Buenos Aires’ Notable Bars – El Federal

Buenos Aires’ Notable Bars – El Federal

Coffee Culture

One of the best parts of moving to a new city is deciding upon your favorite new bar, the place you plan on haunting with a disturbingly constant presence. Buenos Aires has assisted newcomers on this all-important quest by honoring 60 bars and cafés with the distinction of Bar Notable.

Bar Federal

These places have been chosen for their long years of service, architectural flair, or famous patrons, and can officially advertise themselves as “Notable”. Most of them are found near the center of the sprawling city, and we’ve yet to visit one we haven’t been impressed by. That goes particularly for El Federal, on the corner of Peru and Carlos Calvo in San Telmo, which immediately established itself as a front-runner for the glorious title of my favorite bar.

Stepping inside El Federal is like stepping into back into the early 20th century, when Buenos Aires was in its golden age. The decoration is ornate, and well-stocked shelves hold antique soda bottles. The gorgeous wooden bar is over a hundred years old, and supports a large, fluidly carved arch, in which a defunct clock and stained glass are encased.

For being such a famous establishment in prime touristic real estate like San Telmo, the prices are amazingly reasonable. El Federal has a full menu, and we enjoyed everything we’ve tried; the plate of picadas (slices of meats and cheese) is an especially good choice. There’s both a smoking room and outdoor seating, but I always choose a table close to the bar, so that I can spend my time thirstily admiring the bottles of whiskey.

El Federal is the kind of place in which you’ll want to spend hours, and they don’t mind if you do. In fact, a small shelf of reading material is available in the corner. Digging into a well-worn copy of Borges’ Ficciones, with a strong cup of coffee on the wooden table in front of you, while the bustle of city life passes by in the window… that’s about as “bonarense” as you can get.

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Buenos Aires' Notable Bars - El Federal
For 91 Days

7 Comments

  • nacho

    Some twitter friends had made this awesome list of the 54 best bars in BuenosAires, http://www.54bares.com.ar/todos-los-bares/

    February 22, 2011 at 8:58 pm
    • Juergen

      Hey Nacho, your twitter friends rock. What are their username (are we already following each other?)

      February 22, 2011 at 9:02 pm
      • nacho

        Hi Juergen! not yet, my username is @nachoherrera, which is yours? i recommend these two BsAs-twitters: @chapita and @plagiardini. they are both great persons and also great photographers.

        February 22, 2011 at 10:06 pm
  • Paula

    Hi Juergen! @chapita here.
    The username of the account is @54bares. We have a blog too, http://www.54bares.com.ar
    We had a meeting last saturday, we’ll have the next in a few days, I suppose. I promise to let you know! 🙂

    February 22, 2011 at 10:45 pm
  • Cuffy

    Pinky Masters with croissants!

    February 23, 2011 at 12:35 pm
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