If an award-winning bar loses all but one of its staff on the same night, but remains owned by the same venture capitalists it partnered with to survive the COVID-19 pandemic, is it really the same bar? Is the bar the bricks, mortar and stock? The people who work in it, or the ineffable aura of a space that still refers to itself as a ‘five star dive bar’? These are all valid questions that might have run through the mind of the four individuals who were maneuvering their way towards empty stools at the bar on a recent Thursday night. Two of them were definitely distracted – minds occupied with first date minutiae like ‘how long can we leave our knees touching’ and probing personal questions such as “do you live alone?” don’t leave much room for the finer points of hospitality finance in 2023. A third was distracted by another pressing question “what is a schmuck, anyway?”. In the words of the founder: ‘If you’re meant to go to work tomorrow, and you start work at 8am, and you’re here at the bar, and you get absolutely drunk and just don’t go to work the next day, then you’re a schmuck. We were looking for something where we could be 100% who we are. The schmuck spoke to us the most’. Whether the venture capitalists agree with that sentiment, the “come in, we’re cunts” sign on the front door or the image of a rule book on fire remains to be seen. They probably do agree with the continued offering of some of Barcelona’s finest drinks like the Pig Jam (bacon infused whisky and raspberry, smoked cream clarified) and the Skinny Banana Colada (bourbon, Oloroso, coco oil, banana and cinnamon soda). Despite the changes, the vibe remains irreverent and fun. ‘Build, destroy, rebuild’ reads a sign on the wall, next to an axe. Let’s see what comes next. (Carrer de Joaquín Costa 52, Barcelona, @two.schmucks).
11 June 2023 / Bar Reviews