A lone set of footsteps pounds up the narrow staircase with a hint of uncertainty. A young woman appears at the foyer of this remodeled second story apartment and takes a look around, slightly confused until she sees the bright yellow glow that lights up a library of liquor bottles. You arrive at Faraday by word-of-mouth—the simple ‘bar’ written in block letters over the anonymous looking door is hard to spot if you aren’t looking for it. And if you don’t happen to spot the modest appellation, you step cautiously up the stairs, wondering if you’ve actually arrived. The ware on her face quickly washes away when Federico Vaintraub gives a warm hello and offers her a seat at the bar.
The soundtrack begins to take back over—it pops off with James Brown’s ‘The Boss’ before wandering off into nostalgic hip hop tracks by Gangstarr and Wu Tang Clan. The bar is dreamily spacious and, despite only being open for five weeks, feels lived in with its worn walls and comfortable atmosphere. The combination of all these things makes you forget that you are just footsteps from an especially busy section of Avenida Santa Fe with the sound of motors, horns and constant chatter of people quickly falling out of frame.
The bar takes its name from British scientist Michael Faraday. He pioneered the study of electricity and magnetism and created the Faraday cage, an enclosure that blocks out electromagnetic fields. This is exactly what Vaintraub and his partner, Hernán Calliari, were looking for: a brief refuge from the chaos.
Old hands in the local bar scene, they began visualizing the version of the bar they always wanted to hang out in and quickly began gravitating their attentions to the food that would appear on the menu. “Our ideal bar is where you eat and drink well. It’s not about finding cheap shots or being surrounded by a ton of people [sic] a place where the food is as important as the drinks, which is something we think is generally lacking in Buenos Aires,” explains Calliari, “A plate of nachos doesn’t go with a great cocktail. And even if you have a really good hamburger and fries, it’s still just a hamburger and fries that you can find anywhere.”
“We value simplicity. Not to say that ordering a drink that is perfumed with Patagonian flowers and erupts with smoke and is this whole big show isn’t great, it is, it’s just those are places you go to once because it’s an experience. We want somewhere that people feel comfortable,” chimes in Vaintraub, “And we like that people are a bit surprised, and keep ordering one thing after another.”
They enlisted the help of Julieta Oriolo of La Alacena to design a small menu abundant in finger foods—if we could get away with it, everything would be eaten with your hands—with emphasis on fresh ingredients, options accessible to vegetarians and carnivores alike and robust mixtures of sweet, spicy, tangy and savory, often in the same dishes.
The drinks and food menu are split into a little more than a dozen options each. Drinks follow a three-ingredient rule with an emphasis on refined tastes that give space to the robustly flavored dishes. The Faradise 2.0 goes down smoothly and is a great place to start. A fresh slice of cucumber is the first thing to hit the nose, before a tempered mix of Johnnie Walker Black and Pimms washes over the tongue. The cucumber slowly steeped in making the final sips refreshing in the same way a well-made gin and tonic is. Humita, a gooey batter of corn, leeks and green onion popular in the North, is rolled into bite-sized and deep fried. They are just the right savory and sweet and completely addictive. ‘Bruschetta’ is prepared with charred fennel that sends a surge of sweetness over the slight bitterness of a gamey paté and tempered by a lightly pickled slice of pear.
Other appetizers include jalapeños stuffed with ricotta and doused in a sweet tomato chutney . It will satisfy the spice fiends, although I would prefer the ricotta to be swapped out for a cream or cheese with more personality. Chicken drumsticks are tossed in a syrupy mix of soy sauce, ginger and honey before being baked until taking on a sticky coat with a slight char. The meatball sandwich is the highlight. ‘Nduja, a spreadable Italian cold cut prepared with pork, roasted peppers and spices, gives a surprising dimension more similar to a richly flavored chorizo than regular ground pork.
To continue accompanying the food, Claudito’s Way is off menu and prepared with Tanqueray infused with palo santo, rosso, bitter and lavender syrup—both the bitterness of the gin and rosso is present without being overpowering. A Dublin Sour prepared with Jameson, sweet and sour, egg whites and a cinnamon syrup is a nice way to begin winding down. Cinnamon is dusted across the foamy top and is the first think that hits the nose and makes the sweet syrup pop alongside a creamy sour before whiskey settles in on the back of the tongue. For something more classic, the Old Fashioned offers a dignified finish and a step in your stride as you glide back down the stairs into the chaos of Palermo.
Bulnes 2022, Palermo Viejo
Tuesday & Wednesday from 7:00 pm to 1:30 am
Thursday from 7:00 pm to 2 am
Friday & Saturday from 7:00pm to 2:30am