Fabled cafe La Biela likely to close permanently

sergio

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rickulivi

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Why do you go often if you don't like it? Agreed that the WIFI is unreliable. Bathrooms? Acceptable in my opinion. They upgraded them some years ago. Paper towels and soap are always in supply. They also invested in all new chairs and tables. Considering the size of the place, that must have been a major expense. Employee hygiene? I have no reason to believe that it is not good. I have seen employees wash their hands. Often empty? It's quiet at off peak hours but generally is quite busy, often to capacity on weekends. What cafes (not restaurants) do you consider up to your standards? Could you recommend a couple not to far from La Biela that don't play music.

Another cafe that hasn't been mentioned is Josephina at Guido and Juncal. There are actually two salons separated from each other. For years this was owned and managed by a German who ran it with impressive efficiency. He decorated the place with antique oil paintings, always played classical music. He spoke Spanish and English as well as German. Knew his customers and often sat and chatted with them. The place was always packed. I believe his key to success was his near constant presence. When he was not there you noted the difference. Sadly he died a few years ago. I don't know who is running it now but it's not as good as it used to be. Maintenance is not as good, the classical music has been replaced by pop and there doesn't seem to be any manager in charge. Still it was doing very well.
Sergio

In my post, I never said I don't like La Biela. Please re-read my post, it says "too messy too often, the waiters either hate working there or seem too old to care; the place is empty far too often, the Internet or WiFi is horrible."
Why do I go often? Tell me which place in Buenos Aires has clean bathrooms, except the Alvear Hotel? Which place has smiling and happy servers willing to serve you and not scew up the order, etc. These things are hard to find in BA. But, just like I enjoy spending time with my 93 year old client, I enjoy spending time in Bs. As. with all its faults. Another bar-restaurant that I recommend anyone visit in Recoleta, but not the bathroom, is La Rambla, Ayacucho and Posadas. Another one near the Colon is the Petite Colon, and the bathroom there tends to be very clean, surprisingly.

One day there will be no inflation in Argentina, public bathroom's will be clean, and customer service will be that, and not an oximoron, but then, the cost of living will be high. Today, that's the trade off you get.
 

sergio

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Sergio

In my post, I never said I don't like La Biela. Please re-read my post, it says "too messy too often, the waiters either hate working there or seem too old to care; the place is empty far too often, the Internet or WiFi is horrible."
Why do I go often? Tell me which place in Buenos Aires has clean bathrooms, except the Alvear Hotel? Which place has smiling and happy servers willing to serve you and not scew up the order, etc. These things are hard to find in BA. But, just like I enjoy spending time with my 93 year old client, I enjoy spending time in Bs. As. with all its faults. Another bar-restaurant that I recommend anyone visit in Recoleta, but not the bathroom, is La Rambla, Ayacucho and Posadas. Another one near the Colon is the Petite Colon, and the bathroom there tends to be very clean, surprisingly.

One day there will be no inflation in Argentina, public bathroom's will be clean, and customer service will be that, and not an oximoron, but then, the cost of living will be high. Today, that's the trade off you get.
You didn't express your complaints about La Biela in the context that you did above, i.e. your criticisms can be applied to just about every cafe/restaurant outside of five star hotels.

I mentioned the Petit Colon in a previous post. Actually it had closed down a number of years ago, to the dismay of Teatro Colon habitués, however it was subsequently 'recycled' (architecturally restored) and reopened. The last I was there the prices were outrageous - a lot more than La Biela's but it's a nice place for coffee before a Colon performance. As for public toilets, Patio Bullrich is pretty good. There were always full time attendants in the ones in the subsuelo but last I was there they seemed to have cut back. As I said earlier, some of the waiters at La Biela are brusque but there are some nice ones. I prefer them to the US style "Hi, my name's Hillary and I'll be your server this evening".
 

on the brink

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In my experience, many Argentine career waiters take pride in being surly. The US fake-friendly approach grates on my nerves, too, but it is not aggressive.

In short, I prefer fake friendliness to genuine surliness. Just sayin......
 

Rich One

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You didn't express your complaints about La Biela in the context that you did above, i.e. your criticisms can be applied to just about every cafe/restaurant outside of five star hotels.

I mentioned the Petit Colon in a previous post. Actually it had closed down a number of years ago, to the dismay of Teatro Colon habitués, however it was subsequently 'recycled' (architecturally restored) and reopened. The last I was there the prices were outrageous - a lot more than La Biela's but it's a nice place for coffee before a Colon performance. As for public toilets, Patio Bullrich is pretty good. There were always full time attendants in the ones in the subsuelo but last I was there they seemed to have cut back. As I said earlier, some of the waiters at La Biela are brusque but there are some nice ones. I prefer them to the US style "Hi, my name's Hillary and I'll be your server this evening".
The Waiters at la Biela are nice ...LOL YES if you go every day and slip a big tip like 100 pesos..

Once upon a time there was this waiter at la Biela that greeted me DIGA .. and to the gentleman on a nearby table "Buen dia Doctor" and brought over the paper and and extra medialuna on the House--! I was puzzled and asked once for the paper and he responded " It must be somewhere in the Salon".. After a period of time I got enough confidence to ask him what tip is necessary to ask for the paper. He frowned and answered" well plenty for years..."
 

garryl

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The Waiters at la Biela are nice ...LOL YES if you go every day and slip a big tip like 100 pesos..

Once upon a time there was this waiter at la Biela that greeted me DIGA .. and to the gentleman on a nearby table "Buen dia Doctor" and brought over the paper and and extra medialuna on the House--! I was puzzled and asked once for the paper and he responded " It must be somewhere in the Salon".. After a period of time I got enough confidence to ask him what tip is necessary to ask for the paper. He frowned and answered" well plenty for years..."
I was yelled "paciencia" by the old dude who has been working there for 30 years at La Biela.
Tip helps. There was a time when I frequented certain night clubs, the waiters always gave me a big handshake and asked me which table I wanted, if champagne was needed. That was a good time, seems far away.
 

sergio

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In my experience, many Argentine career waiters take pride in being surly. The US fake-friendly approach grates on my nerves, too, but it is not aggressive.

In short, I prefer fake friendliness to genuine surliness. Just sayin......
A few of the waiters at La Biela are arrogant but some ARE nice. In general in Argentina I find service slow, not usually surly or rude however. There is an advantage to this: they don't rush you out. I take my time eating. I can't imagine leaving a restaurant in less than two hours and when the conversation is animated I've stayed as long as four hours. I have NEVER been rushed. That would not be the case in the US. They are also unhappy when you leave less than 20% tip -- and that's 20% on top of the tax which is nearly 10% in New York. I think too they impose some sort of alcohol tax on top of the sales tax which is NOT included in the stated price but added on. I have been annoyed by some waiters in Argentina who are inefficient but given the choice of this or US style service I'll gladly take Argentina. I don't care for many aspects of the US life style such as being rushed in restaurants and having to pay excessive prices and ridiculous tips for the experience. All things considered, I much prefer the restaurant culture in Argentina. As for cafe culture, it really doesn't even exist in the US unless you consider some dreary self service Starbucks to qualify. To have a cafe culture you need people who want to patronize places like La Biela. That hardly exists in the US where people are constantly on the run.
 

rickulivi

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Not being rushed out of restaurants In Argentina is certainly a wonderful characteristic for clients but it must be tough for owners and employees. Turnover is very important for profitability and for earning tips.
a few years ago I was visiting my daughterin San Francisco and my wife and I took her out for dinner along with other relatives. We were a party of six and went to a neighborhood restaurant. About an hour later the owner asked if we could move to the bar to free up the table. The bill had been over $300 dollars.
Yes, I much prefer the Argentine style but if you are an owner or an employee that depends on tips, the low turnover is terrible.
 
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