Archive for the ‘Salones de baile’ Category

Edificio El Molino

January 12, 2020

Restoration work on the landmark Edificio El Molino across from the national congress has been ongoing for years.  For the last year, the work appears more serious than before.

There is a beautiful salon de baile on the first floor.  During my first visit to Buenos Aires in March 1996, I went one night to the milonga organized by Juan Fabbri of Solo Tango TV. The entrada was $8 pesos/dollars — the highest entrada of all the milongas at that time.

The restoration process is far from complete, but I have hopes there is a milonguero/a ready, willing, and able to host a new milonga in the salon of this historic 1916 building.

Buenos Aires is the tango center of the world.

Confiteria del Molino

December 30, 2018

Only one block from the demolished Nuevo Salon La Argentina is the Confiteria del Molino.  This building, which opened in 1916, is a protected landmark under restoration and now owned by the state.  It’s never coming down!

I had my first visit to Buenos Aires in March 1996, when a milonga opened on the first floor of Confiteria del Molino (windmill).  This article from La Nacion has a photo of the dance salon where Madonna danced in the movie “Evita.”  The milonga closed after only six months, and then the building closed and was abandoned in 1997.  The confiteria on the ground floor is where politicians went to talk business. The national congress is just across the street.

This photo shows the windows and doors facing Avenida Callao of the salon de baile where the milonga was held in 1996.  I recall going out on the balcony through the doors on the far right. I may have danced only one tanda that night, but it was a very special place for tango, even if only for a brief period.  Perhaps tango dancing will return to the famous salon de baile in Confiteria del Molino in the not too distant future.  The city is losing venues for milongas, which are crucial to tango’s survival as a social dance and cultural interest.

Società Unione Operai Italiani

January 15, 2014

Salon de Societá Unione Operai Italiani salon de Societá Unione Operai Italiani 2


Società Unione Operai Italiani,  located at Sarmiento 1374 in San Nicolas, was founded in 1874.  The grand Salon Augusteo was a venue for tango during the 1950s.  The salon finally closed in April 2005 with its final milonga.  Law protects the building for historical preservation since 2008.  This is considered one of the most important buildings in Argentina for Italians.  Virginio Colombo, architect from Milan, renovated the salon for cultural events in 1913.  In 2012, the building was bought by the Church of Scientology in Argentina which will renovate and restore this masterpiece.

Palacio Rodriguez Pena

April 6, 2013

Two friends and I got a personal tour of Palacio Rodriguez Pena this week.  The orchestras of Juan D’Arienzo and Osvaldo Pugliese, as well as singers Carlos Gardel and Alberto Castillo among others performed there.  Built in 1902, it was the city’s first hall for important social gatherings.  It’s still as lavish as it was then.


The manager turned on the lights and walked us through the palace.  It felt like we stepped back to another era.

DSCN4856 original chandelier

The chandelier in the main salon is lowered on a pulley for cleaning and bulb replacement.

DSCN4857 dressing room as it was in 1902

The furniture is the original in the small dressing room where musicians and singers left their coats.  The wallpaper is not original, but from the period.  The porcelain sink was replaced.

DSCN4858 modern kitchen of Palacio Rodriguez Pena

The huge kitchen is equipped to handle events of 400 people.

DSCN4859 view from the stage

This floor was meticulously constructed for dancing in the salon.  It shows wear, but then it’s more than 100 years old.  This was the place where young ladies were introduced to society.  When invited by a gentleman to dance, a lady looked to her mother seated in the balcony above for her approval.

DSCN4860 the stage

The musicians sat in the area behind these red curtains when playing for dances..

DSCN4861 original bar

Many of the original lamps and artwork grace the palace where the elite of Buenos Aires gathered for dining and dancing.

Casa Suiza

May 9, 2012

I was walking by last month and stopped to talk with the young man at the entrance.  There was something going on inside, and I was curious to know if renovation plans are underway for Casa Suiza.  That was wishful thinking on my part.  The man told me that the owners are awaiting permits to demolish the existing property and build an office/apartment building with a multi-level garage.

What’s so special about Casa Suiza?  Founded in 1893, Casa Suiza is a historical landmark.  It was the place where Blacks rented the lower level and first floor salon in the 1940s to 1970s.  They called it The Shimmy Club and danced candombe there.  I learned that fact from Tango: The Art History of Love by Robert Farris Thompson (Pantheon 2005).  He interviewed Carlos Alberto Anzuate, one of the blacks who danced in the basement of Casa Suiza.

Paris of South America

April 23, 2009

That’s what Buenos Aires is often called.  There was a time when French was taught in schools.  French architecture with impressive domes is prominent in the city.  Many of the cabarets during the 1930s used French names.  Porteños enjoy croissants with café for breakfast, only they call them media lunas.  The influence of Parisian life is evident in many ways in Buenos Aires.

balajo1The same is true for Paris where tango was popular in the 1920s.  Paris has its tango clubs Le Temps Du Tango and Le Bistro Latin for many years.  The tango has left it’s mark on Parisian life. 

The last time I visited Paris was 1989.  I searched for a place to go dancing in the afternoon and found La Balajo, established in 1936.   It’s where Edith Piaf won the hearts of Parisian music lovers.   The club had a variety of music played by a deejay including tango.  It was just like an afternoon milonga in Buenos Aires.  There were more women than men so some danced alone or with another woman.  La Balajo still has tango dances in the afternoon.




Salones de baile

April 7, 2009

The ballrooms have stages where orchestras performed for dancing.


Salón La Nacional – Asociación Nazionale Italiano – Adolfo Alsina 1463 – Montserrat


Salón Reduci – Pte. Luis Sáenz Peña 1441 – Constitución  – since 1929


Salón Sur – formerly a movie theater, now a Disco – Avenida Sáenz 459 – Nueva Pompeya



Salón Suiza – Sociedad Filantropica Suiza – Rodriguez Peña 254 – San Nicolas – founded August 6, 1893

 Blacks rented the basement and first floor for dances and called it The Shimmy Club.  It’s where candombe was danced in the 1940s-70s.



Salón Asturiano – Centro Asturiano – Solis 475 – Montserrat

Where Osvaldo Centeno did his first cabeceo.

Salones de baile

April 6, 2009


The Palais de Glace opened in 1910 in Recoleta as an ice-skating rink for the upper class. When interest in skating declined, an oak floor was installed to convert it into a ballroom for tango. Carlos Gardel, Francisco Canaro, and Julio de Caro performed there.  Posadas 1725.


Salón El Pial – Ramón L. Falcón 2750 – Flores

Thursday and Sunday dances in a modest neighborhood club with one of the largest floors in the city.

Salón Savoy – Savoy Hotel – Callao 181 – San Nicolas

The Savoy was originally built in 1910 and had a ballroom for dancing. Unfortunately, the recent renovations to return the hotel to its original splendor included meeting rooms instead of a ballroom.  The photos on this site give a glimpse back at what it was like a century ago in Buenos Aires.

Salones de baile

April 5, 2009

Salónes de baile are ballrooms of Buenos Aires where dancing was the main event.  They were established by cultural organizations that wanted a home for events.  Many of these salónes had to be closed in 2005 when new city safety regulations were established after the fire at Cromañon of December 2004.


Salón Belgrano – Av. Belgrano 3965 – Almagro


Salón Moreno – Moreno 1768 – Montserrat

Pocho Pizarro and Stella Barba held classes and a practica in Salon Moreno in 1997.



Salón Rodriguez – Club Liber Piemont – Gral. Manual A. Rodriguez 1191 – Caballito


Salón Augusteo – Societa Unione Operai Italiani – Sarmiento 1374 – San Nicolas

Established in 1858, and the building was completed in 1913.  The Teatro Colón used the salon for rehearsals this year.



Salón Akarense – Donado 1355 – Villa Ortuzar

I saw Ada Peloso dancing there in June 2001, and three months later it closed.

Centro Region Leonesa

January 28, 2009


Centro Region Leonesa, located at Humberto Primo 1462 in Constitución, was built in 1916, and it has been a dance venue for many decades.   Luis Calvo and Gaby Artaza started their milonga “Niño Bien” on Thursday nights in 1998, when the five peso entrada included a glass of champagne.  Many refer to the place as “Niño Bien.” 

A saxophone quartet was performing the night I took this photo (November 1998).  Salon Leonesa has one of the best dance floors in Buenos Aires.  The ballroom was redecorated a couple years ago and improved with air-conditioning and an elevator.  I recall the hot summer nights dancing there before A/C was installed and the ceiling fans kept the air circulating without much relief.

The first apartment I rented was located three blocks from Leonesa.  I go there regularly for either Atilio Verón’s milonga “Mi Refugio” on Monday, or Luis Trapasso’s milonga “Entre Tango y Tango” on Wednesday and Friday or  Enrique Rosich’s “Milonga de los Consagrados” on Saturday afternoon.  It’s a convenient 25-minute walk for me.   Enrique started seating women on the east side of the room and men on the west side–the other organizers have followed his lead. 

Centro Region Leonesa is one of only a handful of milonga venues with a stage for live orchestra.  You occasionally might notice strange sounds coming from the downstairs room where bagpipers rehearse.  At least their piercing sounds don’t reach the milonga upstairs.