A Perfect Buenos Aires Getaway with Anselmo Buenos Aires

A magnet for immigrants, Buenos Aires is rife with Spanish, French, and Italian influences, and there’s no neighborhood more reflective of the city’s beloved café culture and grand architecture than San Telmo. Once a haven for the wealthy, San Telmo evolved into a working-class area with bohemian flair (notably, tango dancing in the streets and a celebrated flea market). At the center of San Telmo’s Plaza Dorrego is Anselmo Buenos Aires, which has a front-row seat to the neighborhood action. ?

Anselmo Buenos Aires

Tango is as essential to Buenos Aires as pizza is to Naples, so the Anselmo Hotel is a perfect fit for the city, with its location in the heart of the San Telmo neighborhood—known for spontaneous street dancing—in a 1906 mansion once belonging to tango composer Anselmo Asiento. The hotel is perched on Plaza Dorrego, a lively public space surrounded by cafes and shops which especially gets going on Sunday, when the San Telmo antique fair and flea market spills into the street, attracting shoppers, musicians, and revelers. Clean-lined, modern furniture and black-and-white photographs of Buenos Aires compliment the building’s original wooden shutters and wrought-iron balconies. Sip a glass of Malbec in the cozy wood interior of the Acacia bar and restaurant, or take it outside into the calm inner courtyard. A small gym is available if you haven’t gotten in enough steps wandering the neighborhood’s cobblestone streets or tango dancing the night away.

The Flavors of San Telmo

Within big-city Buenos Aires, San Telmo maintains its familial appeal; neighbors wave hello to one another from cobblestone alleyways, as regulars fill bars and restaurants inhabiting former belle époque mansions. Hit the streets on a Sunday to browse the open-air antiques stalls of Feria de San Telmo. Discover San Telmo’s newest eateries within the 120-year-old Mercado de San Telmo, ranging from Vietnamese street food at Saigon to French pastries at Merci. Of course, you’ll also want to sample some Argentine staples, so seek out Los Infernales for chorizo sausage sandwiches and El Banco Rojo for the city’s best lamb empanadas. And to savor Argentina’s famed Malbec along with lesser-known but equally worthy wines, head to Pulpería Quilapán, a bar and general store that often hosts live music and garden vinyl parties.

The Café Culture

As one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, San Telmo claims some of the most storied Buenos Aires cafés, where it’s common to find locals gathered, fervently reading the country's La Nación newspaper over milky cortados. Café Rivas and Bar El Federal in San Telmo are both bar notables, protected landmark cafés due to their cultural and historical significance. In nearby Centro, Los Galgos is history reimagined. The restored bar notable revives the Spanish-born, Argentine-adored la hora del vermú (literally, “vermouth hour”), when you can expect negronis, vermouth aperitifs, and charcuterie spreads. Another not-to-miss café is Lattente, a Palermo Soho institution and the first to reinvent Buenos Aires café culture for the next generation. Order flat whites, drip coffee, and homemade pastries to your heart’s content.If you’re here for the history, you’ll be tripping over it the second you step outside the Ames. Within a few minutes’ walk from the front door you’ll find yourself following the Freedom Trail, helpfully marked with a bold red line along the sidewalks. Stops include Faneuil Hall and the Old State House, a place where John Adams said, “freedom was born.” And while the JFK Presidential Library and Museum has a series of special events commemorating his 100th birthday this year, it’s also worth a visit next door to the EMK Institute for the United States Senate named for his brother, lifelong senator Ted Kennedy. Another notable local, Isabella Stewart Gardner, ventured farther afield, canvasing the globe and collecting art. Her finds, including some Italian masterpieces, are now on view at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, complete with a lavish garden.

The Nightlife Scene

Nights out in Buenos Aires usually extend well into morning. Start early (and pace yourself) at Doppelgänger, a San Telmo bar featuring more than 90 craft cocktails in a sultry, retro-style saloon. Reflective of the city’s 1930s glitz and glamour is Presidente Bar in Recoleta; order drinks served in ceramic obeliscos, miniature replicas of the Buenos Aires landmark obelisk along Avenia 9 de Julio. Boticario is the city’s newest bar, a Palermo Hollywood outpost serving herbaceous cocktails styled after the first apothecaries, which once doubled as undercover alcohol dens. Before calling it a night, swing by Florería Atlántico, where leading local mixologist, Tato Giovannoni, makes fragrant cocktails with his own Príncipe de los Apóstoles, a yerba mate-infused gin.

The Art Crawl

Begin a Buenos Aires art crawl in San Telmo at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Buenos Aires (MACBA) and the Museum of Modern Art of Buenos Aires (MAMBA), both exhibiting new-age collections from Argentine and international artists alike. In neighboring Recoleta, spend an afternoon at the Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires (MALBA), the city’s most prolific museum, featuring one of the world’s largest permanent collections of Latin American art. Works by native artists and a Frida Kahlo original entice aesthetes from far and wide. With the classics covered, discover up-and-coming talents at Galeria Mar Dulce in Palermo Soho. You’ll find pieces by artists like Maria Luque, a local illustrator who documents city life from a perch at Varela Varelita, her favorite Palermo Soho café.

Curio experiences await. Share your own #CitiesByCurio.