Situated on the corner of Avenida de Mayo and Salta, Bar Iberia has a turbulent political past and has played a large role in the history of the Spanish immigrants of Buenos Aires. First opened in 1897 and called Bar La Toja, the bar quickly became a meeting point for members of the Comité Central del Radicalismo, whose offices were a few doors away.
Changing its name to Bar Iberia in 1936 it gained a reputation as being the main Republican bar of the city, its clients following the events of the Spanish Civil War every day. This, of course, made it a target for Franco’s Nationalist followers who frequented a bar across the street call El Español, and on more than one occasion tables and chairs were flung across the Avenida de Mayo as the two sides fought a mini-version of the civil war here in Buenos Aires.
The bar also welcomed many customers from the cultural world including Spanish dramatist Federico García Lorca who stayed at the nearby Hotel Castelar from October 1933 to March 1934 while one of his plays was being performed in the next-door Teatro Avenida.
The bar today has obviously been recently renovated and visually, nothing of its historical past remains and it is now impossible to differentiate it from the hundreds of cafes that populate the centre of Buenos Aires. Plaques commemorate it’s Notable Bar status as well as it having been named a Corner of Hispanic Interest in 2003, however there is very little interest in the bar itself now.
Bar Iberia: Avenida de Mayo 1196
Subte: Peru, Line A
This page is part of a series examining the Notable Bars of Buenos Aires.