Post updated August 2022.
Tango in Buenos Aires is finding its dancing feet again, post pandemic, and is evolving. And Happy Tango has well and truly become a joyful snapshot of a wonderful period in our collective Buenos Aires tango history! I am so glad that I wrote it, and grateful to all who have bought it, used it and enjoyed it over the last twelve years 🙂 Some of the advice in the book will still help, even though the scene is somewhat changed and will be forever changing.
Please consider the remainder of this post part of that history. Some of the milongas and places, mentioned below in 2019, have now permanently closed (such as Obelisco Tango) and I am no longer updating this website with details. I know you will find your own way, as we tango dancers do! I wish you good luck and very Happy Tango, always! Sallycat.x.
What I wrote here in 2019:
Twelve years since I first danced in Buenos Aires. Nine years since Happy Tango was first published. And seven years since the Second Edition came out in paperback! Incredible… where does the time go?
I think a Third Edition is unlikely to happen. We’ve considered it, but, on reflection, I feel that the book should remain at its own moment in time. If that changes, I’ll let you know!
Meanwhile, is it worth buying a copy of the Second Edition if you’re headed to Buenos Aires?
An Amazon UK buyer wrote last year,
“Although I’d read a lot of the general advice before on Sally’s blog, it was worth the purchase to get it all together in one place.
The tango scene does change in BA and it has been a while since this book was published, so don’t depend on it for things like times or addresses. However most of the well known milongas mentioned are still there and the advice on them is still spot on.”
Thank you Randy for taking the time to review the book!
Soooo, the friendly advice in the book surely still stands and will help you navigate your way through the tango scene, especially if you’re a first-timer. Alas, some places have closed and some milongas have closed or changed homes or days of the week, but the great website and app ‘Hoy Milonga‘ keeps you easily in the picture with its up-to-date daily schedules of milongas and classes. So use Happy Tango in combo with that and you should be good to go.
Also, to help you, from time to time I update this simple list below of any of the 20 Places to Try First given in Part 3 of Happy Tango that have closed or changed… that should help too. So here goes…
Of the 6 ‘Tourist Circuit’ places given special mention in the book:
(see the book for my definition of Tourist Circuit)
Confiteria Ideal is still CLOSED for tango, but is being renovated; it’s still not known if tango will be danced there again. Meanwhile, El Abrazo Tango Club has moved to El Beso on Friday afternoons, and there are other afternoon milongas (plus the nights of course) in El Beso on several days of the week.
Porteño y Bailarin is now in El Beso on Wednesday nights, see their Facebook updates here.
Club Sunderland is CLOSED for tango, Milonga Malena is now in Nuevo Gricel on Saturday nights.
A more recent option in this category is Milonga Marabu in Maracaibo at Maipú 365 on Thursday nights (though it may include jazz as well as tango), there is usually a live orchestra and/or exhibition, and the salon is central and kind of historic in terms of tango Buenos Aires (and in the basement!); I think it might be cool to visit this place once just to see the venue if you haven’t already been, because it’s different. There is dancing there on other nights too, but it’s ‘all rhythms’… cumbia, cuarteto, rock; some nights there is a bit of tango thrown in, but not always.
Of the 7 ‘Traditional’ places given special mention in the book:
(see the book for my definition of Traditional)
Club Gricel has (after its temporary closure in 2019) re-opened as Nuevo Gricel (New Gricel) with milongas on most nights including Yira Yira on Friday nights. See the full list of milongas and other activities on their Facebook page, here. (The Sueño Porteno milongas (Wednesday and Sunday) are, however, in Centro Region Leonesa.)
Nuevo Salon La Argentina has CLOSED. El Arranque has opened on Saturday afternoons in Obelisco Tango.
Boedo Tango has CLOSED. The Sueño Porteno milongas now run in Leonesa on Wednesdays and Sundays, see their Facebook Group here.
Plaza Bohemia has CLOSED.
In place of the closed venues, Obelisco Tango at Entre Rios 1056 hosts trad-style milongas most nights, including La Milonga de Lucy (previously known as El Maipu) on Mondays and Wednesdays and Milonga de Buenos Aires on Fridays (though the latter finishes earlier than it used to).
Cachirulo has moved from El Beso on Tuesdays to Obelisco Tango, and is in Salon Canning on Saturdays.
La Nacional has seen a lot of changes in its milongas, but you could try Mi Refugio on Saturday nights, when there is usually a live orchestra and exhibition, and folkloric and rock tandas are also danced.
Lo de Celia has traditional-style milongas most nights. Friday night is particularly popular (Milonga Oro y Plata).
Of the 7 ‘Informal’ places given special mention in the book:
(see the book for my definition of Informal)
La Marshall is no longer in El Beso on Fridays, but hosts occasional (monthly?) milongas at Yatay 961 and other events. See their Facebook page here.
Most notably Milonga10 (Praktika8) is CLOSED.
If I haven’t mentioned a place above, it means it’s still open for tango, as far as I know. Though, there may have been some changes in organisers, times, or days of the week, so check ‘Hoy Milonga’ and if necessary other current sources (like see the Facebook pages of the milongas or Whatsapp the organiser) before setting out!
If you’ve enjoyed reading Happy Tango, do recommend it to someone else who would enjoy it too. Thank you!