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When walking the streets of Buenos Aires you might notice that a lot of locals dress like rock stars. Converse trainers, ripped jeans and leather jackets are commonplace, and it‘s clear that Porteños (Buenos Aires residents) love rock music.
Thankfully Buenos Aires has many talented bands, with local musicians putting a Spanish-language twist on Brit-rock, post-punk, ‘80s new wave and indie rock. And there are many small clubs and bars that showcase live rock each night.
Run-down Salon Pueyrredon (open Thursday through Saturday, 9 pm until late) stands out from the city’s usual lounge-y bars with an eclectic crowd where tattoos, dog chains and mohawks are common. This punk bar is a major testing ground for local bands, and a great place to enjoy live rock, punk and ska music, as well as cheap drinks. Entry is free before 2 am and between 20 to 30 Argentinean pesos after 2 am, depending on whether you put your name on the list. Check out the website to see which bands are playing.
La Cigale (open Monday through Saturday, 6 pm until late), located in downtown Buenos Aires and run by French expats, attracts a trendier crowd and features a psychedelic-styled bar area downstairs and an intimate concert area upstairs. Here, there is pretty much no distinction between the stage and the audience -- which La Cigale likes to call cara a cara (face to face). Thursday nights are for emerging local talent, while Monday nights feature acoustic sets. A two-for-one happy hour from 6 pm to 10 pm on weeknights is a good opportunity to try what many consider the best mojito in town. Entry is free and most bands start playing around midnight.
For those looking for a more traditional live music venue, The Roxy Live (open all week, from 8 pm on weeknights and 9 pm on weekends) is a fully fledged rock club, with a professional sound system, a 500-person capacity and a stage that towers over the audience. Well-known local bands tend to play here as its spacious area warrants a larger crowd, and there’s a separate bar where patrons can enjoy drinks and typical Argentine bar food like empanadas before the show starts. Tickets (30 to 40 Argentinean pesos) can be bought at the door on the night of the show; check the agenda for times and band info.
In contrast to The Roxy Live, Plasma (open Wednesday through Saturday, from 9 pm on Wednesdays, 10 pm on Thursdays and Fridays and 11 pm on Saturdays) is a small and intimate club located in the neighbourhood of Barracas a few blocks from the more well-known San Telmo district. Featuring a glowing neon bar and a tiny stage, Plasma has little standing room so show up early to get a table. Tickets can be purchased at the door and range from 10 to 25 Argentinean pesos, depending on the band. While Plasma is known for newer bands showcasing their music, it is not uncommon for bigger acts to perform and pack in a crowd. Show times and band info can be found on the club’s website.
Tim Fitzgerald is the Buenos Aires Localite for BBC Travel. He also writes gringoinbuenosaires.com.