What’s Up

Rate a Milonga – Survey Results (Archive)

Mike (Editor) : May 31, 2016 7:37 pm : Whats up

 rate a milonga


We set out to give dancers an opportunity to provide anonymous feedback to tango organisers (it can be difficult to give face to face feedback to people you know well). We did this over two separate periods: June – December 2013 and January 2014 to July 2015. Over 2000 votes were received. We published the results of our first survey in 2014 (click here for results). Here is our analysis of the feedback provided during the more recent period. We know it is not a scientific exercise and votes are highly subjective, but we hope it is helpful to both tango organisers and tango dancers.

Dancers were asked to rate milongas according to the following criteria:

Music: Choice of music, smooth transitions, danceability
Ambience: Atmosphere, facilities (including dance floor), friendly organisers, sound quality
Getting a dance: Friendliness of dancers. Are there plenty of leaders offering dance invitations or is it a bit cliquish? Are numbers right or are there usually more followers than leaders (or vice versa)? 

Milongas were divided into 5 areas/ categories: 

  • London
  • South
  • Midlands and the North
  • Nuevo/Mixed
  • Tea dances

Our apologies to clubs in areas we didn’t manage to cover.

We have excluded from our analysis newish milongas and milongas where there were less than six votes. A full list of milongas we looked at is set out below.

A Guide to rating was provided:

5 stars =  Excellent
4 stars =  Usually good
3 stars =  Mostly acceptable
2 stars =  Quite a few aspects not so good
1 star   =  Very poor

 The Results


Overall average satisfaction levels were good in London, the North and Midlands and also for Nuevo and Tea dances (between 3 and 4 stars), but dancers appeared to be less satisfied in the South. Milongas which achieved the highest overall ratings (4 stars +)  were Tango Garden in London (4.45), Tango FFS in Church Crookham (4.35),  CamTango Tea Dance in Cambridge (4.2) and Papa Caliente in Reading (4.15).

Average ratings in the South (excluding nuevo and tea dances) were only 2.4 stars with a frequent thumbs down for music quality and “getting a dance” by followers (see below for a possible explanation). Here is a more detailed breakdown:

  1. Music

London tango Orchestra Tipica Dancers gave the highest satisfaction ratings for music quality to London;  a number of nuevo milongas and tea dances also did well. Followers  tended to give slightly higher ratings than leaders. Scoring particularly well for music quality were Tango Garden, La Milonga Ideal (Warwick),  Papa Caliente and Tango FFS  (both nuevo) and CamTango Tea Dance.

Several milongas in the South scored less than 2 stars and very few achieved 3 stars or more. Is this because there are far more milongas per head of  population than the rest of the country? Are dancers spoilt for chance, or is the effect to dilute numbers going to a milonga which affects everybody’s  enjoyment?

Milongas with a better than average rating (ie. 3+ stars) for music were:

  • London:  Carablanca, Corientes, El Portinito, Negracha, QueerTangoLondon, Tango Etnia, Tango178, Tango at the Light, Tango Garden and Tango Instinct
  • South: Sunset Milonga (Hatfield), Tango Menuda (Cranbourne)
  • Midlands & the North: Builonga Porteno (Leeds), La Milonga Idea (Warwick), Manchester Tango
  • Tea: CamTango, Eton Matinee, Flores del Alma (Caversham), Salon Tango Cats (Bedford), Westcourt (Canterbury)
  • Nuevo: Papa Caliente, Tango FFS 
  1. Ambience

tf blackpool Dancers seem reasonably happy with the ambience of a venue, although ratings in the South were again below the other areas/categories. Once  more followers tended to give slightly higher ratings than leaders. Scoring particularly well again were Tango Garden, Papa Caliente and Tango  FFS. Tea dance Flores del Alma in Caversham also scored highly.

Only Tango Menuda scored reasonably satisfactorily in the South category.


Milongas with a better than average rating for ambience were:

  • London: Carablanca, Negracha, QueerTangoLondon, Pavadita, Tango178, Tango Etnia, Tango at the Light, Tango Garden, Tango Instinct and Tango on the Thames
  • South: Tango Menuda
  • Midlands & the North: Builonga Porteno, La Milonga Ideal, Strictly Tango (Preston) and Manchester
  • Tea: CamTango, Flores del Alma, Eton Matinee, Westcourt and Salon Tango Cats
  • Nuevo: Papa Caliente, Tango FFS 
  1. Getting a Dance

Leaders and followers voted separately because their experiences at milongas are different, naturally.

P1010027 Ed Leader – Getting a Dance

 Tango Garden scored very highly, as did CamTango and Tango FFS



Milongas with a better than average rating for “leaders- getting a dance” were:

  • London: Carablanca, QueerTangoLondon, Tango178, Tango at the Light Bar, Tango Garden, Tango Instinct, Tango on the Thames and  Zero Hour
  • South: Sunset Milonga
  • Midlands & the North: Builonga Porteno, La Milonga Ideal, Strictly Tango and Manchester Tango
  • Tea: CamTango, Flores del Alma, Tango Salon Cats, TangoUK (Bramshaw), and Westcourt
  • Nuevo:  Junction 8 (Maidenhead), Papa Caliente, Tango FFS and Tango Thamesside (Caversham)

“Followers – Getting a Dance”

Not surprisingly followers were less satisfied than leaders in “getting a dance” at milongas. Just two milongas scored highly – Tango Garden and CamTango Tea Dance.

Followers seem to be having a tough time at many milongas in the South with a number of milongas scoring somewhat poorly.

Milongas with a better than average rating for “followers – getting a dance” were:

  • London: Carablanca, QueerTangoLondon, Tango178, Tango at the Light Bar, Tango Garden, and Tango Instinct
  • South:  none!
  • Midlands & the North: Strictly Tango
  • Tea: CamTango, Flores del Alma and Salon Tango Cats
  • Nuevo: Papa Caliente and Tango FFS
  1. Yum Yum Food (Tea Dances)

la biela Generally  food quality was thought to be pretty good with CamTango, Eton Matinee, Flores del Alma, Salon Tango Cats and     Westcourt  all rated highly.



Consistency over the whole two year period

Our first six month survey was based on a smaller number of milongas, without a breakdown into traditional, tea dance, nuevo etc. Furthermore, we did not divide voters into followers and leaders. So the two surveys cannot be compared easily. Nevertheless we feel we should mention that of those clubs that were listed in both surveys the following have consistently been in the top three of their category – London:    Carablanca, Tango at the Light, Tango Instinct and South (incl. nuevo): Tango FFS, Tango Menuda and Thames Valley Tango.


We offer a few general thoughts arising out of these results.

  1. First, congratulations to those clubs with high satisfaction ratings, especially those who have maintained a high standard over several years.
  2. The highest satisfaction ratings seem to be achieved by afternoon milongas and by specialised nuevo/mixed music milongas.
  3. Some milonga organisers, mostly in the South, may need to take a look at the music they are offering. Is it what dancers what want to hear?  Perhaps it is not varied enough or the sound system is poor? Or perhaps transitions are not very smooth?
  4. Many followers in the South seem to be struggling to get enough dance invitations. Perhaps organisers should look at the culture of the milonga? Are numbers balanced? Is it cliquish? Are organisers doing enough to help new dancers feel comfortable? Our personal view is that when there is a shortage of leaders three-song tandas are preferable to four-song tandas, which exacerbate the sitting out period.
  5. Finally, given the large number of milongas in many parts of the South a new influx of tango dancers is needed!  Well done to all those clubs who continue to bring on beginners.


18 August 2015

Tango Fuzz


Leave a response »

Ten Quirky Things to do in Buenos Aires

Mike (Editor) : May 31, 2016 7:32 pm : Whats up

Buenos Aires is a great city, full of interest. Here are our suggestions for some different things to do:

1. Ride the subway (Subte) to take a look at the great mosiacs on many stations

subte tf






2. Visit Theatre Colon, one of the leading opera houses in the world. Better still book a performance







3. Visit the beautiful Alteno bookshop in Sante Fe Avenue , situated in a beautifully converted theatre







4. Visit The Calle Murillo Leather District  where fashionable leather clothes are sold at much lower prices than in the Florida stores

P1000204 leather






5.  Book a performance at the Astor Piazolla theatre – wonderful dancing and music to Piazolla and Pugilese without all the gimmicks







6.  Visit the store where you can listen to tango music before you buy it – Zivals

zivalsba edit larger






7.  As an alternative to the San Telmo market visit the Sunday craft market in Recoleta, followed by a coffee or something stronger at the adjacent la Biela cafe (cheaper inside than outside)

la biela 2




8.  Take a walk around some of the beautiful old buildings like The Water Company Palace (originally British owned)

water palace edit2






9.  If you want to get a feel of another Argentina city take the train from the beautiful Constitution station to La Plata (about 1.5 hours). Vendors will jump into your carriage and offer food, music, clothes, etc but nobody is hassled







10. Explore the graffiti art of Old Palermo. take a tour with Graffitimundo

mkbgw5kzk3 edit

Leave a response »

Ten Great Milongas in Berlin, Buenos Aires and London

Mike (Editor) : May 31, 2016 7:30 pm : Whats up

Buenos Aires








El Beso


Glorias Argentinas (in Mataderos)

La Ideal

La Viruta

Niño Bien


Porteño y Bailarín

Salón Canning

Club Sunderland

(List compiled with the help of José Manrique and Natalia Pombo)

Leave a response »

What’s Important at Milongas? – Survey Results

Mike (Editor) : May 31, 2016 7:27 pm : Whats up

Our mini-survey regarding What’s important at milongas is now closed. We received around a hundred votes which was fine as a beta test, but, of course, not really statistically significant.

Here’s a summary of the results:

Music to dance to

Dancers said that, even more than the type of music played, the most important thing to them was that there should be smooth transitions from one song to another, with clear cortinas.

Milonga culture

Welcoming hosts, friendly, non-cliquish dancers and good floorcraft were considered more important than dancing experience levels or a cabaceo system.

Getting a dance

Followers felt strongly that where there are more followers than leaders tandas should consist of 3 songs and not 4. They did not favour a booking system to even numbers out though.


A good sound system was a definite requirement, followed by a nice ambience and a good dance floor. The availability of alcoholic drinks was not so important.


The most important requirement was a free nearby car park


Surprisingly, perhaps, dancers wanted to be able to rely on a good website, even more than facebook notifications

Timing preferences

Saturday nights were the most favoured times for attending a milonga, followed by Friday nights or Sunday afternoons.

The full survey is here


Leave a response »

Ten Best Restaurants in Buenos Aires

Mike (Editor) : May 31, 2016 7:20 pm : Whats up


Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants
La Cabrera
 (La Cabrera)


Leave a response »

Leave a comment