For many people, he was the greatest print cartoonist. Beloved by the whole City of Rosario and adored worldwide, “El Negro” Fontanarrosa comes alive at any café in this city and “El Cairo” Bar is one of them.
Roberto Fontanarrosa, popularly known as “El Negro”
(Spanish words for “the Black Man”), found inspiration throughout his life in the City of Rosario
, its cafés
and, especially, in the characters who visit these venues. One of these cafés
-which served as a meeting place for “El Negro”
Fontanarrosa and his friends to talk about politics, women and soccer- was “El Cairo” Bar. El Cairo and its Most Famous Table
Just opening the door of “El Cairo” Bar is enough to start to grasp the timing and the lifestyle of the City of Rosario. Located in the heart of the downtown area of the city, between Sarmiento and Santa Fe Streets, this bar faithfully witnessed the whole creative process of “El Negro”
Some of his friends say that here the cartoonist brought into life a few of his unforgettable cartoon characters, such as Inodoro Pereyra and his dog Mendieta or Boggie, el Aceitoso (“The Oily Guy”), amongst many others, and wrote his memorable short stories.
“La mesa de los galanes”
(“The table of Handsome Men”) was one of these short stories and it is about the cult of friendship and fellowship, which even now and despite the absence of “El Negro”
Fontanarrosa, survives in the atmosphere of the bar and at the same table opposite the cash register.
Together with the Flag Monument
, this table, which has been famous for over 30 years, is one of the most significant relics preserved in the city. Among the dozens of pictures of “El Negro”
, you can mainly find him playing soccer and together with his close friends or celebrities such as Joan Manuel Serrat, known as “el Nano”
“El Cairo” Bar was opened in 1943 and served as a meeting place for various local, national and international artists and intellectual generations. The passage of time found it deteriorated on the corner of Sarmiento and Santa Fe Streets. The bar was closed in 2002 as a result of the economic crisis devastating our country until a serious fire almost fails to carry out the project to rebuild it in 2004.
Although the bar was under restoration for a couple of years, this work has resulted in an updated small corner in the City of Rosario adjusted to our times: Wi-Fi and a huge TV screen. However, the scent of coffee and the classic heartbeat among the fans of Central and Newells soccer teams remain alive.
For many people, this site is now a sort of social club, as it used to be at the neighborhoods, where anyone could meet with friends to talk about politics, women and problems and, of course, soccer; however, there are other people who use this place as an office, couples who meet here and visitors who sometimes go with the flow of nostalgia. This is “El Cairo” Bar, a place that has been immortalized by “El Negro”
Fontanarrosa and still keeps its doors open for anyone who desires to have a cup of coffee.
Whether regional or ecumenical, whether strongly Argentinian or European, all of them, proudly from Rosario.
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Bear in mind: Once inside the bar, customers cannot help watching the old and recycled corner. It is worth standing in front of the table of handsome men (if it is empty, anyone may sit at this table) or watching the showcase where the whole work made by “El Negro” Fontanarrosa is on display. If you are a visitor, you may order a cup of coffee and watch each of the tables. Undoubtedly, Rosario can be found immersed into “El Cairo” Bar day after day.