A Buenos Aires bookshop in a theatrical setting: Libreria El Ateneo

A few years ago, Librería El Ateneo made the top ten best beautiful bookshops list. I couldn’t agree more, it is stunning both inside and outside.

The cafe on the former stage

The bookshop is housed in a 1903 building which was originally a theatre called Grand Splendid. Years later, it was converted into a cinema and remained as such for many decades. I watched a few films there in the nineties and I used to buy chocolates from the little shop outside the foyer.

Now, customers can choose to sit in comfort in one of the original boxes or take a table at the café located in what used to be the stage. There’s a lot of gold leaf that adds to the thespian feel but nothing is as dramatic as the frescoes painted on the ceiling.

There are always a lot of people milling around, browsing the shelves, admiring the architectural features, snapping photos and generally taking in the elegant atmosphere.

Oh, and buying books as well.

Address: Avenida Santa Fe 1860. Opening hours: Mon. – Thu. 9 am to 10 pm; Fri-Sat, 9 am to 12 am; Sun. 12 pm to 10pm

About the author

Ana Astri-O'Reilly
Ana Astri-O’Reilly is from Argentina, where she lived until five years ago. She currently lives in Dallas, USA with her British husband, but they move a lot. Previously a translator and English and Spanish teacher, Ana first started writing to share her experiences and adventures with friends and family. She speaks Spanish, English and a smattering of Portuguese.
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