As calendars ominously tick over into the final month of the year, there is only one place that in-the-know jetsetters want to be, and it’s certainly not a freezing German Weihnachtsmarkt. Forget Christmas for now and head south to Argentina to get your Polo on, as this weekend marks the culmination of the Palermo Open, the World Cup final, if you will, of the ‘sport of kings’. Every year thousands of people flock to the Paris of the south, Buenos Aires, to brush shoulders with Latin America’s social elite in all their finery, to see and to be seen, but most importantly, to watch the finest polo players on the planet tearing up the turf for the chance to lift the most prized trophy in their sport. We’ve rustled up a little guide on how to pre, post and for the most hardy of you, post-post the Grand Final like the most well-seasoned of Polo-goers.
What to Wear
It’s hardly a secret that polo players are almost as entertaining for the eye off the pitch as they are when playing. Yet our philosophy is: who needs to mount a horse and pound up and down the pitch at breakneck speeds, when, with the right combination of preppy and glamour you can look the part and fool all the rest? The Argentinian Open is about old-school glamour: chinos, loafers, sharp edges and neat tailoring. There is no better place to kit yourself out then in the shop of Argentina’s darling-Adolfo Cambioso, La Dolfina, named after his own team. For the ladies, any trip to Buenos Aires is incomplete without a trip to Maria Cher, the perfect spot to pick up a chic summery dress for the occasion.
Where to pre-match
To get ready for the heady excitement of the final and line your stomach in preparation for those free-flowing but lethal Chandon tents, you’ll want to get a strong meal in beforehand. Fortunately there is no shortage of choice in the historic area Palermo which is bursting full of delicious eateries and short taxi ride from the campo. We’d head to La Cabrera, a fun and bustling Parilla joint which is so popular among loyal fans that they have expanded into three buildings, all within arm’s reach of each other. They’ll serve you up one of the juiciest rib-eye steaks in town with a pleasing variety of side dishes. We guarantee that they’ll be full so make sure to make a reservation!
How to do the Match
The prime position to sit is right in the Tribuna Stand C where you can shrug of the Hoi Polloi and mingle with polo players and Argentinian socialites, casually impressing them with your European savoir-faire during the between Chukka breaks. Of course, for an equally centerfield position and altogether different experience of the match, the Dorrego center stand is a far more casual option that will give you more bang for your buck. You’ll find yourself among a dedicated if somewhat raucous crowd who’ll follow every play with an unmeasured passion that is more Twickenham then centre-court. Though whatever you do, don’t forget to bring your Panama and shades if you go for the Dorrego stand as you’ll be right in the sun.
Where to post-match
The Pony Line Bar at the Four Seasons, the only polo styled bar in the city (complete with stables for tables), is the perfect place to head to for the post-match celebration. In the sleek interior you’ll see polo-goers heatedly discussing the twists and turns of the game and be able to re-fire the engines with delectable meaty dishes from the lounge menu such as the Kobe Bresaola or a selection of mini gourmet burgers, ideally accompanied with an ice-cold bottle of bubbly. The creative summer cocktails also never fail to hit the spot.
Where to post-post-match
The party at Pony Line will be going strong all night, but for those who want the night to get even more exclusive we’ll let you in on Buenos Aires’ newest worst kept secret – Nicky Harrison. BA’s latest speak-easy style bar, is the ideal place for a discreet after hours prohibition style cocktail. Access (through a secret passageway through the wine cellar) is for members only, so unless you dine at their attached sushi restaurant beforehand, (and the hostess takes a shine to you when you ask to “see the bodega”) you will have to befriend one of their 2000 members (which shouldn’t be too hard as you’ll almost certainly be rubbing shoulders with them at the final). Of course you can always contact us at Dehouche to arrange access and assure that you have the ultimate Polo experience.