Thoughts on starting a bar in Argentina


Aug 4, 2009
Hi - so I'm currently employed in NYC but am thinking I need a serious change of scene, very tired of a desk job etc. I spent a long period of my life traveling and thoroughly enjoyed it, for whatever reason I like being abroad.

Anyway, I'd like to own my own business, specifically a bar (have a lot of passion for beer in particular, I like to brew it, I go on beer tours of other countries when I can). And while i'd love to do it here in NYC, the startup capital required is enormous (500k us$ or more) and the competition is absolutely cutthroat.

So logically that brought me to this forum and thinking of the idea of relocating to BA and starting up my own place over there. I have researched costs a bit and am relatively certain that I have enough, if need be, to go all in on my own, but more likely I will have some partners (from here in the US) to help me in. My idea is to run a bar with a theme towards higher end (imported) micro-brewed and craft beers, as are popular here, and as I've heard are not easy to find in BA (and presumably tough to import, but hey...). And of course, cold quilmes on draft if your tastes run to more pedestrian fare.

Note, I'm not doing this to strike it rich, or make tons of money, or anything like that, I'm just honestly looking for something that will support me for a few years, and the thought of dropping a few 100 k on an expensive apartment here in NYC and going at teh rat race for the rest of my life is depressing, rather put my money to more exciting ends.

Anyway, interested in hearing all of your thoughts re my crazy-ass plan.
You are about 3 years too late, the business is going downhill and fast

If you do get ahead be prepared to have deep pockets to pay off the police

Good luck :)
A burger joint where the burgers are better and cheaper then Fryday's, Blue, Cooper or Hard Rock cafe and where they know how to serve coctails as well.

Having pool tables which are cheap(1-2 peso) would also work
Is corruption that big of an issue? How much is the monthly juice?
Corruption and paying off people is an additional expense to be factored in.
It's possible but not easy. Corruption is a factor, if your bar is a success - be prepared to deal with unhappy competitors who will call the police on you for just about anything, be prepared to deal with problem employees and realize you will have to oversee everything. And finding/renovating a space isn't cheap either.

Talk to Martin Frankel (not sure if he posts here but you can get in touch with him on Facebook via the expat connections group). He has opened Sugar here (a popular expat bar) and can probably give you some real advice.

Oh & hire a *very* good lawyer.
Huh - I responded to this but my post disappeared. Anyway - possible but difficult.

Get in touch with the founder of Expat Connections (you can find them on facebook), he has a bar Sugar here and can give you some real-world advice on the challenges he has faced.

And get a good lawyer.
Cerveza, welcome to the forum.

Starting up a business in Argentina is difficult, but not impossible. Aside from corruption, there's a lot of bureocracy and issues with laws, employing workers, etc.

I'd suggest you look up other expats who've done it, read up their stories, and maybe get in touch with them for help. There's also a very good blog by a local expat with lots of useful (and current) information about starting a biz in Argentina:

Good luck! ;)