club Museum

Club Museum – Two-for-one happy “hour”

Happy hour begins at 7pm, and then until 10pm selected drinks are 2-for-1, with the food reasonably priced as well. Unusual for Buenos Aires nightclubs, there is no charge for entry at Museum until happy hour is over.

A wide variety of dining options… and sushi!

The variety of food is decent – you can have picadas, pizzas, capresse salad, or of course sushi, as this is Buenos Aires’ trendiest option. The sushi here is about as good as it is anywhere else in Buenos Aires. It’s the same-old-same with sushi in Argentina, everything is salmon and cream cheese, salmon and cream cheese… or you might get their version of a tuna roll, where they actually stick tuna from a can inside the sushi rice. It’s actually not that bad, but it’s a shocker to see if you are a real sushi connoisseur.

For a more typically Argentine choice, there is the Tabla de Quesos y Fiambres, which is a platter of meats and cheeses, including jamon crudo (cured ham) – unbelievably tasty and large enough for two to pick on, and a good amount to eat to not get bogged down for dancing.

Eating and drinking at Club Museum's after office party

What do Club Museum and the Eiffel Tower have in common?

The building is quite striking, and it really stands out from the rest in this part of San Telmo. The sheer size of Club Museum is  nothing short of overwhelming, having been designed by Gustave Eiffel, of Eiffel Tower fame! This old style French influence is apparent outside and in.

There is a huge cluster of giant disco balls hanging from the ceiling and large projection screens playing a mixture of liquor and fashion commercials, and also street scenes from across Europe. The floor is wide open in the middle with tables in the front and in the back. There are also tables to sit on at the perimeters of the second and third floors, which you need reservations to get.

Club Museum's big projection screen

Live Bands – first sit down and enjoy the show…

Club Museum puts on live bands most Wednesdays from around 9pm to 10pm. During this time it is probably more comfortatble to sit either on the second or third floor balconies so you can enjoy your food and the music simultaneously without losing your voice attempting to talk to your friends over the speakers. To ensure that you have a decent seat you can reserve a table in advance (see below for details), though to do so you should have at least 6 or 7 people in your party.

…then get on the dance floor

Once 10pm rolls around make your way down to the dance floor where the DJ will surely play every song Madonna has ever recorded. It may be true that Madonna sings about 15% of the songs played in Buenos Aires nightclubs, and Museum is no different. The mix at Museum is mostly 80s music and electronic, with some latin favorites thrown in.

When you are downstairs, remember that the Argentines require less personal space in general than in the United States (and perhaps in Europe too). Everybody is bumping into each other and amazingly nobody gets upset about it. It’s just the way it is in Buenos Aires. Restrain from getting angry and pushing back – this is just a cultural difference to get used to.

Museum is definitely the place to be on a Wednesday. Start at 7pm, leave before 3am (closing time), and still get up for work the next morning!

Dancing through the evening in Buenos Aires

Club Museum: Reservations

For advance reservations, you can contact Club Museum using the following details:

Online contact: Click here to inquire about the club online
Phone: 4611-5657 or 4632-9381 (between 10am and 6pm, Mondays to Fridays)

Location of Club Museum

Peru 535, between Venezuela & Mexico, San Telmo

Bar Seddon

July 1, 2007 by · 2 Comments 

A Notable San Telmo Bar

Inside Bar Seddon, Buenos Aires

A Buenos Aires afternoon is not complete without having coffee, drinks, or a meal in one of the city’s famous “notable cafes and bars”. A few years ago, a city government commission drew up a fairly comprehensive list of 53 notable bars and cafes and awarded them this special status due to either their historical, cultural or architectural importance to the city of Buenos Aires. Many of these establishments have been in operation since the nineteenth century, and upon entering one of them you are quickly transported back to the city’s aristocratic roots.

One picturesque member of this exclusive club of bars and cafes is Bar Seddon, a San Telmo hang-out that was converted into a bar from a nineteenth-century pharmacy.

A bar that takes you into the elegant past of Buenos Aires

If you stand still for a moment in Bar Seddon, you can almost pretend that you are in a salon among intellectuals, philosophers, and young lovers from a Buenos Aires of many years ago. The musty yellow lighting casts an antique glow over the mahogany wooden bar, which shines with the additional luster of candles distributed throughout the bar. Bar Seddon is impressive in its décor, which consists of statues of Roman goddess-like figures, big windows for gazing out into the street, and an original old black-and-white checkered tile floor.

The bar has two stories with plenty of wooden tables and comfortable seats where you can share a bottle of wine and spend hours talking, listening to the bar’s music selection, or enjoy a live musical performance on certain nights of the week.

Bar Seddon in San Telmo
[Photo Credit: Paula Moya]

Wet your whistle or appease your appetite

During the day the bar is open for lunch, and it’s a great place to relax with a coffee and pick up a magazine or a diario (newspaper) at the bar. On any night of the week at Bar Seddon you can find an eclectic mix of clientèle, ranging from grungy European backpackers to students from all over the world to porteños seeking a little bit of the laid-back San Telmo attitude.

On Wednesday nights the bar features live bossa nova acoustic guitar and vocals, and on Saturday nights you may find a rock/funk band that transports you from Buenos Aires to New York City. Also, if you are looking for a place to hold a meeting of any kind, you might want to come to Bar Seddon during the late afternoon to enjoy the warmth, good coffee, and relaxed atmosphere. If you like a drink or two, Seddon has a great 2-for-1 happy hour in the late afternoons.

Bar Seddon: Fancy a drink or ten?

If your belly is rumbling, the chef at Bar Seddon whips up traditional dishes such as costillitas de cerdo (pork ribs), bife de chorizo con pure de zapallo y hojas verdes (beef strip steak with pumpkin puree and fresh greens), homemade pizzas, soups, pastas, and minutas (usually milanesa sandwiches made from either meat, soy, or eggplant).

Bar Seddon – a second home in San Telmo

Seddon is one of those bars where you come once and you just keep coming, whether it’s the music, the food, the atmosphere, or the people that traps you. As for the service, it’s pleasant and personal. The family who owns Bar Seddon works hard to keep the place clean, friendly, and enjoyable for everyone.

They are promising new deals in the future for backpackers who are staying at hostels to get a free drink with their meals. Also, they are looking into having ‘world’ specialty nights, such as German or French night, to vary up their cooking and give Bar Seddon a more international appeal.

One of Buenos Aires' Notable Cafes/Bars

So grab your date for a candlelit dinner, bring your friends to see a beautiful renovation of a historic building, or simply cozy up to the bar with a magazine and a glass of wine and chat with the smiling bartender while you listen to some Latin tunes. Whatever mood you are in, whoever you are with, Bar Seddon is always a good place to feel the rhythm of San Telmo and imagine the Buenos Aires of a hundred years ago: all with a good bottle of Malbec red wine to liven up the conversation, of course.

Location of Bar Seddon

Defensa 695, on corner of Chile, San Telmo

Tel: 4342-3700

San Pedro Gonzalez Telmo Church

January 26, 2007 by · 3 Comments 

San Telmo’s Picturesque Church

You don’t have to be a Catholic to appreciate the beautiful colonial churches of Buenos Aires. God generally inspires some of the best architecture around, and in Buenos Aires it’s no different.

The San Pedro Gonzalez Telmo church is also known as the Nuestra Señora de Belén (Our Lady of Bethelehem) church. A good church can never have too many names.

A Little Church History

Some Jesuits named Blanqui, Bautista, Primoli and Schmidt designed the original and kicked off the building in 1734. That makes it one of the oldest churches in the city (but not the oldest, which is the San Ignacio church, just off Plaza de Mayo). The church’s architecture was then added to and restored a fair few times up to the present, which accounts for it’s lovely eclectic style. By the book, its style is ‘neo-colonial,’ but can also be described as ‘fancy iced wedding cake.’

Church of San Pedro Telmo

It’s very hard to get a decent picture of the church because the street is of the normal narrow, cobbled San Telmo ilk, and there are large trees getting in on the act – so bring your wide angle camera lens.

Of course, it is a National Historic Monument, which may sound impressive, but is a title that is awarded to almost anything of minor importance here in Buenos Aires.

San Pedro Gonzalez Telmo

Up the top of the church, in the center, you can see San Pedro Gonzalez Telmo himself. He was a Spanish Roman Catholic priest, born in Astorga (Spain) in 1190, and devoted his life to enlightening the poor. Old Pedro Telmo may not condone  all the saucy Tango dancing that goes on in his barrio nowadays… however, he is also the patron saint of Spanish sailors, so he may not be so easily shocked.

The inside of the church isn’t all that extravagant compared the the beautifully decorative exterior. It does display some nice oil paintings, your usual pulpit… it is more the quiet and peace that draws passers-by within churches such as this. And that’s not something easily found in Buenos Aires city.

Yellow Fever

Of course, life is not all lovely architecture and peaceful surrounds. On the outside of the church a plaque is found, commemorating the San Telmo locals that died in the terrible yellow fever outbreak of 1871:

Yellow Fever notice on San Telmo church

It was that outbreak that also changed the face of Buenos Aires a little. Previously, San Telmo was home to the rich elite of the city. The yellow fever outbreak forced them out of the area, and they found a new home slightly further north, in Recoleta, which remains the home of the extravagantly wealthy to this day. San Telmo turned into an area of fading grandeur that now makes it so attractive to visitors, while in Recoleta the dazzling French architecture that delights tourists in equal measures was erected by the upper classes.

Location of San Pedro Gonzalez Telmo Church

Humberto 1º 340, between Defensa & Balcarce, San Telmo
[Open Monday – Saturday, 8:30am to Midday and 4pm to 7pm. Sundays, 8.30am to 8pm – times are more restrictive in January and February however.]

Manolo Restaurant

October 28, 2006 by · 4 Comments 

San Telmo Favorite

Busy Lunchtime at Manolo
Manolo is a popular local staple in Buenos Aires. It is also one of the cheapest (though not quite as cheap as your outdated paper guide books say – inflation is on the rise in Buenos Aires), and a place where you are assured of getting a true ‘Buenos Aires’ experience.

Located just blocks away from Parque Lezama in San Telmo, the place where some people believe Buenos Aires was first founded by Pedro de Mendoza, Manolo (the name of the original owner, as well as the restaurant) has served up massive portions of meat (bife de chorizo/rump steak, lomo/tenderloin steak, asado/ribs…etc), pasta and fish dishes for so long that many locals assume he was part of that initial founding party back in 1536. Although Manolo himself has sadly since passed away, the tradition is carried on by his family, who now tend to the restaurant and ensure that the age-old custom of serving a good, hearty meal lives on.

Interesting Takes on Argentine Classics

If you are going for meat, try one of the ‘regional’ takes on the usual parrilla suspects, that will at least provide some variety from the other parrillas you visit when in Buenos Aires – these include a Guadalajara-style Lomo, a Canadian Bife de Chorizo and Cerdo (Pork) a la Nebraska, all of which taste as interesting as they sound, and prove that even an old dog like Manolo can show off a few innovative tricks.

Plates Full of Pasta

Pasta in Manolo RestaurantIf you’ve had enough beef, the pasta dishes do not disappoint. Be prepared for MOUNTAINOUS portions, which could easily fill two people each. They offer Noquis (Gnocchis) a la Piemontesa (a chicken, olive, tomato & basil sauce) as well as Spaghetti a la Muzzarella (a ham, mushroom, muzzarella, scallion & cream sauce), just to name a few. Although all variations are tasty, the portions abound, so make sure you really starve yourself before visiting Manolo.

Football Theme & Atmosphere

As for the restaurant itself,  it isn’t all that in terms of decor – very plain and simple. BUT, this is compensated for by the reams for football (soccer) shirts, flags and memorabilia plastered over every inch of wallspace. And, the atmosphere is not far removed from a loud, passionate football crowd either – almost always full of Argentine regulars (and a fair few tourists), lunch and dinner, the patrons certainly work up a fair old noise, helped along by the cheap house red wine.

Manolo Football Shirts

One final thing to note – due to the popularity of the restaurant there may be a long wait for a table on weekend nights, but that is all part of the experience, as they say. And if a slightly raucous atmosphere does not sound like a nice dining environment to you, visit at lunchtime when things are more laid back.

Manolo Restaurant Location

Bolivar 1299, corner Cochabamba, San Telmo

Tel: 4307-8743, Website: http://www.restaurantmanolo.com.ar

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