Outside the more frantic neighbourhoods of the capital, in a leafy suburban setting, Bar Olimpo rests quietly on a residential corner in Villa Luro; its charming wooden frame inviting in passers-by. Like many of the bares notables, Bar Olimpo boasts a certain charm that captures the essence of porteño culture. A sense of community pride beams from the bar with postcards that are strewn on every table of the bar that advertise the café’s fame, government posters that signal its place among the 500 most loved places in Buenos Aires and an owner who has had special booklets printed to celebrate this bar’s history and appeal.
Named after a favoured football team that used to frequent the venue before and after their matches, the bar has retained its soul and exists as an homage to that old-age Argentine institution; football. Olimpo was one of the first bars in the area to get its very own television, which prompted excitement at the time. Informal gatherings were hosted in the bar for the local community to come and watch the football matches of a team that had long since been a firm favourite after being the runners up in a tournament in 1949 that included 56 teams.
The bar has also been the scene for an Argentine film ‘Esperando la Carroza’ and famous actor Adolfo García Grau was a regular customer.
One cannot help imagining the typical scene of a crowd of Argentines from the past huddled around the marvel that was the television set in the 1950s, eagerly awaiting the result of a football match. This scene is all too easy to imagine as the original television remains a focal point in the bar, alongside other objects from the bar’s founding 60 years ago.
Although Bar Olimpo is far from the popular sites of the city centre and may not be on everyone’s itinerary, it is a lovely spot that has survived the galloping feet of tourists. If in Buenos Aires for five days, it is not a marvel that you need to see but if your time in the city is not rushed and you simply wish to discover her splendour on every far-flung corner, let Bar Olimpo show you the way.