Friday, August 27, 2010

A Buenos Aires Tradition---INSIDE Resto Bar

By Roy Heale

The famous Follies Bergère cabaret of Paris led the way in risqué entertainment in the late nineteenth century. In England “The Full Monty” became a household expression in the 1990s. But today in Buenos Aires one of the renowned main attractions for tourists and locals alike is the dinner and dance at INSIDE RestoBar. This is where, during dinner, the dance is not Tango but rather it refers to some hot, Latin male performers who slowly peel off all their attire with audience participation as the main course.

Visitors to INSIDE RestoBar whether tourists or portenos---as the locals are affectionately known--- all seem to agree on one fact: it's the overall ambiance that makes it a fun place for a unique night out in Buenos Aires. Commencing with the warm and friendly greeting at the door, to the attentive service, the intimate pepper “ritual”, the hands-on entertainment, and good food at modest prices, this has developed into a singular Buenos Aires night-life tradition. For just over seven years INSIDE RestoBar has entertained many satisfied guests from Argentina and around the globe. Known simply as INSIDE to the portenos, just one visit and almost everybody is in agreement upon the uniqueness of the INSIDE experience.

In a city filled with unique attractions this is no small undertaking to achieve such recognition. Just over seven years ago Diego and Matias were working together at Tacla Restaurant, where they had initiated the concept of dining with dancers, when they decided after five years it was time to move on. At first they had both planned to follow other career paths outside of the restaurant industry, but later they decided to open their own restaurant and bar. An extensive real estate search resulted in the current location for INSIDE and the rest, as they say, is now history. During this time they perfected the INSIDE ambiance and friendly tone with amazing staff and cozy décor. After six years Matias decided to move on and spend more time with his family, while Diego has continued on as the sole proprietor to maintain the INSIDE tradition.

Upon arriving at the magnificent, tall carved wooden entrance doors the pleasures awaiting inside are not apparent at first glance. But one step through this narrow entrance and the soft lighting, with a low-key red and black interior, immediately exudes an aura of warmth and intimacy. The lower level includes a friendly small bar and about twenty tables, while the upper mezzanine level is a smoking section---including special air conditioning--- with another dozen or so tables and chairs. The two rooms are surrounded by flat screen televisions for entertainment and closed-circuit video. Altogether the maximum capacity is less than one hundred patrons ensuring a comfortable closeness for all to enjoy.

Diego is a hands-on owner who spends much of his time waiting on tables and greeting customers. His own very warm, Latin personality exudes friendliness and generous hospitality which has become infectious to the other staff members who all follow his lead and have learned from the “master” how to keep their customers happy. “It is always difficult to find good staff for any restaurant. But once you find them and train them, then you have to make sure that they enjoy their work. This way they will stay with you for a long time and get to know the regular customers. Both patrons and employees must enjoy seeing a regular face when they are at INSIDE,” says Diego when asked how he is able to find such wonderful employees and keep them for such a long time in an industry notorious for employee mobility. Diego's successful formula is apparent right from the very first time you visit INSIDE.

An extensive menu with French and Italian influence offers a wide variety of appetizers, a selection of meats, fish, and pasta entrées plus tantalizing desserts. Amazingly all of this is offered at regular competitive prices without the normal surcharge which one would expect at venues where entertainment is included. “I don't believe a premium should be charged for entertainment. It should be just a part of enjoying the INSIDE experience and included in the price of dinner and drinks, yet still remain competitive,” says Diego. A complimentary glass of champagne, lemon liqueur, or coffee rounds out the perfect evening. Menu changes are made on a monthly basis ensuring that regular customers always have fresh dinner choices to accompany the ever changing entertainment offerings. Without a doubt this is one of the best values for your vacation entertainment monies to be found amongst Buenos Aires nightlife.

And then there's the dancers... To use an old phrase, this has to be the icing on the cake! Normally any male dancers would be performing up on a stage and out of reach from the audience. But here at INSIDE this is a truly hands-on experience as the hot, sexy, Latin men roam around the room flaunting their perfect bodies and table hopping with their intricate dance routines and high-energy movements choreographed seductively with audience participation. This brings new meaning to the old phrase “strip tease” with a truly unique INSIDE recipe. Commencing around 11PM several dancers will each perform up to three different numbers culminating in their own Buenos Aires' style Full Monty. “Normally a new dancer will attend with a co-worker who is performing that night and observe the shows before deciding to become a member of the INSIDE roster of performers,”says Diego, when asked how he recruits such unique male talent. “It takes a very special male dancer to join our team and it is not every performer who can meet the INSIDE standards,” continues Diego. The entertaining result is indeed a truly singular INSIDE brand which has gained worldwide recognition.

The only truly gay restaurant in Buenos Aires, INSIDE RestoBar is located at Bartolomé Mitre 1571 in downtown Buenos Aires very close to the Congreso building. It is just a few blocks from Pena or Congreso stations on the Subte Line A. Now it is also open at 8AM for breakfasts and lunches with the main attraction being dinner and dancing until closing time in the wee morning hours. Reservations are recommended for dinner, especially Thursdays through Sundays, by calling 4372 5439 at any time.

So the insider's secret is out---INSIDE RestoBar is one of the main attractions for dinner and dancing in the gay Buenos Aires nightlife scene. It's a main attraction not to be missed when visiting Buenos Aires---the Paris of South America. Move over Follies Bergère as Buenos Aires is making gay entertainment history in several different ways.

For More Information Visit:

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tango Buenos Aires Festival 2010

Tango in La Boca

By Roy Heale
Despite the chilly winter weather at this time of year nothing can dampen their spirit as thousands of dance enthusiasts converge on Buenos Aires for the annual Tango Festival. Recognized as the Tango birthplace, Buenos Aires offers a year-round Tango extravaganza but every year the last two weeks of August provide an in-depth experience of this Argentine cultural and historical identity. This is the global Mecca for dancers who enjoy watching or performing milonga and tango plus the opportunity to meet and observe the masters of the art form as they compete in the Dance World Cup.

Tango knows no boundaries as young and old join together in celebrating their dance heritage. Throughout the city nine different official venues host a variety of musical, dance, and educational performances during the nineteen days of festivities. These buildings themselves are a part of Buenos Aires history and include Teatro Ribera, Galileo Planetarium, Recoleta Cultural Centre, Teatro Coliseum, and much more. Each year a Meeting Point is created which is open every day of the festival holding Tango classes, a permanent art exhibit, a main entertainment stage, and a marketplace. In 2009 the Meeting Point was the historic Harrods store on Florida Street where passers by could window gaze at dancers in action. This year the Meeting Point is the historic Art Deco former El Hogar Banco building at Bartolome Mitre 575 in the heart of downtown Buenos Aires.
Meeting Point 2010
Meeting Point 2009
With exciting performances like the concert with 87 year-old Juan Carlos Godoy performing tango songs from the 1920s and 1930s or the Tango Music under the stars at the Galileo Planetarium and the special children's shows at the Meeting Point it is a true festival for all ages. Plus all over the city and particularly in La Boca, San Telmo, Recoleta, and Palermo local bars, cafes, restaurants, and small theaters celebrate dance in all forms.

The Dance World Cup commencing on August 23rd will award the best dancers in the categories Salon Tango and Stage Tango with over 400 couples from around the globe competing for the prizes.

In addition numerous special activities including conferences, book presentations, films, workshops, exhibits, and more provide something for all dance fans to enjoy.

For all of these reasons the Tango Buenos Aires festival is renowned as the ultimate celebration of dance and music in the world. In 2009 UNESCO recognized the festival as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. In the 2010 event---the tenth annual fete---approximately 150 programmed activities with over 500 artists will be staged during the nineteen days of activities.

Tango Buenos Aires is without a doubt one of the most awaited and anticipated events of the city's cultural calendar. During these nineteen days the locals and visitors are treated to the most diverse Tango jubilation of songs, music, and dance. With or without your dancing shoes come and live this unforgettable Tango experience!

Stay tuned for details of the Queer Tango Festival to be held in November 2010

For More Information Visit:

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tango, Wine, and Gay Tour of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Wine Tasting

By Roy Heale

While Argentina's LGBT community is basking in the glow of the recent victory for same-sex marriage and adoption legislation there is a bustle of new activity in the gay tourism industry. International tourism to Argentina rose thirty percent in the month of June 2010 and it is probably safe to assume that many of these tourists were LGBT travelers. In anticipation of increased gay vacationers the local LGBT travel agency and tour operator Duques del Plata have added the new Tango, Wine, and Gay Tour as one of their regular Saturday excursions.

This LGBT trip includes a Thematic Tour through Tango neighborhoods, A Tango lesson---either for participation or spectator enjoyment---plus a Wine Tasting of local Argentine wines including the renowned Malbecs. There is also an option to enjoy the El Querandi's dinner and Tango Show after the tour completes in their impressive wine cellar.

The historical journey by private tour bus travels through Recoleta, Abasto, Corrientes Avenue, the Theatre District, Plaza de Mayo and San Telmo. In English and Spanish a tour guide recants the Tango story and historical ties to each community, plus other tour attractions and highlights.

                                                 Abasto Shop

                                                       Historic El Querandi Building, San Telmo

Ending at the famous El Querandi's Academy of Tango the event includes a private instructional dance session and informative wine tasting in this historic San Telmo edifice.

If all of this is not enough to really experience Tango then an evening of dinner and show is also available at El Querandi for a nominal extra charge.

The tour is for two to thirty people and includes a hotel pick-up and drop-off starting at about 4PM on Saturday afternoons and concludes around 8:30PM after the wine tasting. Reasonably priced at US$125 for the tour and US$175 with the dinner and show option this will be a memorable evening of Tango and local Buenos Aires culture.

For More Information Visit: