Like many things in Argentina, a Buenos Aires winter is unpredictable from one day to the next. Last week's intense rainstorms have made way for this week's sunny blue skies. Heck, in the time it took to write this it changed from a clear morning to an overcast, rainy afternoon. But the slight chill in the air gives us a nice excuse to bundle up with a book at a picturesque cafe or dance the cold away at one of our favorite parties. Here are our go-to spots for surviving a Buenos Aires winter.

Walrus Books

A bookstore fit for a Wes Anderson flick

via Facebook


Buenos Aires has more bookstores per capita than any other city in the world. But finding a good read in English isn’t always an easy task. Geoffrey Hickman began selling off his small collection of books from his apartment before opening Walrus Books on a quiet cobblestone street in San Telmo. The space is cozy, and an ace soundtrack filled with Joy Division and The Smiths makes us want to peruse the selection of 4,000 new and used books all afternoon. If you can’t get comfortable reading a book on the floor, just walk a block and grab a window seat at the 100-year-old bar El Federal, where you can enjoy your new novel with a cortado y medialuna, espresso with milk and croissant. 

Walrus Books, Estados Unidos 617, San Telmo. +54 11 4300 7135; walrus-books.com.ar
Bar El Federal, Carlos Calvo 599, San Telmo. +54 11 4300 4313; barelfederal.com.ar

 

Pulpería Quilapán

Do as the gauchos do

via Facebook


Long gone are the days when general stores, aka pulperías, provided an oasis from the dusty highways where you could tie up your horse, load up on munchies, have a drink (or four), and stick around for a bit of card play and maybe a knife fight. Pulpería Quilapán is here to fill that void — minus the old-timey violence, of course.

Stepping into this bar, general store and social club is liking traveling a century into the past. The brick and wood interior is decorated with a mishmash of vintage photos and trinkets, and it isn’t out of the ordinary for a patron to take a seat at the piano and crank out a few tunes. We recommend wrapping up in a blanket (why don’t all bars offer blankets?!) on the heated outdoor patio for some food and drink. Pair a pinguino (house wine) or a bottle of La Serrana craft beer with a deer or wild boar escabeche and empanada tucumana. 

Defensa 1344, San Telmo. pulperiaquilapan.com

 

Sheldon

Ain’t no party like a weeknight party

via Facebook


Cocktails, food and a free concert. Can you think of a better way to pretend that it’s still the weekend? Every night of the week you can find music going off at Sheldon, but the live shows and DJ sets on Sundays and Mondays make the start of the week the right time to hit the dance floor. The space is decked out in sleek vintage furniture, so when you're done dancing you can lounge with your cocktail on an old velvet couch. On Sunday, resident DJ Fabián Dellamónica helms a soul-inspired party to bring a little heat on a cold winter evening. 

Honduras 4969, Palermo. +54 11 4832 6195; Facebook

 

Maydi AZ

Let’s get knit

via Facebook


After 12 years of working in Paris and Milan, Maria Abdala-Zolezzi returned to her native Argentina to run her own clothing line. Wanting to escape the world of industrialized fashion, she began playing around with Argentine wool and today runs a small, boutique brand that focuses on organic, sustainable woven pieces and knitwear using hand-looming techniques. Maydi has both men and women covered with beautiful scarves, sweaters and ponchos to keep you warm. You can find her stuff at a few shops across the city, but we recommend making an appointment with the designer herself at her Recoleta showroom. Find out which stores stock her line or make an appointment via Facebook

Private showroom, Recoleta. maydiaz.com

 

MAMBA & MACBA

A day at the museum

MAMBA via Facebook


Turn off the TV: There's nothing like a museum crawl when it’s gray and drizzling outside. Luckily, two of the city’s best modern and contemporary art museums are right next door to one another. The MAMBA, Museum of Modern Art, is located inside an enormous converted cigarette factory and touts a permanent collection filled with some of the best Argentine artists of the 1950s and '60s, when the local scene began to break ties from classic art. Next door, the MACBA, Museum of Contemporary Art, houses a large collection with a heavy focus on geometric abstract art. Throughout the year the museum is inviting different Spanish artists to take over the rotating exhibitions. Through August 21, photographer Pilar Albarracín will be on display with photos and videos taken over the last 15 years. 

MAMBA, Av. San Juan 350, San Telmo. +54 11 4361 6919; Facebook
MACBA, Av. San Juan 328, San Telmo. +54 11 5263 9988; macba.com.ar

 

La Catedral

Dance the cold away

via Website


There's a reason that Oscar-winning composer Gustavo Santaolalla (The Motorcycle Diaries, Brokeback Mountain, Making a Murderer) stops into this silo-turned-milonga (tango dance hall) when visiting his native Buenos Aires. Many milongas tend to attract a crowd of professional dancers that can make the novice feel a little out of their element, but here, low-key bohemian vibes meet high-powered tango dance moves. And if any dance can bring the heat, it is tango. At La Catedral, spectators can enjoy the view, rookies can drop in any day of the week for a class and pros can show up starting around 10 p.m. to dance. Another plus? A simple organic menu is a welcome change of pace from the microwaved empanadas, soggy pizza and subpar wine normally found at your run-of-the-mill milonga. 

Sarmiento 4006, Almagro. lacatedralclub.com

 

La Cava Jufré & La Mamma Rosa

The best corner in the city

via Facebook


There is no better way to spend winter than by gorging on comfort foods and sipping a few glasses of red. On the corner of Jufré and Julián Álvarez in Villa Crespo, you can find the best of both worlds. On one side of the street, La Mamma Rosa is a cantina stuck in time where the aromas of garlic, tomato and freshly made pasta permanently waft through the air. Just across the street, La Cava Jufré quenches the thirst of the city’s wine connoisseurs in a relaxed converted mansion. Our recommendation? Order an escalope de lomo, slow-roasted beef in sherry sauce, and a plate of stuffed ravioli in house sauce to fill the tummy (and maybe fill out that winter sweater). Then go next door to let owner Lito Galeano choose the perfect bottle of wine for you from his extensive cellar.  

La Cava Jufré, Jufré 201, Villa Crespo. +54 11 4775 7501; lacavajufre.com.ar
La Mamma Rosa, Jufré 202, Villa Crespo. +54 11 4773 2913


By Kevin Vaughn

When Kevin isn't writing about Buenos Aires food and culture, he's guiding travelers to Buenos Aires with his intimate arts and lifestyle tours via Buenos Aires Art Tours. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.