I flat-out refuse to accept the validity of reports that millennials are drinking less wine than ever. (I also loathe the overuse of the term “millennial” with the fire of a thousand suns, but let’s save that for another time). I’m at the stage in my life where hangovers are no longer small-scale inconveniences, a headache that goes away at the first sip of coffee. Now, if I don’t play my cards right, they become drawn out, days-long undertakings, a cacophonous symphony of malaise in every cell of my body. Therefore, if I’m going to drink, it better be something that I enjoy, that I can have more than just a glass of, and that won’t make me beg for death the next morning.
OK, I’ll just get to the point. Sorry about that. Basically, wine is the only alcoholic beverage I can drink on a regular – probably too regular – basis, in abundance, nearly every night of the week, without suffering too severe of consequences the following day. Beer makes me feel overly full (meaning less room for food, the only thing I love more than my dog); cocktails are great but not always cost-effective after the first round of Happy Hour comes and goes. So, I turn to my trusty chalice of vino, which is the perfect companion to pretty much anything.
Last year was the worst on record for wine consumption in Argentina. Per capita consumption bottomed out at just 19 liters; for comparison, in 1970 that number was an impressive 92 liters. A lot of this is due to economic factors, such as inflation and taxes, but it’s also because people are just drinking less wine – albeit of better quality – as trends evolve and palates change.
No matter the reason, I’m here to share with you 12 places where you can drink wine in Buenos Aires, sipping on everything from classic fruity Malbecs and sweet Torrontés to the next generation of organic blends and futuristic naranjos. It’s especially exciting to witness the genuine rise of the wine bar, since up until a few years ago, the offering was largely limited to basic af vinos por copa selections at bars and restaurants, without much attention paid to the experience of trying new varietals, labels, and styles.
So grab a glass, plot out these bars on the map, and get ready to discover the latest in wine drinking in Buenos Aires. (Remember to stay hydrated, have a snack every now and again, and get home safely kthxbai love you.)
San Telmo may be known for its old school parrillas and bodegones of yesteryear, but the new crop of foodie locales is certainly broadening the barrio‘s horizons. Take Nilson, for example. Despite the hermetic vibe of the area’s legendary covered market space, sommelier Samantha Nilson was able to seize an opportunity and snag a teeny tiny space that popped up for rent. The result is a (very) cozy bar that features a rotating list of Argentina’s top wines. When the weather is good, customers spill out onto the sidewalk and every now and again local jazz musicians will fill the air with pleasant tunes. If you’re hungry, nibble on high-quality charcuterie, sandwiches, and other simple (yet delicious) bites, making it hard to give up your hard-earned seat at the table or bar. Here, hipsters and traditionalists alike discover the best wines that Argentina has to offer in a laid-back atmosphere. Bonus: it’s pet friendly.
Nilson | Carlos Calvo 463 – San Telmo | Monday, Wednesday – Saturday 5 PM – 12 AM, Sunday 12:30 PM – 8 PM | Instagram
Aldo Graziani is one of Argentina’s most important heavy hitters when it comes to wine. Before he became a restaurateur, he trained as a sommelier and was head of the wine programs at Gran Bar Danzón and Casa Cruz and then head somm at the Faena Hotel in Puerto Madero, in addition to wearing the hat of Director of the Wine & Dine Club for American Express Platinum and Centurion members. Graziani is also co-author of the can’t-miss Guía del Vino Argentino, which everyone should own because I said so. All of this to say it behooves you to head over to Palermo Botánico – though the OG Aldo’s in San Telmo and Palermo Hollywood are also fantastic – to immerse yourself in a sleek, chic, traditional-with-a-twist wine universe. Grab a seat at the bar and nibble on fantastic little snacks by head chef Maximiliano Matsumoto (now helming the fuegos at must-try Tora nearby) and discover new varietals and wineries by the glass – at vinoteca prices – as you catch up with a friend. The cozy location in one of the loveliest neighborhoods of Buenos Aires makes it an ideal spot for a mid-week Malbec.
Aldo’s Wine Bar | República Arabe Siria 3037 – Palermo | Tuesday – Saturday 5 PM – 12 AM, Friday until 1 AM, Saturday 11 AM – 1 AM, Sunday 11 AM to 12 AM | Instagram
Recoleta has a lot of things: grand European architecture, chic senior citizens who own more Chanel than you could ever imagine, and miniature white poodles with unfortunate eye booger situations. In the commercial realm, peluquerías and no-name cafés seem to have a monopoly on the area, meaning there aren’t *tons* of options for bars or restaurants when compared to other parts of Buenos Aires. There is one little spot, however, right across from the tony Plaza Vicente López, that’s doing the Lord’s work in bringing a cool wine bar to the area. Enter Winemakers, which doesn’t have much in terms of square footage, but stocks an ever-changing and increasingly unique selection of 500 Argentine reds, whites, rosés, oranges, and everything in between. If you’re in a hurry you can pick up a bottle and head for the hills, but if you’ve got cabin fever and need to interact with people other than your doorman, take a friend, grab a seat, and have a sip in-situ. Run by owner and somm Juan Casarsa, Winemakers offers a top-notch menu of salumi, cheese, and patés to round out the experience. Check them out on social media to catch wind of upcoming special tastings and other events.
Winemakers | Montevideo 1444 – Recoleta | Monday – Saturday 1 PM – 12 AM | Instagram
Bebé Vino Wine Shop
The epicenter of hipster cool, Galería Patio del Liceo is home to a variety of stores and workshops that appeal to the youth (?) of today: from tarot to pet portraits to organic textiles, it’s all here under one roof. And last October, another shop has joined the ranks: Bebé Vino, a new project from leading sommelier Martín Bruno (but actually: he was named #1 in Argentina and ranked in the top 15 worldwide). Its playful logo – a neon-hued Bacchus, mid-guzzle – lends a funky aesthetic to a space dedicated to all things wine and creative expression. Bebé Vino organizes special tastings and workshops and can help you put your own wine cellar (or shelf, we don’t all live in mansions, especially in this economy) together. It’s the perfect spot for budding wine enthusiasts with an eye for different styles and labels that you can’t find at your traditional shops. Think of Bebé Vino as the cool sibling that always has the latest new release on vinyl before it’s even out, but is more than willing to let you have a listen or two.
Bebé Vino Wine Shop | Av. Santa Fe 2729 – Barrio Norte | Monday – Saturday 1 PM – 9 PM | Instagram
Pain et Vin
Pain et Vin is the new wave-OG of wine bars and shops. Run by multi-culti matrimonio Eleonora (Argentine, sommelier) and Ohad (Israeli, chef), it also bakes delicious artisanal sourdough bread that is so spongey and so incredible that you should pop in just to try it. Right in the heart of Palermo Viejo, Pain et Vin has a hyper-curated selection of the best Argentine wines, from old stalwarts to next generation boutique blends made using less than traditional techniques. There’s something for every budget here, though there are some options that will certainly favor those whose wallets are stuffed with greenbacks. Here you can set up your own individual tasting, partake in one of the many special events hosted in conjunction with different bodegas, or snap up a bottle or two to bring to your next dinner party. Pain et Vin is pet friendly, but the icing on the cake is having a chance to coddle little Nina, Eleonora and Ohad’s daughter, who is so cute it should be illegal.
You know, sometimes it’s fun to just fantasize about living in some million dollar manse in the coolest part of Buenos Aires, surrounded by lush jungle plants and buckets of natural light. Then you snap back to reality and remember you’re living in a tiny monoambiente at the end of the Subte line, forced to battle with the feral cats that have set up shop right outside your window. Luckily, you can escape to La Malbequería for a dose of the good life and get a healthy wine buzz while you’re at it. It opened three years ago just a hop, skip, and a jump from Pain et Vin, right in the middle of Palermo’s boutiques and craft beer bars. Take your time perusing the shelves of vino on offer, pick your poison, and then set up shop at the tables in the internal patio or sprawling yard out back. Here you can forget about all the stress and and frustration that plagues your day-to-day and just enjoy the moment, be it with your amigues or your main squeeze. If you just can’t get enough, plan your next celebration or special event by reserving the whole house. Trust me, your friends will thank you.
La Malbequería | Gurruchaga 1418 – Palermo Viejo | Monday – Sunday, 10 AM – 12 AM | Instagram
Heading over to Hache for a night is the equivalent to ordering empanadas from your favorite local place and cueing up Netflix. There are no frills, no bells and whistles, but it’s what you crave the most when you don’t have a lot energy to spend and just need a little TLC. The Palermo Hollywood space is chiquito, a bit bare, but the soft lighting, chic tiled flooring, and laid-back vibes help counteract what could otherwise be perceived as a bit austere. Staff is always willing to lend a hand in the selection process, and the tablas of charcuterie and sourdough bread make the perfect pairing. If you go with a group, give them a heads-up in advance so they can reserve what little space is available, otherwise you might have to go with a Plan B. Hache is super cozy on a drizzly winter night, but I’m partial to balmy summer nights spent on the sidewalk among friends.
Hache Almacén | Carranza 1670 – Palermo Hollywood | Monday & Saturday from 6 PM, Tuesday & Wednesday 11 AM – 12 AM, Thursday & Friday 11 AM – 1 AM | Instagram
Vico Wine Bar
If you need to turn up the glam a bit, look no further than Vico. Though its first outpost is one of our favorite reasons to visit Villa Crespo, the newer space in Palermo Hollywood makes a grand impression on one of the barrio‘s busier corners. At Vico, wine is only available by the glass, meaning you’ll have the chance to really step out of that comfort zone and try new things no matter what. The vibe is sophisticated, curated, and cool, making it a place you’ll want to bring friends visiting from out of town or someone you want to impress. Knowledgable somms are on hand to help you make the important decision of which wine to try next – you can choose a small taste, a half glass, or a full one if you are ready to commit – and using the self-service Wineemotion machines is more gratifying than you’d expect. The food is just as good as the rest, so be sure to snack on some charcuterie or even go all-in for dinner. If for some reason you need a break from the wine (?!), Vico’s cocktail menu is surprisingly on-point.
Vinoteca El Salvador
El lugar es chico, pero el corazón es grande. New kid on the block Vinoteca El Salvador strives to go above and beyond when it comes to the wines and labels it features both on its shelves and at its special tasting events. This is where you’ll want to come if you are tired of seeing the same old, same old at every shop in town, or spice up your usual routine. Variety is the spice of life, after all! Even the most seasoned of winos will be surprised at the variety and diversity that’s on offer at El Salvador: naranjos, biodynamics, organics, atypical varietals, and boutique wineries doing crazy shit out near the mountains. Be sure to follow them on Instagram to catch wind of the next gathering, since you’re guaranteed to not only learn something cool but also walk away having taken some awesome wines for a spin. A fun bonus is that you can reserve the space for your own special event, so you and your liked-minded pals can plan something a little more interesting for your next get together.
M Street Bar
There’s a nice little polo gastronómico taking shape at the far end of Palermo Hollywood, almost where the residential greenery and gorgeous old houses of Colegiales take over. Near the Birkin-La Mar-Aldo’s trifecta along Nicaragua lies M Street Bar, the latest from badass somm Mariana Torta that offers a well-rounded selection of wines with charcuterie, small plates, and even a more robust food menu. The aesthetic brings in inspiration from New York with a dash of Madrid, without sacrificing that porteño charm. Open all day, it’s ideal for those lucky enough to not be tied down by an office schedule – two-hour, wine-drenched lunch, anyone? – or if you’ve got visitors in town that need to be kept occupied for a while. Nearby, not many watering holes open before 6 or 7 PM, making M Street Bar an excellent choice for early post-work drinkies. Whats more, they’re constantly organizing themed tastings with different wineries, covering topics from biodynamic wines to “best buy” options to seasonal favorites and more.
M Street Bar | Nicaragua 5935 – Palermo Hollywood | Monday – Saturday from 12 PM | Instagram
Bar du Marché
You thought I’d skipped this one over, didn’t you? Cheeky reader. How could I? Bar du Marché has been around for quite some time now, and while many of us mourn the good old days of the original space that barely had enough room to turn around it, its decidedly shinier new(ish) digs on the corner of Arévalo and Nicaragua aren’t too shabby either. This lovely little outpost offers more than 50 wines by the glass and has a well-done food menu that makes it a solid option for a lunch date as well. Maybe I’m just feeling influenced by the name, but you will get a decidedly Parisian vibe while here; the big picture windows are ideal for post-vino daydreaming and it’s lovely to set up shop outside when the weather decides to collaborate. Perhaps the pièce de résistance of Bar du Marché doesn’t even have to do with wine, though. Hidden toward the back and downstairs is Club M Omakase, the puertas cerradas sushi restaurant that serves some of the freshest and most fabulous sashimi in town. Plan ahead and make sure you’ve got a table booked once you’ve finished your bottle of wine upstairs.
Bar du Marché | Nicaragua 6002 – Palermo Hollywood | Monday – Saturday 10 AM – 12 AM | Instagram
Ser y Tiempo
Ser y Tiempo has evolved with the times, bringing in the snazzy dispensers that add a touch of techie fun to the wine bar experience. The space, along the leafy sidewalks of the far end of Gorriti, features a massive picture window, lending a fishbowl-esque sensation to the atmosphere – and making it ideal for people watching. Here you’ll be able to choose from – once again – some of the coolest and best wines that Argentina is producing these days (more than 50 available at any given time), often with a backdrop of jazz or instrumental music to make you feel slightly hipper than you are. Ser y Tiempo also organizes loads of tastings and special events with leading experts, somms, and winemakers, creating a community of like-minded drinkers with ganas to learn a little more. On sweltering summer nights, the sidewalk is buzzing with movers and shakers, but it’s just as lovely for a cool autumnal evening or if you need to take shelter from the elements. The food menu includes a variety of tasty dishes and thankfully has gluten free options for the celiacs in the room.