La Giralda: Saving the world over a cup of coffee

La GiraldaIt’s the kind of place that can be easily overlooked. Half hidden behind a newsstand, located at 1453 Corrientes Avenue, La Giralda is an old café that has refused to change over the years, and it still looks pretty much the same as when it was founded in 1930. It’s not only the appearance that hasn’t changed: the waiters still dress the old fashioned way, with a white shirt and black trousers, and a black bowtie; they still give you peanuts with your beer (a tradition that is becoming less and less common), they still have the same decades-old ageing bottles behind the counter, and they still use the same brand of chocolate for their famous “chocolate con churros”.

The “chocolate” they are talking about is a glass of hot milk with two bars of real chocolate melting inside. The ‘churros’ are fried-dough pastry-based snacks originally from Spain. Indeed, this used to be a milk shop in classic Spanish tradition (if you´ve been to Spain, you´ll recognize those white tiles immediately). It is definitely not a fancy place and not the fashionable and sophisticated bar you may find in Palermo, but it’s worth venturing through its doors; you’ll feel you’ve taken a journey back in time. The latest addition to the place was probably the fans on the ceiling, which may have been added around 1960. That was the time when the place was at its peak. It used to be open 24/7, and was often crowded with young people sporting bellbottoms and long hair. La Giralda was one of the hangouts of the Argentine hippies and it has always been a refuge for liberals and intellectuals. Even today, the customers in La Giralda adjust to that profile. Though of course bellbottoms are no longer in style and the revolution is not the hot topic of the day, it`s not uncommon to find politicians, journalists or writers sipping their coffees, going through the newspaper, deliberating about whatever is going on in the country, or indeed the world, at the time. It`s something to do with the atmosphere of the place. It takes you back in time, or perhaps out of time, to a time and place where a conversation in a bar over a cup of coffee could save the world.

Av. Corrientes 1453
Sun-Thu 7Am to 1AM
Fri-Sat 7AM to 2AM
Subway: Uruguay, B line

Por Esteban Lleonart


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