Disclaimer: Things change fast in Buenos Aires. Please verify any information you find here! We are happy if you let us know if given information is outdated, thank you!
For an overview of all milongas I recommend using the services from Milonga Hoy (website or app), look here. But every day you got the choice between 15 and 30 milongas – where to go?
Depending on your personal priorities you can choose your milongas at least following these criteria:
location (where to get fast/easy, depending on where you live),
style (traditional/formal vs. relaxed),
level of dancing,
crowd (younger vs. older, mainly locals vs. mainly tourists).
The following recommendations are subjective and very personal. I prefer high level dancing, younger crowd, Palermo area, relaxed style. But I put down all my experiences, so even if you prefer other criteria, you might find it helpful for an orientation. Please note that the descriptions below represent peak times in BA (november-february). In the low season some milongas might close, or be empty, or different.
If you are a friend of traditional milongas, or if you like a bit older crowds, try these milongas: Milonga Ideal (closed as of november 2016, re-opening not known), Cachirulo (in El Beso as well as in Obelisco), Salon Canning (re-opened after big renovation in october 2016), Club Gricel, Malena Sunderland Club (closed as of november 2016, re-opening not known), Floreal, Fruto Dulce, La milonga de los Zucca.
If you search gay milongas, try La Marshall and Tango Queer.
If you are a beginner, try Milonga Club 101, practica DNI on Wednesdays, and Milonga Ideal (closed as of november 2016, re-opening not known).
If you like to dance very late (after 3 a.m.), Mondays and Tuesdays Canning is the place where all people go after they left the milonga they have been dancing that night, but still want to continue dancing. On Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays it is La Viruta, Thursdays El Yeite (re-opening in january 2017, closed at the moment). La Viruta has free entrance on Wednesdays and Sundays from 2 a.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 3 a.m.
If not otherwise stated the music played at all milongas and practicas is traditional in tandas with cortinas.
To explain the wording used in Buenos Aires: a “milonga” for sure is a milonga. A “practica” is a milonga as well, but more relaxed, less formal, people dance more often more than one tanda in a row, and sometimes dancers really practise, means they stop in a movement, talk, do it again. The practica like we know “practica” from germany/europe, where teachers show a sequence and help you learning to dance it, is called “practica assistida“. Don’t get confused about it 🙂
La Glorieta (20-23 h), milonga, nice open air space, stone floor, medium level, often more leaders than followers, but very mixed quality … relaxed atmosphere. Bring your own water/drinks, and make sure to put your bag in the middle of the floor, not (!) at the balustrade (bag can be stolen). the balustrade is the only option to sit on, so better don’t be/come drunk, you might fall down.
El Motivo (22-1 h), practica, high level, stone floor, aircon. a bit hard to get dances at the first visits, but if you manage to get in “the usual crowd”, it’s very pleasurable. space to dance, relaxed. many professional dancers train/practise here after 23.30 h. sometimes shows in the high season.
Munecas Bravas (17-20 h), in La Maleva, special milonga for leading women. locations see maleva on fridays.
La Milonga de Vinilo (21 – 24 h), more local style milonga in a small resto full of antiques. always with life music of Orchestra Victoria from 22.30-24, donation-based.
La Previa de Araoz (22 – 2:30 h), practica, hard tiled floor.
Cachirulo in El Beso (21-3): milonga, wooden floor, very traditional milonga with separated seating for men/women, hector places you at your seat. Bring a sweater in case he places you below the blowing aircon! Good choice if you are rather after dancing than after socializing; close embrace dancing, low legs, only mirada/cabeceo. It is forbidden to dance in sneakers, for women as well. No same-sex dance couples. Can be packed and full of older people, includes mostly one Chararera tanda, one salsa, one rock ‘n roll in the night. At your first visits you will sit in darker corners, so its hard to get dances. Come some weeks every Tuesday and you will get a better seat soon. For women it’s best to come alone and early. Dress up properly (men, women)!
La Glorieta (20-23 h), see monday.
Practica DNI (20.30-22.20 h), practica assistida, wooden floor, beginner-intermediate level. Usually there is not shown any sequence, but there will be exercises for better musicality, body awareness, connecting in the couple and many other things. Very good if you are a beginner and want to dance without the pressure of normal milongas, so here you can practise and exercise milonga codigos. Often some teachers from DNI are available for a dance with the students.
Seguime … si podes (22:30-2), milonga, stone floor, sound system not very pleasurable, loud music. sometimes high class shows and high percentage of professionals dancing socially. If you always wanted to see Chicho dancing with Noelia, this is (beside El Motivo, La Viruta and El Yeite) the place.
Cheek 2 Cheek (21.30-1:30 h), milonga, stone floor, mixed levels. can be packed, I had boring nights as well as excellent ones here. go with friends, then you are on the safe side. music sometimes loud, and around midnight there is a lottery and some endless speeches.
La Viruta (0-4 h), milonga, one of the old-timers, all-timers here … mixed levels, from beginner to Noelia y Carlitos & Co., stone floor, icy aircon, playlist. Can be great with friends, or really bad if you can not connect with the people and the room. Usually there is a Chacarera played at some point late, as well as a salsa or rock tanda.
De Querusa (19-0.00 h), practica, stone floor, mixed crowd, relaxed, intermediate – high level. big hall, often very noisy. not easy to get dances if you don’t know enough people.
El Yeite (22.00-5.30, or longer), milonga, high level, wooden floor, young crowd, high percentage of professionals after 2 a.m. Don’t come before midnight, and bring friends, otherwise you might feel very lonely and maybe depressed. Nice to watch the pros having fun on the floor. On the ground floor you can dance salsa. Don’t bring glass bottles or alcohol, tough door security checks your bags. Closed until january 2017.
Cheek to Cheek (15 – 19h), practica. location see wednesdays. relaxed and easy going.
La Maleva (22-2 h), practica, small room, wooden floor, no aircon. medium to high level, almost no seats, so keep dancing. Usually very crowded, especially you can meet here many dancers from europe. Excellent home-made empanadas, and try fernet with coca cola here, it is served in half cut fernet bottles as glasses. Closed usually from april to october.
Dos Orillas (23 – 3 h), practica, wooden floor, rather small and with a younger crown, mixed level with many intermedaite dancers (the later the better the dancers). discounted entrance from 23-24 h, friendly hosts.
ZUM (23.30-3.30 h), practica, mixed level, stone floor, aircon, space to dance, relaxed atmosphere, sometimes more leaders than followers, many local dancers.
La Viruta (0-6 h, see Wednesday) – plus: friday and saturday from 4.30 h you can order medialunas and cafe con leche. At least once you should have survived the night until the medialunas arrive 🙂 If you are brave, dance the last tanda. Women: be aware, for the second/third song of this tanda lights are switched off. Some local dancers may use this to try to kiss you or come closer to you than you expect. So choose your dance partner wisely! After the last tanda at 6 a.m. neon lights will flash on, staff starts cleaning the room – a special experience as well (feels like a slap in the face if you just finished a romantic last tanda, autsch!).
Practica DNI (16-20 h), practica, mixed level, wooden floor, often packed. Sometimes live music, usually friendly and relaxed, very hot and humid, sometimes aircon, sometimes not. Bring your own water or at least a bottle (drinks can be bought in the restaurant downstairs, but free water refill is provided). Mostly played at least one tanda electro or nuevo. If you want to read more about DNI, look here.
La Cachivacheria (22.30-4 h), milonga, medium level, tiled floor, very hard to pivot if you happen to stand on a crack, better come in sneakers. The home of El Cachivache, a young tango orchestra with quite some shows every year in europe as well. Tasty empanadas, nice location over all. always with live music. milonga in the darkness after 2 a.m.
La Viruta (0-6 h, see Wednesday/Friday).
Viva La Pepa (22-2 h), milonga, mixed level, stone floor, often very packed, nice dancing rather possible after the show (from 1 a.m.) in peak times. Usually they play a Chacarera at 2 a.m., when the milonga closes. Good to enjoy time with your friends, having a beer, savor the nice atmosphere and the beautiful performances Pepa Palazon organizes. Get a space at a table from friends or reserve your table, especially when there are famous show acts!
La Viruta (0-4 h, see Wednesday/Friday.)
Milongas which closed down in the last 12 months with unknown future:
La Bicicleta, mondays (22.30-2 h), milonga, medium level, stone floor, wonderful location with sofas/chill-out areas inside and outside, lush garden, gives you an impression in between a garden party and a night club. sometimes quite packed. good for drinks, and dance-wise for intermediate dancers, easy to get dances for followers. shows and sometimes life music.
La Practi-Bomba, mondays (21.30-2:30 h), practica, medium level, stone floor, aircon. quite new location. small, often packed. friendly and relaxed, often live music.
Malena Sunderland club, saturdays (23-4.30 h), milonga, a bit far away, share a taxi with friends. Has a brand new wooden floor since march 2016. traditional dancing, many old people, sound system so/so. noisy ventilators. One of the places you should have seen at least once when you are here. Come with friends, else you won’t get (m)any dances. Table reservation essential.