As romantic cities go, Buenos Aires is up there with the best of them. It bounces with energy during the day and turns all mysterious and sultry by night. A slight sense of danger always abounds, and the unpredictable turmoil of everyday living ensures your heart is always beating a bit faster than normal, your endorphins are flowing, and life is vibrant.
Argentines are a passionate people, and it’s a condition that rubs off pretty quickly on visitors. Daily exposure to strong coffee, good wine, sexy tangos, suggestive glances, jiggling cleavage, smooth talking Lotharios and pouting poseurs will have almost anyone feeling light-headed and dreamily amorous.
The people of Buenos Aires channel these lusty emotions in different ways. Bosses take their secretaries to lunchtime love hotels called ‘telos’. Twenty-somethings cram themselves into sweaty nightclubs until the daylight hours, hoping to meet their soulmate (or at least drunkenly rub up against somebody attractive). Construction workers shout unmentionable obscenities at passing housewives. Taxi drivers leer lecherously at girls young enough to be their daughters.
For those who have already found love, the city’s pulsating sensuality can be used to your advantage. The problem is, after a few romantic dinners and walks in the park, you start to run out of ideas on how to impress your partner. Luckily for you, we have laid out some ideas in this guide.
From snug little hole-in-the-wall eateries in San Telmo to flashy Puerto Madero restaurants on the river, eating out is one area where you shouldn’t run out of options. Fusion food, irresistible cocktails and a low-lit atmosphere mean Asia de Cuba is the perfect place for a dinner date. Meanwhile, French food and candlelight at Jolie ensure you can’t really go wrong.
Taking your date out to get pizza might seem like romantic suicide, but Pizza Piola has a funky vibe and loud enough music to ensure that uncomfortable silences won’t be a problem. Dadá is a bistro bar (see below), with excellent food, and it’s the kind of effortlessly hip place that will suggest to your partner that you’re cooler than you really are. To create the impression that you are all ‘in the know’, take your date to one of the exclusive underground restaurants such as Casa Felix.
As millions can testify, witty conversation, a charming personality and good looks can all be rendered unnecessary if you just supply your date with enough alcohol to make everything you say seem Oscar Wilde-ishly clever and all your physical deformities seem, well, momentarily excusable. Le Mervel is a fun place to get the night started and is only a few blocks away from the likes of Dada and Empire Thai, making it the perfect place for an aperitif.
Similarly suave bars with good cocktails are Soul Cafe in Las Canitas, and Mundo Bizarro in Palermo. In Recoleta, head to Millión, a three-story bar/restaurant in a restored French-style mansion. La Cigale is the kind of place that will make you look cool and classy when you take your date there after dinner.
If you date somebody for long enough, sooner or later you will eventually have to spend time with them in the harsh light of day. Then suddenly it becomes harder to think of things to do that don’t just involve eating and drinking. Luckily, Buenos Aires is full of activities that fall into the category of ‘things that impress partners.’
The MALBA gallery in Palermo is a cheap and fascinating way to spend an afternoon. Just make sure you prepare a few intelligent modern-art-related observations beforehand, so you don’t come off sounding like a brain-damaged football hooligan when asked for an opinion. “Even I could draw a boat better than that,” will not impress anybody.
Even though this is the city of tango, learning some other dance styles with your date at Buenos Aires Dance Club will not only allow you to ‘accidentally’ grope them a lot, but will give you an excuse to take them clubbing later that night, so as to try out those new super-stylin’ moves you just learned together.
The view of Buenos Aires from two wheels is much more attractive than from a car or a bus, and an afternoon bike ride is sure to evoke many giddy lovey-dovey moments.
Imagine some kind of sleazy 1970’s golf instructor with handlebar mustache, aviator glasses, sun visor, and tight bell-bottoms, moving in real close to help his student with her swing, reaching around to put his hands over hers on the club shaft, telling her to “relax your hips, baby, sway back… and forward. There you go!” Well, that could be you with your date at the Pitch ‘n’ Putt golf course! But seriously, it doesn’t have to be quite so grubby – it can be a really fun day out even if neither of you have any idea how to play golf.
Another idea that may seem a little left-field is a day at the horse track. The Palermo and San Isidro courses alternate race days, and although it might not be a place you would take a date back home, it can be a surprisingly pleasant day out. Sitting on the grass drinking beers, eating choripan (chorizo sausage on bread) and trying to interpret the form guide can be nice, and your first win together is an unforgettable bonding experience. You could even keep the winning ticket to teach your future children about the joys of gambling.
Okay readers, make sure to send us your wedding photos — it makes us all warm and fuzzy inside to know we made a difference.
—by Dan Colasimone