El Maipu (La Casa de Galicia, San Jose 224, 1st floor)
Although I always go to Mondays at La Nacional, I had not been to Lucy and Dany's other milonga before. I had planned to go to Plaza Bohemia like last Friday, but I decided to experiment because I was given a discount coupon for this milonga last Monday at La Nacional. That means that I don't know the the actual price for this milonga. I paid 20 pesos (water cost 12 pesos).
My friends had told me that, even though the milonga supposedly starts at 6 PM, when they went at 6:30 PM, there was no one there. I went at 7 PM, and it was not very full. I stayed until 10 PM, and it never filled up all the way, but gradually improved in possible choices of partners. This would be a good place for intermediate dancers to get out on the dance floor (or brave beginners), at least early in the evening, because there was plenty of room to dance, with a lot of space between couples.
The level is pretty good, although not quite as good as La Nacional. You can see several of the regulars dancing in this YouTube video, which also gives you a sense of the space available.
I didn't dance with anyone amazing, but I didn't have any bad dances--except one. Someone asked me to dance, and then, part-way through the tanda, he wanted my arm hanging around his neck. I finished that dance with him, deciding to say "Gracias" after it; he was spared by the cortina. Luckily, I had some decent tandas after that that got me out of my foul mood.
Here is the lovely Lucy; Dany was busy with something, but I promised I'll take their picture together on Monday.
Flor de Monserrat (Aires Tangueros, Av. Rivadavia 1392)
As Flor de Monserrat is only a few blocks from El Maipu, I showed up at 10 PM, when the milonga supposedly started. There was a class going on, and the guy at the door said the milonga starts at 10:30 PM. I went out to eat and came back around 11 PM.
Usually, I don't go to two milongas in the same night, but I had told a milonguero that I'd be at the first milonga he was going to, and I didn't go; so I decided to go to the second milonga he attends, at least for a little bit. This milonga costs 30 pesos. No waiter came by, so I never ordered water, as I was stuffed from dinner.
Without a reservation, I was socked in the corner where I could barely see across the (too dark) dance floor. I wasn't too worried, as I was already tired from a class, three hours of dancing, and too much food.
The level of folks I have danced with this visit reached a new low here. A man from Brazil dragged me around the dance floor mercilessly. Thank goodness the tanda was short and we started one dance into it: I was waiting for that third dance to be over in order to be polite. Hmm, I sound much less charitable than usual today. I think I reached the end of my patience with people who think they are good, but are not. I am always happy to dance with beginners who know they are beginners.
I danced with more people who ran into each other here than anywhere else so far. The floor here is very narrow, with room for one lane of dancers, and a middle space occupied by the less-skilled-at-navigation dancers. There is almost no way to avoid collisions if more than one leader on the dance floor does not navigate well (there were about three). I found it easy to navigate when I led here a few days ago, but I learned to lead at Torquato Tasso, where the milongueros tried to push me off the dance floor because I was a female leading. This is NOT a good milonga for beginners, and it is too dark to cabeceo easily.
Here is a video that shows the size of the space.
I danced a technically interesting tanda of Pugliese with the guy who taught the class before the milonga (I don't know his name), and two nice tandas of valses with guys who had a medium level of technique, but nice groove with the music.
I left around 12:45 to call my son before bedtime. People were still coming in, although the milonga ends at 2 am.
My vote so far
So far, although I love La Nacional, I vote for Sala Siranush/Siranoush (depends on which guide to tango you look at) BECAUSE I had my absolute most wonderful tanda so far this year there. Best compliment so far this year: "You dance as if you were born here in Palermo!" also belonged to that tanda.
La Nacional, you get another chance Monday!