It feels like it’s been a while – OK, maybe just a couple of weeks – since something or someone from Argentina made it to a prestigious global ranking. Which is why we’re thrilled to announce that La Fuerza, located in the Buenos Aires barrio of Chacarita, was chosen by TIME Magazine as one of the world’s 100 greatest places to visit in 2019.
Open since January 2018, La Fuerza has quickly become one of the city’s coolest spots, serving its own vermouth and classic bodegón snacks to hipster youth and old-school abuelos alike. Tapping into Argentina’s nostalgia for its Italian and Spanish immigrant roots, La Fuerza puts a perfectly cool twist on the longstanding tradition of la hora del vermú. In fact, up until a few years ago, most people under the age of 75 typically only associated the aperitif with a bygone era when couches were protected by clear plastic covers and kids played in the streets until way past dark. Nowadays, you’ll see both locals and tourists alike clamoring for a spot at the bar, partaking in the ritual by getting fizzy seltzer water everywhere (maybe that’s just me) and topping off their vermú with a lemon wedge.
The bar was founded by Julián Díaz, Martín Auzmendi, Agustín Camps, and Sebastián Zuccardi. You probably know of Díaz from legendary watering holes 878, Florería Atlántico, and Los Galgos; Auzmendi is a journalist and sort of guardian of porteño cocktail culture; Camps has been involved with marketing and ABV for nearly 15 years; Zuccardi is of course associated with the eponymous award-winning winery in Mendoza. Speaking with La Nación, Auzmendi said: “It’s not just another bar. When people come here, things happen, they walk away with something different. La Fuerza is a place open to everyone, it’s friendly and fun.” Díaz added: “Whoever comes to La Fuerza will find a place with a truly local identity, with quality products, nothing too sophisticated, where the focus is on the vermouth that we make ourselves in Mendoza, everything related to using local products for both the food and drink.”
So, what makes La Fuerza stand out? Per the TIME website, “La Fuerza makes its vermouth – on tap in white and red – using exclusively local ingredients, including botanicals like elderberry, lemon verbena, and creosote bush. Every part of the process takes place in Mendoza: from harvesting the grapes to distilling and bottling.”
La Fuerza’s space was first built in 1933, sitting on the most perfect of corners right in the heart of Chacarita. Thanks to a slew of other openings and hip happenings, the area is the latest foodie hotspot on the radar of BA’s coolest and most connected gastronomes. When the weather is warm, customers spill out onto the sidewalk, perching themselves on a ledge in front of the bar’s massive picture windows and watching the world go by. The décor and ambiance reflect that of a traditional bodegón, without a pervasive sense of melancholy or decline. Its simple, clean lines and bright colors make it a decidedly modern incantation of a national icon.
So, how did a little bar in Buenos Aires make it to TIME’s list of 100 greatest places to visit in 2019? As published on its website, the team “solicited nominations across a variety of categories—including museums, parks, restaurants, and hotels—from our editors and correspondents around the world as well as industry experts. Then we evaluated each one based on key factors, including quality, originality, sustainability, innovation and influence.” The result? 100 “new and noteworthy” places across the globe that are more than worth the trip.
But wait – there’s more! Consider it a bonus track of even more celebration. La Fuerza’s vermouths both received medals at the International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC), which is basically like the World Cup of booze. A panel of experts blindly taste and award the world’s best wine and spirits; La Fuerza’s was the only vermouth outside of Europe to be awarded medals. The white vermouth – made from a base of torrontés – took Silver, while the red – based in Malbec, duh – won Bronze. You can buy both products either at La Fuerza or online, and it’s also available at more than 60 bars and restaurants across Argentina.