Arguably the prospect of a bar named after a cricket-like insect isn’t as appealing as it could be but this place is worth looking up if you’re in downtown Buenos Aires and looking for something to get the weekend underway.
Like everything in Argentina Saturday nights get off to an unhurried start, with barflies cluttering the bar and gradually filling up as it gets later and the music gets louder. Things really get going from around 12.30am with DJs and bands playing until the early hours of the morning.
German, a bartender at La Cigale says that idea is that musicians and revellers are “cara a cara” or face to face and gigs are something of an intimate affair upstairs in the live music area. Later the band members mingle with the crowd downstairs.
Marketing itself a touch of Paris in South America the bar claims to make the best Mojito in town and when its founders arrived from Europe they undertook to provide locals and travellers with the best cocktails in Buenos Aires. While that’s a tall order to fulfil, there is no doubt that at the very least they are some of the strongest and most exotic tipples on offer.
As well as a robust selection of wines, beers and classics like Margaritas and Pisco Sours there are also more mysterious offerings like the Latin Lover (Tequila, cachaca, lemon, lime, pineapple), Tiger Milk (Bacardi, horcheta, pineapple) and ‘Be Like Water’ (Baileys, Tía Maria, pineapple, banana).
It’s also worth mentioning that in case you’re brave enough to try a shot named after a cockroach, this is the place to pick up a Cucaracha slammer (Tequila, Tía Maria, contreau)…and the best of luck with that.
Too many cockroach slammers and you’ll probably be wanting to soak up some of the goodness with a little snackette. Luckily there are plenty on offer. The food menu offers a simple selection of picadas and nibbles to share and the kitchen is open late.
La Cigale bar (Photo: Melissa Riggall)
Oddly the seating is reminiscent of a train station waiting room and is rather at odds with the old colonial architecture. Other than that La Cigale is an elegant little shindig with deep blue walls, checkered floor tiles and a long sweeping bar topped with under-lit red glass mosaic tiles. A black wrought iron staircase with dark wood banisters curls up to the upper floor and there is a white stone balcony looking down onto the street below for smokers.
Upstairs, plum-coloured curtains and glitter balls suspended over the room with DJs and bands playing make for an intimate gig space in the early hours of the morning.
“We have everyone in here – from 20 to 60-year-olds, there’s a real mixture and muy buena onda,” says German.
Don’t fret if you can’t make it for a Saturday – the bar offers a busy agenda with different vibes on every night of the week except Sunday. Los Lunes están de moda with acoustic sets and local musicians are a good option if you’re kicking your heels on a Monday night, Tuesday is the Noche Frances and Wednesdays are dub nights. Meanwhile if you’re interested in emerging local talent Thursday’s your night to hear new Argentine bands.
With a mixture of local and international clientele, a steam of bands and DJs passing through its doors and cocktails to knock your socks off, La Cigale is a sassy little number – give it a whirl!
La Cigale, 25 de Mayo 597, downtown. Monday-Friday 6pm until late, Saturday and feriados 9pm–4am. Cash only. Dresscode - casual. 4893 2332. Happy hour until 10pm.