La Cigale: Buzzing Bar in Buenos Aires’ Microcentro

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La Cigale is an energetic, chic French-themed bar in downtown Buenos Aires that is one of the best places in town to party during the week.

It’s a fun bar on Fridays and Saturdays, but from Monday through Thursday it’s one of the better places to let your hair down and party into the wee hours.

The young, international crowd who come to listen to live music and DJs ensure a vibrant atmosphere that is more akin to underground bars in Europe or the States than the typical cliquey Argentine bar where groups of friends will sit around at tables only talking to each other.

Interaction with good-looking strangers is facilitated by the missing ingredient in many of those Argy bars — a sprawling bar, an emerald tiled affair that winds through the middle of the premises where people can sit or mill around while enjoying their drinks.

La Cigale is one of those locales that look pretty cheap and tacky when the lights are on, but in the dim night lighting that emanates from cicada lampshades and overhead fairy lights, it gains a little bit of sexy je ne sais quoi, especially after a few drinks.

A wide range of imported spirits are served up at some of the cheapest prices in town, especially on Tuesday night – La Cigale’s tub-thumping ‘French night.’

Apart from a few little tricolor flags hanging overhead, it’s hard to decipher where the Gallic part comes in, but it’s better to have a flimsy raison d’être than none at all, and with the exception of Sebastión Giménez Melohey, most of the co-owners are French.

Cocktails & Food

There is a plastic menu if you really must eat, but apart from a few standard dishes like mozzarella pizza which are passable, most of the food seems like a bit of an afterthought, and you are better off dining somewhere else before you hit the bar.

Founded in conjunction with the French music magazine, called Inrockuptibles in Spanish, one of the highlights of La Cigale is the quality eclectic music that can be heard each night.

Mondays and weekends are the main nights for live bands which vary in style, but tend towards punk, ska, and pop. Thursdays are dub nights.

This bar is definitely a downtown stop for Argentine rockers looking to wet their whistles — owner Giménez Melohey, effortlessly lists off a litany of stars that have stopped by, and keeps tabs of who among them are good tippers and who stiffed them.

There are a couple of friendly bartenders, although the majority seem more interested in preening their stylish Gucci-mullet haircuts and flirting with each other than actually serving the customers, who are often piled up two-deep at the bar.

If you can get over that annoyance, though, La Cigale is one of the most refreshing night spots downtown.

If you have an old guidebook, note that the bar moved in 2010 to a larger location two blocks away from the original.  — by Dan Colasimone

La Cigale-$$
25 De Mayo 597
Tel: 4312-8275

• Hours: Mon-Fri 6 p.m.—3 a.m.
-Sat and bank holidays: 9 p.m. — 3 a.m.
-Closed Sundays

• Accepts Visa