Buenos Aires City Guide by Barrio: Boedo
Boedo is located west of Buenos Aires´ business district (Microcentro) just past Balvanera (which is more typically known by its three districts Abasto, Congreso and Once) and next to Almagro. It lies between Av. Independencia and Av. Caseros and straddles Autopisto 25 de Mayo..
Boedo is one of those Buenos Aires neighborhoods often overlooked by tourist guides and tourists alike. However, the barrio has experienced a cultural rebirth in recent years bringing more locals and tourists to the area.
The San Lorenzo de Almagro football club has its home in Boeda.
Boedo is one of Buenos Aires´ newest barrios having been formed in 1972 at the same time Balvanera was separated from Almagro.
Originally, the area was full of warehouses, flour mills, brick ovens and milk drums. Full of pulperias (bars) and cafetines (small coffee houses) the Boedo section of Buenos Aires was an artistic hotbed in the beginning of the 20th century and home to cultural giants such as lyricist Homero Manzi and writer Roberto Arlt.
Its original buildings were low and laid out in a repeated monotonous pattern, one after the other in what is sometimes referred to as “chorizo” cottages (like sausage links) and the area drifted into relative anonymity after World War II becoming a predominantly middle-class neighborhood.
Boedo is the only barrio in Buenos Aires named after its main street, Av. Boedo. The street in turn was named after Dr. Mariano Joaquin Boedo, an independence advocate and signer of the National Act of Independence.
Today, Boeda has become a quiet residential neighborhood with its low houses contrasting the many new building that have emerged the last few years. However, as has happened with other bohemian neighborhoods such as San Telmo and Palermo, Boedo has experienced a cultural rebirth in recent years.
Independent theaters, underground restaurants and trendy bars have sprung up amid the century old “chorizo” cottages that still define Boedo today. The city has erected several semi-figurative sculptures in the neighborhood and today artist mingle with longtime residents, many of which were only teenagers during Boedo´s last boom.
Much of the revitalization of the area is attributable to an arts-minded family, the Marins, who moved to Buenos Aires from the city of Mendoza and opened several cultural centers and restaurants in the area.
Boedo has many well known theaters such as Timbre 4 (Av. Boedo 640) a 50 seat playhouse opened by the playwright Claudio Tolcachir. Since 2004 it has been home to Tolcachir´s award winning comedy “La Omision de la Familia Coleman” which has attracted such celebrities as Francis Ford Coppola.
The barrio´s bohemian past has been rediscovered through places such as Cafe Margo (Av. Boedo 857) an old French-style cafe complete with bow-tied waiters and black-and-white floor tiles that attracts a new generation of artists and writers.
At the Monte de Piedad Museum (Av. Boedo 870, 2nd floor), visitors can view a recreation of the Cafe Biarritz, a famous leftist hangout that was located below the museum at one time. The museum also traces the history of the Banco Ciudad from its origins as a pawnshop to becoming a modern bank. The exhibit includes fascinating artifacts such as a set of brass banisters that was attacked by angry customers in the aftermath of Argentina’s 2001 economic crisis.
Boedo also has an interesting record store, Almacen Porteno (Av. San Juan 3625) is home to an extensive collection of tango CDs, photos and sheet music and the owner, Juan Carlos Bellini, also sells old tango LPs online at www.tangoalmacen.com.
Restaurants and Nightlife
Boeda has a select number of options for restaurants and nightlife that you can enjoy. Here are a few to get you started:
Kensho (www.kensho.com.ar): a puertas cerradas (restaurant in a private home) serving organic vegetarian dishes such as ceviche made from tofu and oyster mushrooms by chef Maximo Cabrera.
Teatro Boedo XXI (Av. Boedo 853, www.teatroboedoxxi.blogspot.com): a popular theater with plays created specifically for kids, adolescents, and adults as well as choreography and yoga classes on the premises.
Pan y Arte (Av. Boedo 878, www.panyarte.com.ar): a hybrid between a cafe and an art gallery which was the creation of the Marín family from Mendoza whose subsequent openings of eateries and art centers help spark the cultural rebirth of Boeda.
The corner of San Juan and Boedo is mentioned in the opening verse of the tango Sur, one of the best-loved songs about Buenos Aires. The corner is now known as Esquina Homero Manzi named for the author of the lyrics. The location is also the venue for several tango festivals.
Pros and Cons
If you want to feel authentic porteno Buenos Aires, Boedo is a great place to go. With its recent cultural rebirth, Boedo offers many attractions such as museums, restaurants and bars.
On the other hand Boedo is primarily a middle-class residential neighborhood lacking many of the attractions of areas such as Palermo or Recoleta.
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