Is it ironic to say “I went to a cool bar with a woman I met in a yoga class?” Well, you already know that I’m far from the no-alcohol, no-caffeine, will only wear long dresses made out of hemp kind of yogini. I meet a fun, young traveler from Sydney last week in a yoga class and last weekend we decided to go out for a drink. She’d been to Buenos Aires before so she recommended that we meet at Bar 878 in Villa Crespo. Our original intention was to go straight to Osaka, a Peruvian-Japanese restaurant in Palermo Hollywood but we thought a pre-dinner cocktail might be fun. Well, it was fun alright. So much fun that we never got to dine at Osaka that evening.
This bar is in an area called Villa Crespo, which borders Palermo Soho to the west. Before I got here I didn’t know really how bit Palermo is. I used to walk practically everywhere in Manhattan but in Buenos Aires, even an avid walker like me has a difficult time covering much of the city. If you look at the map, I live just down the street from Villa Crespo but it took me about 40 minutes to reach the bar on foot (I did take the longer “scenic” route but still).
When I did reach the neighborhood and looked down the street, I was skeptical as to whether this bar existed at all. With the exception of a large crowd outside of Sarkis, a popular Middle Eastern restaurant, there were hardly any businesses open on Thames. I nearly missed the bar altogether as I speed-walked past it. I caught myself a few steps later and came back to a towering set of wooden doors. Then I casually nodded my head to the big guy standing out front to signal I knew where I was and what I was doing. “Hola!” And just like that, with a slight upturn of his mouth he opened the giant door and revealed a large cavernous space inside.
It reminded me of New York’s Raines Law Room, a bar inside a townhouse where the patrons have to ring the doorbell to gain admittance (my list of quirky NY bars). But the resemblance to RLR ended there. This space was much larger and more open, which allowed for the tables to be farther apart and gave the place an air of chilled-out coolness. We took a small table by a tall column and looked over their extensive list of cocktails (they also serve beer and wine). Until 21:00 they have a 2X1 happy hour drinks and we took advantage of the fact that we qualified for the deal with a few minutes to spare. Quickly, two Mojitos please! After that I had a very nice Negroni and my friend, a Kir Royal.
When we left around 0:30 the place was still rather quiet and civilized, no one in need of a seat or hovering over our table like a hawk. I hope that it’s always like that and not just because all of Buenos Aires is on holiday in January. I thought should mention the incredibly slow service but I think maybe it’s almost redundant since that just seems to be the norm here. Instead I’ll remember Ocho7Ocho for its good drinks accompanied by a great mix of American classic R&B and Rock, and relaxed atmosphere. I’m sure I’ll return for another visit.
Bar 878: Thames 878, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Opens @ 20:00, Happy Hour from 20:00 to 21:00