Confiteria Ideal: Milonga for Tourists?

Confiteria Ideal is one of the most famous milongas in Buenos Aires. And for tango dancers visiting Buenos Aires for the first time, a night at Confiteria Ideal is usually high on the list of things to do. But if you are looking for a milonga packed with local dancers, with a lot of local flavor, this might not be the best place to go. I’ve only been to this milonga twice, but both times it seemed to me there were far more tourists than locals.

Confiteria Ideal is located at Suipacha 380, close to Corrientes, not far from the Obelisk. Inside, it is quite breath-taking: two levels, high ceilings, magnificent chandeliers and lots of rich wood. Classes are held on the main floor while the milonga takes place upstairs.

On my last visit in November, I took an evening class with Eduardo Saucedo and his partner Marisa Quiroga. Eduardo is a magnificent, elegant dancer and he displays a genuine interest in helping his students become better dancers. I learned a couple of things from him that helped me a lot and that I will never forget. Simple things really, like how to properly support the woman in a volcada. I use volcadas all the time but Eduardo’s explanation helped me discover the best technique for me… finally! I’d love to take more classes with him.

The class was a mix of all levels, including plenty of beginners. After a few group exercises, Eduardo separated the class into two levels, and bounced back and forth between the two groups. I’d estimate there were 30 people in all. 

After the class, people headed upstairs for the milonga.

I think part of the reason why this milonga attracts more tourists than locals may be the price. The class cost 25 pesos and the milonga cost another 25. That’s 50 pesos. The going rate at other milongas seems to be about 15 pesos for a class and a milonga. Most porteños don’t have a lot of spare cash and won’t pay 50 pesos when they could go elsewhere for 15. That said, a friend told me that locals pay a lower price. If anyone can confirm this, please post the information below.

The music and ambience are purely traditional, as you might expect from a place founded in 1912.

The serving staff were excruciatingly slow and it took forever to get a drink.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Confiteria Ideal and I’m glad I went. But it is not among my favorite Buenos Aires milongas.

There’s more information at the Ideal website.

Filed under: Tango

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