Since its opening in September of last year, Barcito has charmed South Park’s residents and the Downtown scene alike. Mirroring elements of the typical Argentine bar scene, this gem has made itself comfortable on 12th Street, a few blocks east of Staples Center.
With South Park being deemed the residential hub and safest neighborhood of Downtown, owner Andrea Borgen considers her business’ location as “a pedestrian area and not a destination.” Downtown dwellers, Kings fans on their way to a game, and curious passersby all make up the general customer base. Upon entrance, the space feels warm and engaging, with printed scenes of Buenos Aires lining the wall. Its large windows, high ceilings, dimmed lighting, and black and white checkered floor keep the atmosphere casual and comfortable, yet still modern.
“You have to make guests feel good and enjoy their experience,” says Borgen. With such attention on customers, it’s impossible not to immediately feel at home here. Being half Argentinian, Andrea knows Argentine culture. “Much of it revolves around eating and drinking. A bar is often the central meeting place amongst a group of friends,” says Borgen.
Her vision for Barcito was to recreate that same environment by exposing a simple tapas-style cuisine. The food is kept approachable and classic with Spanish and Italian influences. Plates like the Chicken Liver Mouse and Provoleta are highly recommended by Borgen herself. And with chef Chuck Abair, whose resume includes Cafe del Rey and Water Grill, in the kitchen, it’s no wonder why locals keep coming back for more.
The bar’s delicious draft cocteles feature familiar names with clever twists in ingredients. The Sangria is a strong blend of flavors with a smooth finish, thanks to the house-made clove serum it’s laced with. The “Chegroni,” which includes the Argentinian aperitif Livenza, is an impressive competitor to its counterpart, the Negroni. The “Yerba Mate” uses the very Argentine “mate” tea and is a soothing substitute for those looking for something easy to sip on.
The last of the bar’s perks sits at the bottom of the drink menu: a list of Mexican sodas, which are known for using real cane sugar. If you’re one to appreciate simple pleasures and an affordable price point, Barcito awaits you.