Bar Seddon is a nostalgic refuge on one of the nicest little cobble-stoned corners of San Telmo.
It’s a seductive destination to enjoy a coffee while gazing out the window or to linger over a bottle of Malbec on a casual date.
The 19th-century former pharmacy oozes style with its classic black and white tiled floor, wood paneled walls topped by beveled mirrors, antique furniture filled with knick-knacks and candles endlessly flickering and melting around the bar.
An antique railway clock keeps time.
→ Check out this cafe after visiting the Sunday San Telmo Fair, along the same street
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History of San Telmo’s Bar Seddon
Seddon opened its doors in 1979. John Seddon and Georgina Renau, previously had an antique store in the old Galerías Pacífico. They had the idea to open a bar with an antique flair.
The first location of the bar was on 25 de Mayo Street downtown, where it operated for over two decades.
Due to a change in municipal regulations the bar had to relocate in the year 2000. They found the current building on the historic corner of Defensa and Chile in the oldest part of town.
They brought their antiques including the shelves from old pharmacies that now display different bottles of wine and liquor.
It was declared of Cultural Interest by the city Legislature the same year.
A Celebrity Attraction
Bar Seddon has wet the whistle of some big names.
The band U2 had drinks at the bar when they came to Buenos Aires on tour, as well as legendary Brazilian singer, Caetano Veloso.
Argentina’s most recognizable actor, Ricardo Darín most famous internationally for his roles in the Secret in Yours Eyes, hung around Seddon while filming scenes for ‘Same Love, Same Rain’ (by Juan José Campanella).
The 1993 drama ‘The Wall of Silence’ (released as ‘Black Flowers’ in some territories) starring Vanessa Redgrave was filmed here.
The 1992 award-winning local cult favorite, ‘El Lado Oscuro del Corazón’ (The Dark Side of the Heart) also featured some scenes here.
A Family Affair
In the early days Seddon was overseen by John, who it turns out, was born to be a bartender. Originally the family had an antique store. When they opened the bar, they brought the antiques with them.
In later years his friendly daughter, Pamela, took over making it feel like hanging out at your favorite eccentric aunt’s house.
Once John passed away you’d still find Pam at the bar and mom Georgina hanging out almost everyday.
In the good old days, before the municipality once again restricted their mojo, banning live music, Seddon was one of the most intimate venues to see Cuban, blues and rock and roll music live in San Telmo.
Unfortunately the city government started enforcing restrictive zoning laws limiting live music in bars around the city after the terrible nightclub fire, Cromañon in 2004.
But there is normally a cool selection of tunes playing over the stereo system at a volume that still allows for conversation.
Food & Drinks
While it serves as a sexy place for a pre-dinner drink, the quality of the food and service has garnered less-than-stellar reviews and has never been the main highlight.
It seems the new owners are capitalizing on their previous reputation to hike up prices for tourists visiting the San Telmo Fair.
Nevertheless, the crowd tends to be down-to-earth, undemanding Porteños with mix of international visitors. The venue presents a relaxed, old-school San Telmo vibe, which stands as a delightful contrast to the trendy bars of the more upscale Palermo neighborhood.
The venue presents a relaxed old-school San Telmo vibe, which is a pleasant contrast to the trendy bars of the more upscale Palermo neighborhood that many visitors are more acquainted with.
Due to the declining quality of the food, we recommend only getting drinks or a little treat such as the coconut-dusted alfajores here to enjoy the atmosphere, but head elsewhere such as the San Telmo market to eat.
Some other bar-cafes in the vicinity are suggested below.
Head to Seddon on a Sunday during the San Telmo Fair to watch street tango through the window and be transported to the San Telmo of yore.
Bar Seddon is the perfect place to soak up San Telmo soul, reminiscent of Buenos Aires’ lively, cafe-bar culture of the 20th century.
$$-$$$ /Credit cards accepted
Defensa 695 (corner of Chile)
Other Stylish historic cafes in the area:
→ Pride Cafe, the only specifically LGBTQ cafe-bar in the neighborhood with limited sidewalk seating.
→ La Poesia Cafe, another classic neighborhood cafe with a much larger menu and sidewalk seating.
→ For good drinks and pretty decent pub food including fish and chips and curries, try Gibralter Pub.
→ If it’s early enough there is a wide variety of small restaurants inside the historic San Telmo Market, including excellent empanadas, Thai, Korean, French (including fondue), Mediterranean, Americana food and others.
→ Not in San Telmo, but only about 6 blocks away, Cafe Tortoni, the city’s most famous French-style historic cafe.