Villa Crespo is the barrio just southwest of Palermo, which has resulted in some real estate agents calling it ‘Palermo Queens.’
Whatever the case may be, Villa Crespo hasn’t been Palermofied just yet, making it a great time to stay there, live there, or just go there for a stroll around or a night out. Read on to find out more.
An introduction to Villa Crespo
Villa Crespo was formed in the late 1800s when housing was built for people who worked in the large shoe factory that was located there. It’s named after Antonio Crespo, a Buenos Aires Mayor who served for a very short time between 1887 and 1888. It has traditionally been a middle-class Buenos Aires barrio with a notable population of Jewish people.
For some time now Villa Crespo has most notable for being close to Palermo but not as touristy or expensive. Consequently it has been a common tactic for Porteños who own a place in Palermo to refurbish it, rent it out to tourists, rent a place in close-by and much cheaper Villa Crespo for themselves, and live off the difference.
Recently Villa Crespo has started to attract a younger crowd of artistic types, who have given the barrio a distinctly cool edge.
Things to see, do or both
One of Villa Crespo’s attractions is its strip of leather goods stores on Calle Murillo. You can take your pick, but one of the biggest and best is Murillo 666 (yes, located at Murillo 666), which has everything from jackets to accessories, sofas and other furniture.
Another option is the string of outlets stores around Calles Aguirre y Gurruchaga. Starting in 2008, some brands that had factories in the neighborhood started to open up outlets stores to the public. More than 20 brands like Cacharel, Lacoste, Paula Cahen d Anvers, Puma, Wanama, Caro Cuore, Timberland, New Man, Legacy, Bowen, Armani Exchange, Cardón, Prune, Wrangler and Cheeky have stores. You can also find more outlets stores lined up along Avenida Cordoba, 5 blocks away.
Nightlife and restaurants
Unsurprisingly for a barrio so close to Palermo, Villa Crespo has some great night-time entertainment options. Here are 3:
• Sarkis (Thames 1101). This is undoubtedly the best reason to come to Villa Crespo for those living or staying in other parts of the city: it’s a cheap and cheerful restaurant serving excellent Middle Eastern food. It seats 150, but it’s also wildly popular, so if you get there between 8 and 11:30pm expect to have to wait for a table.
• Ocho7Ocho (Thames 878). Ocho7Ocho is the epitome of cool Villa Crespo: it has no sign or name on the door, which is ordinary, though large. Press the decided average buzzer and a waitress will open the door and admit you to a large, pleasant bar area with a high ceiling and a comfy selection of sofas along with tables and chairs. Crowded at weekends, during the week it’s usually pretty quiet.
• Club Silencio (Address Given when you call or email) Club Silencio another one of Buenos Aire’s “behind closed doors” experiences that have been growing in popularity. Inspired by David Lynch’s movie Mulholland Drive, Club Silencio was created by Israeli Argentinian musician Shoni Shed. Every Friday night at 11pm he puts on a performance in his apartment for 20 people. Everyone is blindfolded on arrival in order to stimulate their other senses. After the performance, the crowd sticks around, drinks are served and a party evolves. Since space is limited, so you must make a reservation by calling +54 11 4775 7330 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why it’s hot / why it’s not
Sharing a border with Palermo means Villa Crespo is well located, but not being Palermo means that it’s not overwhelmed with foreigners and Pilates studios. Its cobbled streets are pretty and there are hip places to eat and drink if you know where to find them. You also have close access to Subte B on Corrientes Ave.
And the downsides? It’s really pretty hard to think of any but the “Palermofication” on the horizon is a cause for concern.
Hopefully Villa Crespo will retain its personality in the future and not just be absorbed into an ever-expanding Palermo. Just in case though, check it out now while you can! You’ll be glad you did.