The historic Buenos Aires bar leading a vermút revival

(Club Enologique) It’s a regular midweek morning in Congreso, Buenos Aires’s political district, and Ricardo La Rosa has stopped off at Los Galgos for a cortado and a sweet, croissant-like medialuna pastry. Before the day is out, he will have likely passed by a few more times, perhaps ordering the plato del día (dish of the day), which might be a tortilla or lamb’s tongue, and he will definitely have caught up with other patrons perched at the bar.

La Rosa has frequented this bar notable – a culturally relevant and historic café in the Argentinian capital that’s one of more than 70 such establishments holding heritage status – since 1966, when it operated as both grocery store and watering hole. His dad would bring him, the young Ricardo peering through the sash windows at the cheese and charcuterie, inspired to save up his pesos to buy a savoury treat. For almost 60 years, Los Galgos has been the pensioner’s social axis, a bolthole to eat and greet, laugh and mourn; it’s one of many such centenary establishments that weave a colourful thread through Buenos Aires’s social tapestry.

La Rosa’s six decades of ritual came to an end in 2015, when Los Galgos, which translates as ‘the greyhounds’, ran its last race. Regulars had to search for new meeting spots, though La Rosa and his gang never put down roots anywhere else – that is, until new handlers and cultural heritage guardians Julián Díaz and Flor Capella, co-owners of the trendy 878 cocktail bar in the Villa Crespo neighbourhood, entered the scene, determined not to lose this piece of history brimming with Argentinian identity. ‘The Ramos brothers ran Los Galgos for more than 50 years – but when they died, their heirs couldn’t sustain it and closed it down,’ says Díaz. ‘That’s when my family got in touch with theirs to revive the space. Working with my architect parents Luis Díaz and Teresa Chiurazzi, and my partner Flor, we restored the property and reopened in December 2015.’

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