Historic cafes
Known as "bares notables", many of the city's beautiful historic cafes and bars remain richly preserved, offering a journey back in time.

Buenos Aires has long had a thriving café culture and its many historic cafes were the meeting places for illustrious literary, musical and political figures, including the likes of Jorge Luis Borges and Carlos Gardel.

Today the city has over 70 listed historic cafes declared bares notables, recognised for their importance to the city's culture. Their decors are carefully preserved and passing through their doors may feel like stepping back in time.

Guidebooks will direct you to Café TortoniEl Faro or Confiteria las Violetas for a typical cortado (espresso with a dash of hot milk) and medialuna (croissant), but there are dozens more to explore throughout the city, some with daily tango shows. 

Download a full list of the city’s most historic cafes, or check out our selection below.

Note that cafes are usually open every day for breakfast, lunch snacks and the traditional merienda, a late afternoon snack which might include a coffee and a piece of cake. Some close at around 7pm, but many of these historic venues open (sometimes very) late into the evening offering alcholic drinks and dinner as well as coffee and soft drinks.

12 de Octubre (El Boliche de Roberto)

A small bar lost in time, and a good place to hear tango at its rawest.

36 Billares

Cue up for a game of pool at this traditional city bar and cafe

Bar Británico

Legendary bar popular with British war veterans in the early 20th century.

Bar de Cao

Historic cafe in San Cristóbal originally run by the brothers José and Vicente Cao.

Bar El Colonial

Historic cafe located just a block from the Manzana de las Luces

Bar El Estaño 1880

Cafe and restaurante rooted in La Boca neighbourhood since 1880.

Bar El Federal

19th century building in the heart of San Telmo

Bar Iberia

The second oldest bar in Buenos Aires

Bar La Academia

An academy that never closes its doors.

Bar La Buena Medida

An authentic refuge in La Boca neighbourhood.

Bar Oviedo

A meeting point in the neighbourhood where for a long time the city met the countryside.

Bar Palacio

Neighbourhood cafe and photography museum