Growlers

The gastropub concept is simple enough: combine quality, good-value food with craft beer, and you’ve got a winning combination. But while the trend has surged here in Buenos Aires, with signs proudly proclaiming “cerveza artesanal” on every corner in Palermo, there’s no guarantee that a given gastropub will offer anything special in terms of food or beer.

It can be a challenge to sift through the dozens of restaurants that add a couple beers to their lineup and call themselves a gastropub, along with the many bars that slap a burger on the menu to do the same thing. Our favorites are most creative and worldly of the bunch — places that mix tasty global cuisine, great beer, and a lively atmosphere.

Beer lovers enjoy the terrace and views at Growler's.
Beer lovers enjoy the terrace and views at Growler’s.

Opio

Located in a quieter corner of Palermo Viejo, this Asian gastropub offers an array of sandwiches, soups, and curries inspired by pan-Asian flavors.

The banh mi is refreshing and flavorful, while the meaty curry dishes make for an unconventional but delicious comfort food for a cold June night. The interior of the space is as unique as the cuisine, with exotic wallpaper and light fixtures evoking a sense of Asia during the 19th century.

Banh mi sandwiches at Opio pack flavor, spice, and plenty of cilantro.
Banh mi sandwiches at Opio pack flavor, spice, and plenty of cilantro.

 

The food packs some heat, so you really will need that next beer to wash it down. The pub has a small but solid beer selection, including a well-balanced golden from Kingston. They also specialize in gin & tonics with rather unique flavors — think apple and juniper, cucumber, and even cardamom.

Chipper

For any UK expat or lover of the British or Irish fish and chips tradition, a wave of nostalgia will hit you when you walk into Chipper. The small storefront evokes the neighborly feel of a local fish and chips shop, complete with the fresh ingredients and classic British condiments (think tartar sauce, malt vinegar, curry and the like) that are an indispensable part of the traditional chipper. Here, authenticity is provided by Irish owner Susan Kennedy, while great beer is provided by local brewery 7 Colores. You can’t skip the fish and chips, of course — try dipping them in bbq sauce or spicy curry sauce washing it down with their fantastic Scottish Ale, a medium-bodied ale that’s not too bitter. The garlic bread is the ultimate comfort food, and its pillowy goodness tastes even better dipped in the signature clam chowder.

You can't skip the classic fish and chips, but try other Chipper comfort food like the clam chowder and garlic bread.
You can’t skip the classic fish and chips, but try other Chipper comfort food like the clam chowder and garlic bread.

 

Upstairs, the decor and menu changes but the friendly atmosphere remains. Kennedy found that a lot of locals love a more posh, restaurant-like feel, so she split Chipper in two, dividing it into the traditional chips shop downstairs, and the candlelit restaurant upstairs. The more upscale area features unique riffs on classic British dishes and seafood, along with a wine list, teas, and even a delicious Irish coffee. If you’re not stuffed by the end of your meal, the Sticky Toffee Pudding is a must-try, with a fluffy texture inside, crisp, sugary crust, and vanilla ice cream to match.

Tetuán

Tetuán hits the gastropub sweet spot: it combines a hip venue, with DJs spinning every Thursday night, and well-priced, mouthwatering food and drink. As you walk in the door, choose a beer from their ample selection, brewed by the owners themselves. The Doble Rubia and Red IPA are two standouts, but honestly, you can’t go wrong. Bring your beer into the main dining area and watch it all go down from your perch on the multilevel tables in the cavernous space. The open kitchen is full of action, with a huge fire flaming up and grilling your meat.

The fresh, healthy dishes at Tetuán pair perfectly with their wide selection of craft beers.
The fresh, healthy dishes at Tetuán pair perfectly with their wide selection of craft beers.

 

The Moroccan-inspired food includes old favorites like baba ghanoush, hummus, and succulent skewers of meat. Order a platter for the best value and the ability to mix and match the many flavors — citrusy salad, smoky eggplant puree, pita bread, and well-seasoned meats — with every bite. The restaurant was inspired by the owners’ Moroccan great uncle, and it shows in Tetuán’s respect for tradition and warm, homestyle classic dishes.

Growlers

Growlers has been a beloved spot for great craft beer for months now, but only recently did they introduce a variety of nibbles to feed the buzzed crowd that flocks there every weekend. We’re not kidding about this place’s popularity — it’s almost always packed to the rafters — but there’s reservations available for larger groups. If not, don’t fear, visitors often spill onto the sidewalk and alleyway outside, or up to the charming, lantern-lit terrace on the roof, which offers pleasant nighttime views of Palermo Viejo.

Growlers has dozens of beers on tap, including a cacao-flavored brew.
Growlers has dozens of beers on tap, including a cacao-flavored brew.

 

There’s dozens of varieties of beer on top, from mild lagers to quirky flavors to stronger IPAs. For fans of lighter beers, the Lemon Dropp is a nice, citrusy choice, while medium-to-dark beer lovers should try unusual brews like one with unique, slightly better cacao undertones. (Nope, doesn’t taste like Nutella. Still delicious though). None of the beers are particularly dark or hoppy if that’s your thing, not even the Extra Special Bitter.

As for food, Growlers has come up with a decent menu of riffs on typical American-style bar food like burgers, po’boys and the like. Their burgers are a no-brainer, particularly “Burger #1,” which comes with blue cheese and caramelized onions. They also offer a baked brie with smooth, creamy flavor that’s perfect to share among friends.

Koi

Koi, in Palermo Hollywood, has some serious curb appeal and serves up one of Buenos Aires’s more original food and drink combos: Chinese bao (buns stuffed with meat, vegetables, and other ingredients) and craft beer. The food is a solid OK – with a couple notable dishes like the shrimp dumplings and bondiola buns (made even better with jalapeño chutney sauce) but the real belle of the ball here is the beer.

Try the jalapeño chutney on steamed buns and fried dumplings at Koi.
Try the jalapeño chutney on steamed buns and fried dumplings at Koi.

 

Grab a beer downstairs and bring it up to the cozy terrace, or stay inside on one of the high bar-style tables on a chillier night. The triple IPA and Irish are both excellent, and Koi itself has started experimenting with their own brew, a ginger-based beer that they’re still tinkering with. It’s quite good, and the next batch will have even more ginger heat, which goes perfectly with the flavors of the food.

Edit: A previous version of this article indicated that Growlers had been open to the public for “years” which is not the case. The gastropub opened its doors in October of 2015.