Alcohol culture in Argentina; or an intoxicating day in Buenos Aires with the alcohol norm omnipresent…

Puerto Madero 10.05 – In the smooth morning breeze there are two firmly-dressed gentlemen seated at a café. It’s a fancy one, with large French-style windows and grandeur decorations. They’re sharing a bottle of wine, plainly conversing over whatever subject wealthy businessmen might converse. They look out over the impressive skyscrapers of Buenos Aires while sipping their excellent wine. Proper.

Recoleta 13.35 – On Avenida Callao in fancy uptown Recoleta, there’s a prominent winestore with great windows completely covered by wine bottles. Displayed on the windows there are two different texts, one saying “There are many places in the world, only few special ones”, in grand texture plainly visible to anyone passing by. Less important, down by the bottom window frame you find a tiny text saying “Prohibited sales to minors”. The large section of foreign liquors, Scottish whisky and Absolut Vodka is heavily decorated with barrels and special pricing. Inside, the long shelves reaching to the ceiling are filled with high-end bottles of predominantly Argentinian wines. Alcohol as style.

Microcentro 17.50  – Although in the midst of a rainy Saturday Siesta, Avenida de Mayo has quite a few people moving around. In the corner of Tacuarí there’s a regular Argentinian coffee place, serving small dishes or drinks. Among the guests having a quick break before continuing their day, there are some couples or families having a beer or a glass of wines. Quite unusual, when coffee, Merienda, ice-cream or chocolate is habitual, though still completely normal. Except for their tiny special restrictions, wine and beer are regarded as any other drink.

Corrientes 21.30 – Dinner time’s on. Saturday night means that all restaurants are jammed with people along the theater-and-cinema-crowded Avenida Corrientes. The light shining and glimmering from the impressive posters make the street as bright as daylight, while everyone having the compulsory glass of wine to their famous Argentinian steak.

Plaza Serrano 02.15 – The heavy rainfall suddenly interrupts the many people at the bars around Plaza Serrano. A mythical square with many names; its original one, Cortázar is used by no one. The locals call it Serrano, the tourists “Circle of Bars” from its round shape all consisting of bars with terraces on the second floors. Like any other night, this square is ruled by alcohol, music, dancing and general laughter. The only difference is that the amount of people it attracts on a Saturday night can be counted in thousands. The endless bars are filled with chatting people, and there’s no way of telling time. The amount of people using alcohol, dancing and chatting is constant, regardless of clock showing 22 pm or 6 am.

Palermo 05.40 – The night’s not even close to an end, Plaza Serrano is still crammed with people. The heavily-pounding music from the boliches where sweaty well-dressed young people dance to the mix of house, popular electronic and mixes of South American dances is accompanied with alcohol. Beers and high-percentage alcohol, mainly. And a lot. Getting back home from a night out in Buenos Aires could very well be long after sunrise.