Arts & Entertainment

Montevideo’s bars serve nostalgia along with the cocktails

By Alejandro Prieto

Montevideo, Aug 24 (EFE).- Walking into a bar or cafe in Uruguay’s capital can seem like traveling in time back to the era when one could encounter tango master Carlos Gardel (1890-1935) ordering a beer.

Though it’s true that, as Uruguayan cultural icon Eduardo Galeano wrote in “Bocas del tiempo” (Voices of Time: A Life in Stories), “the winds of time will erase the footprints,” elements of Montevideo’s heritage have endured the passage of the years.

Indeed, a visitor can still sit in the chair Galeano once occupied at the Cafe Brasilero and the legendary Baar Fun Fun, while no longer at its original location, retains much of its magic in the form of the autographed photos of celebrities and signed shirts from famous footballers.

Owner Gonzalo Acosta told Efe that the establishment was founded in 1895 by his great-grandfather, Augusto Lopez, who opened a tavern in the capital’s historic quarter at the urging of the large clientele he built up as a mobile vendor of liquor.

The Brasilero, Sorocabana, San Rafael and Restaurante Las Misiones were known as the favorite haunts of writers such as Mario Benedetti, Idea Vilariño and Juan Carlos Onetti.

Baar Fun Fun was famous as a watering hole for tango greats, including Piazzolla, Juan D’Arienzo, Osvaldo Pugliese and Roberto Goyeneche.

And the bar’s trademark tipple, Uvita, concocted by Augusto Lopez from a mix of wine and “many secret” ingredients, was made famous by Gardel.

“From that moment when Gardel began to come, Fun Fun was more widely known and the beverage as well,” Acosta said.

Another spot offering “retro” ambience is Cafe La Farmacia, which opened in 2017 in a 19th-century building with a striking neo-Gothic facade that once housed an actual pharmacy.

The proprietor, Aaron Hojman, told Efe that he bought the building in 2008 based on its historic value and the cafe retains all of the furnishings of the pharmacy.

Despite the air of nostalgia, Acosta said that young people make up a significant portion of Baar Fun Fun’s current clientele.

“New generations are always coming,” he said. EFE apf/dr

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