La Confitería Ideal is the iconic tango venue of Buenos Aires. When tourists and dancers alike pass through their doors on Suipacha near Corrientes, they can feel they are entering the historic soul of tango.
La Ideal was built in 1912 by pastry chefs from Spain. It wasn’t until the 1990s that tango dancing became common. Because the original builders were European, they required that the building be constructed of expensive materials from all over Europe.
Through the decades it was the place to meet your friends for afternoon tea, particularly after work. Between 1979 and 1981 it was converted into a café-concert with all types of live music. It has become so iconic that many movies have been filmed there such as the movie Tango by Carlos Saura and the movie Evita with Madonna.
There are more than twelve milongas there every week, with classes from different teachers every day.
Lots of rumors surround La Ideal, and no one seems to actually know who owns it. The truth is that it is owned by a private organization that receives no government help to maintain this historic structure. Unfortunately, it is falling into disrepair despite its famous heritage.
I can recall one afternoon at Ideal. It was hot. I ordered a shot of Scotch with a Beer back. Fortunately, that beer came in a tub of ice that I was able to put into a towel to keep my forehead cool.
If you go to BA, a visit to Ideal is a must. Hopefully, it is still standing!