When I moved to the Retiro neighborhood two years ago, I wept in mourning of my beloved Belgrano. Cobblestone streets, big leafy trees, yummy mummies strolling their babies about town … It’s an idyllic barrio and I still miss it dearly. However, I’ve really learned to love Retiro and its proximity to any and all things – working downtown is a breeze (often a quick walk away), you’re close to all forms of public transport, and on the weekends it’s 100x less chaotic than Palermo. (I’m slowly transforming into an old lady)
I am really loving the cool spots – some new, some old – that are within walking distance from my house (I’m lazy and poor, beat that) that offer great Happy Hours: good cocktails, reasonable prices and yum food to go along with it. We all know what happens when I drink on an empty stomach, don’t we? Here are three of my current favorites for getting a drink – and a bite – if you happen to be in the area:
Dill & Drinks – San Martín 986
http://dillanddrinks.com/Not only is Dill a perfect lunch spot, but they also have a pretty bangin’ Happy Hour. 2 x AR$40 on at least two cocktails (that change daily), and all drinks come with a little “tapas” plate: a random selection of tasty bites that go above and beyond salted peanuts or a basket of stale bread. Recent treats were marinated squid, chilled lentil salad, some eggplant thing and chicken. The cocktail list is long and inventive – the bartender used to work at Danzón back in the day – with absinthe even making an appearance. It’s easy to walk right on by without even noticing it, but Dill is worth a visit. The interior is cozy with a modern-retro vibe and is a perfect spot for a post-work drink. Arrive early and snag one of the few tables, or sit at the bar and chat up the bartender. Bonus: its location on an unsuspectingly cool block – Filo, Dadá and El Federal are all just steps away.
Gran Bar Danzón – Libertad 1161
http://www.granbardanzon.com.ar/Ok, so this isn’t technically Retiro but it’s a 5 minute walk from my house which is basically the same thing. Danzón is one of the original BA hotspots and continues to fill up during the week – especially on Thursdays – for Happy Hour. The wine list is heavier than any dictionary I’ve ever owned, the featured cocktails are always inventive and well-executed (often using liquors or ingredients other bartenders shy away from), and the bar food is incredible. Happy Hour includes 2 x1 caipiroskas, caipirinhas, Quilmes, and red/white wines (bodega varies). The Sushi Happy Hour – an assortment of rolls and sashimi with a glass of white wine – is a bargain way to feel healthy while you drink your daily caloric allotment. In fact, the sushi at Danzón is some of the best in the city (no cream cheese) People watching is a must, as you’ll see really, really old guys hitting on women who are half their age. True story. But no matter – Danzón is an all-time favorite spot for really great cocktails and bar food with a group of friends. Order the tabla de quesos y fiambres, a club sandwich, and let the good times roll. Make sure to arrive early if you’re with a group to land one of the coveted sofa/table areas.
L’Abeille – Arroyo 872
http://labeille.com.ar/Ok, so the only food on the menu at L’Abeille are ridiculous things like Russian caviar and edible gold flakes, but no matter. L’Abeille is tucked away on Arroyo, one of my favorite streets, and offers some super luxe after-office goodies. Sure, there’s a serious element of new rich going on here, but they’ve done an excellent job at creating an exclusive atmosphere that only seems to attract the beautiful people. Bartenders are dressed in classic 1920s attire and serve up some pretty fab potent potables (Hello, Alex Trebek). It’s hard for me not to love a place that a) is 2 blocks from my apartment and b) manages to sneak leopard print into nearly everything. If you’re sick of the fat tourists at Kilkenny and the creepily sweaty Argentine guys at Downtown Matías, rest assured that the people who hit on you here will be well-dressed and well-connected. (That’s something, right?)