El Miramar doesn’t have the same feel as many of the other bars I’ve visited so far. It shares the high roof and dark wooden furniture with many of its fellow Notables, but there is a distinct lack of faded advertising on the walls and the bottles stacked behind the bar look used, rather than relics from a previous age. As I enter around 4pm the bright interior is filled with tables, all with white tablecloths left over from lunch.
I order a coffee and take a seat, next to a glass cabinet which divides the space in two, making a smaller more bar-like area by the entrance and a larger area towards the back reserved for diners. As the waiter brings my coffee over, I ask my usual questions about the history of the bar (opened in 1950) and what sort of food they serve. He brings me over a menu and then disappears for a minute and comes back with the specials board and sitting down opposite me he then proceeds to talk me through it. The food has a definite Spanish and French influence and even includes frogs legs and snails. The smoked boar platter sounds especially good and catches my eye, it certainly makes a change from the usual menu of sandwiches, milanesa and pizza found in a lot of bars and restaurants.
He then disappears again and returns with a map of the Notable Bars produced by the city (it’s the 4th copy I’ve been given so far) and he talks me through his favourite spots, with the help of his colleague who stays safely behind the bar grunting contributions. They both like Los Laureles in Barracas and Carlitos in San Cristóbal (still has the original tin bar, although sadly turns out to have closed down). He tells me about the Bar Chino in Pompeya, also closed, but where you had to take an umbrella if it was raining due to the leaky roof.
We sit there for 20 minutes or so as they reminisce about the various bars they have known (El Puenticito in Barracas, always full of taxi drivers and a Japanese bar where a sandwich and a beer cost 200 pesos, but really good quality!), until he stands up, shakes my hand goes and gets his coat and heads home, telling me the coffee is on him. There is no messing about at El Miramar, and as I leave I make a mental note to return one day. I have a date with some smoked boar.
El Hipopótamo: Sarandí 1190
Subte: Line E, Entre Rios
This page is part of a series examining the Notable Bars of Buenos Aires.