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La Polonesa: Welcome Back to the 1950's

La Polonesa: Welcome Back to the 1950's

During the day, the occasional tourists visiting the Cathedral Basillica Metropolitana might wander into this local spot across the street from Parque Bolivar in Medellin, Colombia. After dark, however, chances are that the foreigners have all scurried back to the safety of El Poblado as the area is deemed “dangerous.” And at the time of writing it was for those who don’t understand the barrio or pay attention. 

When Arcesio bought the bar seven years ago he didn’t change a thing. But then, neither had the various people who had owned it for 50 or so years before he took it over as otherwise it wouldn’t have maintained its character. 

Check the original floor – how many thousands of footsteps have landed there? And the dark, solid wooden bar that would be a great cover if there was a shoot-out. When was the last time you saw two stuffed eagles and an armadillo perched on the top of a bar?

Caught in a time warp, nobody wants to alter anything as it works. The furniture, the ambience, and the music could come from an episode of Father Knows Best.  Think of the bar notables in Buenos Aires, and get the feel for the ambience. It is contagious and seeps into salsa toe tapping feet. 

Why is La Polonesa 'The Local' for the Locals?

By about 19:00 the office workers have left and the people in the neighborhood have slouched into their usual chairs.  The music – not an English song on the premises – is not head-banging loud and is so familiar that people often sing along.

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The Dedicated Drinker’s Guide to Buenos Aires – San Telmo

The Dedicated Drinker’s Guide to Buenos Aires – San Telmo
Krakow Buenos Aires

Truly dedicated drinkers live – and drink – in San Telmo. This small barrio has more bars, resto-bars, cafes, restaurants and liquor outlets per square meter than anywhere else in Buenos Aires, perhaps on the planet. Walk into any Chinese grocery – and there is one on every block – and study the vast array of wines and spirits that cover at least one entire wall. The Chinese are good business people, so if alcohol wasn't selling, they wouldn’t be stocking it.


This bar bills itself as "Polish," and, to its credit stocks zubruowka. This upbeat place is a hangout for the up and coming porteñas – 'people of the port' as Federal Capital residents are so fond of calling themselves. To snag a table or a place at the bar on a Friday night, get there before everyone else gets off work. The rest of the week is more relaxed.

Happy hour is from 18:00 to 22:00 and you can get two Jamison for 30 pesos, about USD6. To use a credit card, however, you have to spend at least 50 pesos. But the good news is you can buy happy hour vouchers in advance. As an aside, use your card whenever possible as you pay less of an exchange rate than withdrawing pesos, which you can’t convert back to dollars except on the black market.

New Breoghans Bar

Named after a Celtic legend, this pub is the first brew bar in San Telmo. Three entrepreneurs – Nicolas, Ramiro and Angel – started the bar four years ago, but it has only been in the “new” location for two of them.

The cliental at this interactive pub includes a combination of local office workers, expats and tourists. Check out this fun place where you can play pool, visit with friends, perch at the high tables or slide up to the bar. The pub food – hamburgers, Irish lamb stew and chicken wings – gets good reviews. And is a good way to fortify your stomach for the evening ahead. Happy hour from 18:00 to 22:00.

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