Café de Hansen

A group of archaeologists found remains of the Café de Hansen, that was located in Palermo during the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, and which has been included in stories as well as tango lyrics.  Last year, the Minister of Culture of Buenos Aires announced that scientists found part of the brick floor of the café some 50 centimeters underground.  It was located at what is now the intersection of Figueroa Alcorta and Avenida Sarmiento, where the Planetarium stands today.

02-lo_de_hansenThe café was named after the owner, Juán Hansen, that opened in 1877.  From 1890, tango orchestras went to play at Café de Hansen.  The place closed its doors in 1912, when major changes were being made in the park where it was located.

One of the main discussions about Hansen was whether or not tango was danced there.  The director and composer Roberto Firpo said once in an interview that “it was a very old building, where they served food on the porch outside.   I played in Hansen in 1908.  They hired me for two pesos. Some say they danced.  It’s a lie. I played tango for them to listen.”  Others say with certainty that tango was danced in this historic café.

Whether or not there was dancing in Lo de Hansen will remain an eternal discussion of porteños.  The truth is that musicians played tangos there, and it was one place that gave them a setting during the early years.

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