If you enjoy café culture as much as I do, you’ll love this historic café founded in Buenos Aires in 1915.
Bar de Cao started as a grocery store with a bar – almacén con despacho de bebidas in Spanish. Brothers Pepe and Vicente Cao, originally from Spain, bought it in 1930. Pepe managed the bar and Vicente, the grocery store. Over the years, their place became the focal point of the neighbourhood, where people gathered to buy food, have a drink and exchange the latest gossip. They eventually retired and sold the business.
The café changed hands -and names- a few times until the latest owner renamed it Bar de Cao to honour the founders. It hasn’t lost its old-world charm despite the changes.
The tall ceilings, the wooden shutters and the exposed original bricks on the walls bear witness to so many stories: breakups, business deals, renewed friendships, heartbreak, happiness. In short, the human experience.
Antiques adorn shelves and counter surfaces. An ancient coffee maker, a cash register decorated with fileteado, and an old set of scales stand out and hark back to the past. Some people believe that the past was better than the present and get nostalgic, but was it really? I don’t believe so but I cherish the memories.
The dusty old bottles lined on the shelves evoke so many memories. I remember seeing some of those labels at my grandparents’ house. A café is like an old friend with whom you have a lot in common.
This café is famous for its turkey sandwich (sandwiche de pavita). However, since we’d already eaten, I ordered a cortado (coffee with a dash of frothy milk) and a typical Argentinean dessert: queso y dulce. My husband enjoyed a cold pint of their craft beer.
Bar de Cao was named one of the Bares Notables (Historic cafes) of Buenos Aires and part of the city’s heritage. A great way to preserve the city’s culture, identity, and history. For a truly porteño experience, head to this bit of Buenos Aires’ history.
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Bar de Cao is located right on the corner of Avenida Independencia and Matheu. The exact address is Avenida Independencia 2400.
Opens every day at 8 am and closes when the last customer goes home.