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October 5, 2016updated Oct 07, 2016

Explore Buenos Aires: Café Society

By Zahra Al-Kateb

coffeeThis article first appeared in our September/October 2016 issue.

By Chris Moss

Porteños love to talk about art and literature, Argentina’s economic woes and the trials and tribulations of their egos and ids – Buenos Aires is one of the world’s great psychoanalytical cities.

It’s no wonder they need their cafés, which are found on almost every corner – from dusty old-timers’ places downtown to Palermo’s craft coffee shops. Perfect pit stops while you’re flaneuring.

Los 36 Billares

Tourists are herded into Café Tortoni, but this capacious café and billiard hall is authentic old-school. Opened in 1894, it has a gleaming checkerboard floor, bow-tied waiters and Tiffany-style lamps over the pool and billiard tables. The café con leche is good; the pizzas are excellent.

Avenida de Mayo 1271, +54 11 4122 1500,

Los Galgos

A sepia-toned 1930s joint on a busy corner, recently reopened as a café-cum-cocktail bar committed to rediscovering forgotten local classics, such as El Pato, which mixes sweet and dry vermouth, Campari, gin, Cointreau and kirsch, invented back in 1954 by one of Argentina’s most famous bartenders, Salvatore ‘Pichin’ Policastro.

Avenida Callao 501, +54 11 4371 3561,

New Full City Coffee House

Colombian Victoria Angarita and Briton Allan Dorgan serve 100 percent Colombian coffee – including brews made with the rare guayatá bean – in an uncluttered space with wooden tables and vines climbing outside the walls. They also run Educafés, a school for baristas.

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