In a few of the bars I’ve been to, I get talking to a waiter about the history of the place and after a while they disappear and come back with a map produced by the city, listing and showing the location of the Notable Bars of the city. Following the list of the 72, there is a list of 12 Notable Bars that have closed their doors, including the Cafe Richmond on Florida which was closed overnight in 2011 after 98 years in business. There was talk at the time of it being converted into a Nike store, but at the moment it’s is still sitting there, boarded up and covered with graffiti.
Unfortunately it seems that there is another casualty to add to the list, Bar Carlitos in San Cristóbal. I tried to visit it at 3pm on a Tuesday afternoon, and finding it closed made a note to come back another time, maybe in the evening when it was more likely to be open. Unfortunately, a little digging around unearthed the information that the bar closed in 2011 and due to financial problems will not be reopening. (I found the email of the owner on another post and he confirmed this to me).
So, it seems that another part of Buenos Aires history is gone forever. Opened in 1908, Carlitos (named in the 30s for Carlos Gardel, a hero to the then owner) may not have the high-profile coverage that the closing of Cafe Richmond got, but it strikes me that the closure of any of these bars is a loss to the collective memory of the city, particularly one that had been open for over 100 years.
It raises the question what being given Notable status actually means for the bar. In the case of the Richmond it didn’t protect it against (presumed) property development and ultimately, the status was unable to help Carlitos, or the others on the Closed list either. The exterior for the moment is unchanged and is still decorated with tango images and caricatures of Carlos Gardel, so if you’re in the area pass by and take a look, but surely that too will soon be gone forever.
Bar Carlitos: Carlos Calvo 2607
This page is part of a series examining the Notable Bars of Buenos Aires.