Literary Buenos Aires – cafes, neighborhoods and emblematical corners of all times


By the end of Nineteenth Century, Buenos Aires grows vertiginously, and being no longer a “big village” will start to be defined as a “massive city”. Since this moment, Argentine writers have tried to describe this phenomenon through tails, novels, journalistic reports, and even through poetry and tango; from Eugenio Cambaceres to Roberto Arlt, Jorge Luis Borges, Leopoldo Marechal, Nicolás Olivari, Homero Manzi, Enrique Santos Discépolo, Oliverio Girondo and many other figures of our literature.

I invite you to go over the city from North to South crossing some of the bars and emblematic corners of literary bohemia of the different periods, in order to have a vivid sight of the personal history and the artistic aims of its protagonists, and at the same time be able to know the contrasts of this diverse city, contradictory and fascinating as Argentinian literature itself.

We will visit Palermo Viejo Neighborhood and the legendary streets where, according to Borges poem “Fundación Mítica de Buenos Aires” (Mythical Foundation of Buenos Aires), our city was once founded. We will go to the outstanding National Library, in Recoleta, designed by well-known Argentine arquitects, among them, the artist Clorindo Testa. We will as well make a stop at Librería El Ateneo Grand Splendid, restored over the old theatre Grand Splendid, considered among the most attractive bookstores in the world. We will spend some time walking through the centric Street Corrientes, visiting other important bookstores and the tradicional and particular “librerías de viejos” (bookstores for “book fans” containing second hand books). It is a must to take a coffee at Tortoni Café, one of the most important cafés in Buenos Aires, visited by personalities from all over the world and place where famoous artists, poets and writers used to gather along the XXth Century. We will walk along Avenida de Mayo, where Tortoni is situated with an optional visit to Palacio Barolo. By the end of the tour we will go over Boedo neighborhood, known for tango but mostly for being the place which identified the writers of the controversial “literarian group of Boedo” (among its members, Roberto Arlt) contrarian in conception and ideology to the “Group of Florida” (whose most emblematical representative was Jorge Luis Borges). To end this literarian circuit, we cannot avoid visiting Café Margot, one of the oldest buildings in Boedo, holding a library and a theatre. Here we will have the opportunity to try the famous “Pavita (turkey) sandwiches”, according to the legend was invented here in the 40s, when this place was the mythical Café Trianon.