Archive for the ‘Clubes de barrio’ Category

EL MUNDO – Domingo, Julio 4 de 1943

July 4, 2022

Try to imagine a Sunday morning when a porteño went to the corner newspaper stand to buy a copy of El Mundo to check the ads for neighborhood clubs featuring orchestras that night for dancing.

Where would you go?

Club Pinocho

June 30, 2020

How was Pinocho Club founded?
In the evening of Monday, July 20th 1925, Mr Felix Zugazti, who was then a 16-year-old boy, got a dozen kids together who were all between 10 and 12 years old. He met them at the backyard of his house, at 3433 Colodrero St., claiming that he had read an announcement on the Spanish magazine PINOCHO. Such announcement encouraged every single Spanish-spoken city to found a club carrying the name of the adventurer Pinocchio.

Club Social y Deportivo Pinocho was located on Colodrero 3451 for this dance with Orquesta Tipica Juan D’Arienzo on July 4, 1943.  The club location today is Manuela Pedraza 5139 in the barrio of Villa Urquiza.

One evening of March 1996, our tango tour group at the Castelar Hotel on Avenida de Mayo made the long trek in several taxis to Club Pinocho, at the recommendation of Carlos Copello.  We all sat together at a table and watched the senior couples dance to recorded music. It was my first chance to see a club de barrio on a Saturday night.  The only time I danced that night was to rock ‘n’ roll music with my roommate.  I didn’t know enough about tango and the clubs to appreciate what we witnessed that night at Club Pinocho.

I was delighted to find these ads that give us a glimpse of the tango history at Club Pinocho.

Alejandro Scarpino

June 26, 2020

Every moment reviewing the scanned files from pages of El Mundo by Michael Krugman offers me another glimpse into the Golden Age.  Last night after enlarging files to read text, an ad gave me a flashback to my beginning days of Argentine tango in Chicago.

I organized a Night in Buenos Aires with a special appearance by Alejandro Scarpino, whose father Alejandro Scarpino (1904-1970) composed Canaro en Paris.  Seeing his name in the ad below reminded me of that night in Chicago when guests had the special treat of hearing a bandoneonist live for the first time in Chicago.  Scarpino happened to be in Chicago for an extended visit with an acquaintance.  I hired him to perform a few tangos for ten minutes, but once he got started he didn’t stop.  The audience enjoyed every minute of his solo performance.  Scarpino came from a family of  bandoneonistas, so it was only natural that Alejandro Junior learn bandoneon.  I wish I had taken photos of him that night.  There was someone taking photos that night, so I have this one during an exhibition (before I knew the real tango of the milongas).

La Rural is an exposition center at Plaza Italia, across the street from the new Ecoparque on Avenida Sarmiento where the III Campeonato Mundial de Tango was held in August 2005.

Club Atletico Atlanta

June 25, 2020

Atlanta, founded in 1904, is in the neighborhood of Villa Crespo, adjacent to Palermo Viejo.  It’s a social, cultural, and sports club with a professional soccer team.  I found impressive photos of the club as it is today on their website.  The front of the building has changed since this photo.  My assumption is that the indoor soccer field was the space for dancing in the 1940s, but I would like confirmation from a milonguero who was there.

The ad promised an unforgettable night.  I believe it when there are six orquestas performing tango.  D’Arienzo, Donato, Maffia, and Pugliese are familiar names.  Juan Sánchez Gorio and Alberto Mancione were bandoneonistas and composers who directed their own orquestas.  Stars of film, theater, and radio were also on the program.

The Argentine Cinema Magazine brought their show lineup from Mi Club to Atlanta.

The sensation of the moment.  Miguel Calo.  The interesting story is  Gordon Stretton, a jazz drummer from Liverpool, England, who immigrated to Buenos Aires and formed the Gordon Stretton’s Symphonic Jazz Band in 1929. His name is misspelled in the ad.The dances with recordings continued.  In those days the musicalizador (DJ) had to flip records.  Admission was 80 cents.

Were there milongas in 1943?

August 19, 2015


I received this page of a Buenos Aires newspaper April 17, 1943, with the comment — the word “milonga” is not mentioned — from a reader in India.

First, I tried imagining what it was like in those days when one opened the newspaper and read the list of tango orquestas appearing that Saturday night in the clubs.  Miguel Angel Balbi showed me newspapers from the 1940s years ago, so I am familiar with the advertising.  Was it a difficult deciding where to go?  How did people choose one among the list of orquestas in the Golden Age of tango? The page features the top nine orquestas of the Golden Age, missing only Pugliese to complete the top ten.

Based on my conversations with several milongueros viejos, the reason that “milonga” isn’t mentioned in the advertisements is because these dances with orquestas were held in neighborhood clubs on Saturday.  The “milongas” started around 1948 in nine confiterias bailables downtown with recorded music every day of the week.  The milongueros didn’t like the competition from the singers on stage who distracted the women from dancing.  The women focused on dancing with the milongueros when Raul Beron or Roberto Chanel weren’t around.  Hence the dances in the downtown confiterias were known as milongas where milongueros went to milonguear.  The confiterias bailables were small venues where the dancing changed.

With computer assistance, I enlarged the page to read the details in the ads.

Miguel Calo played in Asoc. S. F. Apolo at Boulogne sur Mer 547 (El Once).  The location is now the IFT Theater, a venue for alternative theater productions.

Juan D’Arienzo was announced to play on Sunday with L’Orchestre Lewis Varona (mambo) at Club Atletico Independiente, Av. Mitre 450, Avellaneda, from 19-23,30 hs. Entrada was 2 pesos.

Angel D’Agostino played at Racing Club, Av. Mitre 934, Avellaneda from 22-4 hs.  Male members paid 1.50, women paid 50 centavos; male nonmembers 5 pesos, female nonmembers 1 peso.

Anibal Troilo with singers Francisco Fiorentino and Alberto Marino, plus a jazz orchestra, were at Club Atletico Velez Sarsfield, Rivadavia 7855-67, in Liniers.  There were limited streetcar lines in those days and few buses, so people had to rely on a friend with a car for transportation. Ladies paid 50 centavos to enter.  Liniers is near the city limit.

Pedro Laurenz with Alberto Podesta performed downtown at Ocean Dancing at 25 de Mayo 279 that had another entrance on L. H. Alem, from 22-1 hs.

Ricardo Tanturi kept two groups of musicians working.  One played at Tribu Social Club at Sarmiento 1374 and another with Alberto Castillo plus a jazz orchestra in Circulo General Urquiza, F. D. Roosevelt 5345, a neighborhood sports club.

Lucio Demare was the headliner at Palermo Palace, Godoy Cruz and Santa Fe in Palermo, where men paid one peso and women entered free.

Carlos Di Sarli with Roberto Rufino appeared at Club Boca Juniors, Brandsen 805, Boca, from 22-4 hs.  This would have been my choice, even if I had to walk there.

Rodolfo Biaggi and two singers were at Club Miraflores at Boyacá 652, Flores, alternating sets with a jazz band from 22 hs.  Entrada was 2 pesos for men, 50 centavos for women.

An unforgettable night of tango

April 7, 2015

With 50+ years of experience, Oscar Hector knows how to organize special tango events that are worth attending.  I’ll travel an hour by bus to one of his events.

I arrived before 21 hs., and there was already a line formed at the door to enter.  The entrada was 70 pesos — the first time I paid that much.

I had my first glimpse of the remodeled salon of El Pial in Flores, and it’s more elegant than ever.


Large poster-sized photos of tango and folklore celebrities adorn the walls.  Here is Juan D’Arienzo and his orquesta tipica.


Alberto Castillo and his orquesta tipica.


And Roberto Goyeneche with Anibal Troilo.


This is a large poster-sized photo of the dance floor at El Pial before the remodeling.


I had the pleasure of sharing a table with milonguera Nilda Garcia, who began dancing tango at 13.  She was dancing all night with a friend.


Since it was A Night of Di Sarli, the first 90 minutes of music was exclusively Carlos Di Sarli recordings.  There was a time decades ago when the confiterias bailables featured the recordings of one orquesta.   Oscar Hector is the only organizer in Buenos Aires who continues the tradition.  He welcomed each couple as they arrived and brought them to their table — a perfect host.  When he spoke about the singers of Di Sarli’s orquesta, there was total silence in the salon.  He featured them with clips of their best recordings.  The dancers were there to honor El Señor del Tango.

The lower ceiling over the tables allows for recessed lighting.  The tile dance floor is the largest in the city.


Oh, no.  Could it be?  Yes, that’s Tonino dancing.  I hadn’t seen Antonio Pisano for years.  I haven’t called him on his birthday since he has a girlfriend at home.  He turned 84 on March 12.  He noticed I was filming, but he made a point of not acknowledging me.  Seeing Tonino dance again was another reason I was happy to be there.


I went mainly to hear Orquesta Gente de Tango, which has new blood with several younger musicians replacing the original ones who have finally retired from playing.


Orquesta Gente de Tango performed transcribed Di Sarli arrangements on stage for the audience of 300+.  Hector Morano sings with great passion.


Guillermo Durante plays the Di Sarli style. Unfortunately, he discovered too late that the piano wasn’t tuned.


Mary and Maru were the belles of the ball.


I patiently waited for one milonguero viejo to arrive.  Finally, one came.  Jorge Uzunian lives about three blocks from Salon El Pial.  We’ve danced at Lo de Celia and other milongas.  One tanda with him would have been enough for me for the night, but he didn’t stay around for long after calculating the shortage of potential dance partners.  I was ready with my dance shoes, but I didn’t dance.

All in all, it was a wonderful night of music.  I stayed until 2:30am and patiently waited one hour for the bus to take me home.  That’s the sacrifice I’ll make for a Night of Carlos Di Sarli.

7 years of Tango Chamuyo


A night at Club Premier

December 8, 2011

I attended the “one-night only” milonga at Club Premier in the barrio of Caballito on December 8, 2001.  The outdoor sports area became a dance salon with lights, tables, chairs, and music for a night of tango.  December weather is usually warm, but this night was unseasonably cool, which kept many of the advance ticket holders (ten pesos) away.  Elisa Fardella and her partner Antonio Barone had planned this night for months.

In the 1950s, this club de barrio held dances on Saturday nights where young ladies went escorted by a female relative or family friend.  They sat at tables along the walls while all the young milongueros stood in the middle waiting for the opportunity to invite a young lady to dance.

A few of the men who danced at Club Premier in the 1950s returned for this special night.  There was an aire of nostalgia for them as they remembered their younger years.  Pedro Sanchez, Roberto Alvarez, Guillermo Mourinio, Juan Topalian, Alito Candamil, Jose Luis Aceto, Osvaldo Centeno, Eduardo Naldi, Hector Delgado, Ernesto Delgado, and Miguel Angel Balbi all took a step back in time to recall those days while they danced under the stars on this cool night.  Pedro told me how beautifully polished the surface had been in those days.  Eduardo said, “it’s cold tonight, but it’s beautiful.”  Then the deejay selected Recuerdos by Osvaldo Pugliese to begin the next tanda.

Miguel Angel Balbi recalled when he was dancing at Club Premier on Saturday nights almost fifty years ago.  He said, “words don’t exist to express the feeling of happiness I had here.  I have so many memories.  Premier was one of the best places to dance on Saturday night.  All the men stood in the middle, while the women sat at tables along the wall.  There were nights with more than 500 people.”

I could see how much this club meant to Ernesto Delgado when he told me that this was where he had met the woman he eventually married and who gave him three wonderful sons.

Club Premier was and still is a neighborhood sports club on Campichuelo.  Mothers would not have permitted their young daughters to go alone to dance at a milonga the city.  Women went to the city milongas unescorted.  This is an important difference between the milongas in the city and the neighborhood clubs of the 1940s and 50s.

This post was revised as previously published December 17, 2001, on Tango-L.  I knew how special the occasion was and brought along my camcorder to film it.  I made a video cassette for the organizers and thought I had recorded over the master.  Early this year I discovered that I had the 16-minute video master.  It’s my tango documentary and one of my most important videos.

P.S.  I decided to go to Club Gricel tonight.  Among the hundreds of dancers there was Antonio Barone who hosted the night at Club Premier!  I went to tell him about this post and the video master.  He recalled that cold night when dozens with prepaid entradas stayed home.

Club Oeste

December 2, 2010

The tango magazine ad for La Yumba de Dorita says the milonga runs from 6:00-1:00, so I arrived at 7:00.  A tango class for beginners was in progress on the main floor; the milonga is held upstairs.  Club Oeste is a neighborhood sports club in Caballito.

I was warmly welcomed by Dorita.  I asked her permission to take photos and film during the milonga.  A woman whom I never met before approached my table to express her sadness about the passing of Roberto Angel Pujol.  Needless to say, I was surprised.  She had no idea that Roberto and I danced and taught together.  It was comforting to know that others miss him as much as I do.  Roberto went everywhere to dance during more than fifty years in the milongas.

I went to Club Oeste for the first time after a milonguera told me she dances there on Sunday, but I forgot to ask her what time to go.  Lala finally arrived at 9:30 and invited me to sit at her table.  We were joined much later by José María and Daniel, two milonguero friends of Lala.  The music was very good, and the floor was never crowded.  I expected La Cumparsita at 1:00, but the dancing continued until 2:00. 

Clubes de barrio

March 6, 2009

club-social-y-deportivo-juventud-de-belgranoClub Social y Deportivo Juventud de Belgrano — Virrey Aviles 3153 in Belgrano R

This was one of many neighborhood clubs where orchestras performed on Saturday nights in the 1940s. Miguel Angel Balbi went there regularly in the 1950s.

club-atletico-velez-sarsfield-versallesClub Atlético Veléz Sarsfield — Rivadavia 7867

My first tango teacher was Danel who taught in New York City and now is enjoying his retirement in Phoenix, Arizona.  This is one of the clubs where he danced as a teenager before moving to the USA.  The photo isn’t the actual club where he danced in the 1940s, but the new existing stadium.

club-atletico-defensores-de-chacaritaClub Atlético Defensores de Chacarita — Elcano 3831 — Chacarita

Amanda Lucero and Rodolfo Cesar Indegno mentioned this club as one of their favorite places to dance.  The club no longer holds dances.


Gaona 1327 (1996)Club Social y Deportivo Buenos Aires — Avenida Gaona 1327 and Av. San Martin in Caballito

This is a photo from 1996 before the building was demolished.  Miguel Angel Balbi told me that he went regularly on Sunday nights in the 1950s when dances were held in the outdoor soccer court.  My friend Diana sighed when I mentioned Club Buenos Aires where she danced in the 1990s.

Dante Cespi was the organizer at Club Social y Deportivo Buenos Aires.  He was introduced one night by Oscar Hector Malagrino at Club Glorias Argentinas in July 2003, so I took the opportunity to ask him about how dances used to be.  He was 83 years old then and recalled when 78rpm records were all they had for dances.

club-telegrafo-y-crisol-unidos-parque-chacabucoClub Telegrafo y Crisol Unidos –Saraza 951 — Parque Chacabuco

This is the club where Osvaldo Centeno attended a practica with other boys in the neighborhood.

Milongas are held at this club.

Clubes de barrio

March 5, 2009

circulo-social-y-deportivo-sin-rumbo-villa-urquizaCirculo Social y Deportivo Sin Rumbo — Tamborini 6157 – Villa Urquiza

The entrance wall is full of photographs of tango personalities who have been to the club.  For almost 90 years it has been a traditional place to dance, known as La Catedral del Tango.  The only occasion I went there was in July  2002, for a special event organized by Oscar Hector Malagrino.  Julio Dupláa and his wife organize Friday nights where they provide traditional tango music.


Club América del Sud
Francisco Bilbao 3760
Parque Avellaneda

They have a salon with a wood floor for their regular Saturday night dances that have been held for many years.






Club Atlético Huracán Av. Caseros 3159 Parque Patricios

This club’s history dates back to 1903.  During the 1940s dances were held on Saturdays.  Ernesto Jorge De Gouvea once told me that he would give his right index finger to have one night the way it was at Club Huracán.  It must have been very special for him.  Dances were held ten years ago in the confiteria of the club.




Asociación de Fomento y Biblioteca Popular Mariano Acosta
Mariano Acosta 1544
Parque Avellaneda

Saturday night dances






Club Social y Deportivo  Estudiantes del Norte
Holmberg 4070

Dances haven’t been held in this club since March 2000. Saavedra was the neighborhood of tango singer Roberto Goyaneche.