Ricardo Montesino born in 1941 is the creator of Bar Sur and he tells us the history this way…
When I was only 12 my father and a friend took me for a ride and told me “we´re going to introduce you to the real Buenos Aires”, so this way I knew San Telmo neighbourhood.
When I saw this corner, built in 1910, I was delighted. Not only because of its architectural style, but also because you have to go by the little street closed to traffic to reach the place, which gives it this special charm of the hidden, the private. It was then that I invited my friends and later on my brothers to participate in the project.
At that time I earned some pesos arranging shop windows and I liked decoration very much, so I thought about setting a place whose style wouldn´t go out of style. I was attracted by auctions because there I could find little pieces of Buenos Aires history product of the demolitions of large houses, and this is why the majority of the bar facilities are made of Slavonian oak wood. Special mention should be made of the mirror which belonged to Dardo Rocha’s house, which ornaments the small balcony. Eventually, we have had to do restorations, but, as lovers of authenticity, we took special care in doing it in a way we didn´t alter any detail, and this is why we’ve kept pieces of the original paper and curtains framed.
For its opening, on February 31st, 1967, we invited friends and friends of friends of the northern part to visit the place, so little by little this spirit of cosiness and hospitality gradually forms, which we attempt to preserve.
In cooperation with all of them, we started to perform different types of activities in the bar, which began to emerge as one of the first Café Concert with one-man shows, underground theatre, painting exhibitions, gatherings of poets, social gatherings, cocktail receptions, tributes to artists, such as painters and writers, book presentations, literary workshops, etc, in a purely bohemian atmosphere which lasted until the early hours of the morning.
In the midst of all this cultural background, dance and music interpretation, singing and tango dance developed and this is how the group of friends was enlarged by musicians, singers and dancers such as: Mónica and Víctor Ayos, Alfredo and Laura Dinzel, Gabriel Reynal, Juancito Díaz, Hernán Oliva, Lucio De Mare, Alberto Podestá, Guillermito Fernández, Enrique Villegas, Puyeta Videla Dorna, Nelly Vásquez, Ramón Ayala, among others.
At the end of 1970, I buy the run-down, but not less old and dear Unión Bar, which I place into value and recover in its original style, today disappeared because Independencia Av was widened where we perform any kind of cultural activities. So step by step, the style still called “traditional and participative” began to emerge; we asked musicians and singers to perform some special pieces, and in a kind of communion we all sang together in a group, what is more, some even dared to dance with the tango dancers and usually these nights continued until 6 o 7 in the morning.
All this cultural and Bohemian spirit of those days continues alive today in Bar Sur and it attracts people and friends from all over the world; and we attempt to receive them with the same kindness, enthusiasm and hospitality of that time.