As a place where you can drink under the same roof as a place where you can sleep, even the worst hotel bar serves a useful purpose. It follows, then, that the good ones are those worth crossing the road—and, in rare cases, the town—for.
Buenos Aires has a few of these. If I were a little more presentable, I’d take my daily cocktail in one of the old-fashioned 5-stars; the Alvear Palace, perhaps, or the Palacio Duhau - Park Hyatt. If I were a little cooler, I’d flit in and out of the pool, garden and rooftop parties thrown by newer boutiques like Fierro, Home, and Algodon Mansion. If I were an agent of real estate or secrets, and nostalgic for the mid 20th century, I’d beguile clients or assets over Bloody Marys and crustless sandwiches in a windowless but characterful grotto like the Plaza Bar, or sunk deep in a club chair at the Claridge. And if I were you, I’d try them all.
This cocktail haunt places you on the 13th floor of the Hotel Pulitzer, up close and personal with the downtown skyline (mostly putty-colored towers bristling with air conditioning units, if we’re honest, but a view is a view). Addictive mojitos and a friendly crowd make this trendy eyrie a fine place to roost on hot nights.
Plaza Bar (Marriott Hotel)
The dickie-bowed waiters win the plaudits here—and they are very good—but I’ve always wanted to track down whoever buffs the L-shaped mahogany art deco bar and tip them too. The classic cocktails have not been “re-imagined” by some pork-pie-hatted hipster; they’ve been the same since before World War II. Women allowed, but only since the 1980s.
Castelar Hotel Lobby Bar
Connoisseurs of revolving doors will find it hard to walk past this classic lobby bar. Half-orbit your way in, admire the gleaming marble surfaces, stained glass, and dark hardwood bar and order something vermouth based—preferably at around 5.30pm. Exit counterclockwise onto splendid Avenida de Mayo and grab supper at Plaza Asturias [link to Best family restaurants], right opposite.
Not wishing to sound like a press release but this sleek and handsome venue really did shake up the 5-star bar scene when it opened in 2012 at the Four Seasons. Out went the brass, marble and chandeliers, in came the pendant lights, parquet flooring, and moulded plywood bar stools. Cocktails with nudge-wink names—Patagonian Martini, Manhattan.ar, etc.—are superb, as is the service.
This is where holiday budgets go to die—so stretch out on a red lounger beneath a red parasol (“red, the color of love,” says Philippe Starck, who designed the hotel with owner Alan Faena), set up a tab with your credit card and forget all about it until next month. For a more clubbish vibe, check out the Library Lounge inside.