The best mojito in town can be imbibed at La Cigale where, any night of the week, deejays or live bands attract an international clientele. Buenos Aires is well covered in the tango, wine, and steak departments but isn’t known for its top shelf reserves. In many bars or restaurants, it can be a challenge to get a cocktail. That’s what the owners of La Cigale found when they moved to Buenos Aires from Europe and it was the impetus behind opening what they determined was the first true bar in town.
Classic mixed drinks, a long bar counter that facilitates an actual standing bar crowd, and consistent service remain the hallmarks of this downtown standby. An easy to navigate, pink, laminated menu is a happy alternative to the books offered at traditional Argentine drinking holes. With names like Latin Lover and Sweet Bartender, even tropical sounding choices are thankfully less than sugar-coated and still pack a kick. The Ti Punch is a pleasantly light, made with syrup, lemon and Rum Bally that is utterly deceiving in its smoothness. A kitchen menu that includes appetizers of local cheeses and salami afford a counterpoint to heady beverages. Gilles is one of seven owners of La Cigale and has been with the bar from the beginning.
After extensive travel in Africa and the Caribbean, he left the glamorous world of orthodontistry in France to become a club owner in Buenos Aires. It’s hard to imagine Gilles behind the drill but here in Microcentro’s best nightspot, he fits right in. Velvet drapes, colorful lights and high ceilings make up a relaxed décor with just a hint of Euro-chic. A friendly crowd of locals and visitors keep it interesting and every night has its own buena onda. Inside La Cigale, you could be anywhere, and the soundscape is often just as geographically ambiguous. Mondays include acoustic sets from popular local musicians and Tuesdays are the big night, when La Cigale celebrates its roots with the ever-popular French night.
When the bar first opened, French expatriates were their mainstay and after the peso crash, they kept the bar alive while the city went into economic shock. Nowadays, the French night is a notorious good time and makes for the best Tuesday night out in BA. Deejays from Deep Class Records keep Tuesdays French and fabulous spinning everything from electronica to new wave. Wednesdays are strictly dub and feature international deejays and live bands. Thursdays bring in local bands on the cusp and the weekend is all electro with electroclash Fridays and electro house and Latin Saturdays. Located downtown with a super happy hour and a consistent late night crowd, La Cigale is a reminder of why Buenos Aires is the Paris of South America – especially on Tuesdays.
Photos by Jaime Ospina