The El Ateneo bookstore in Buenos Aires is truly one of kind. It is housed in the former Teatro Gran Splendid which originally opened in 1919. Books and music CD's/DVD's are displayed on what was once the orchestra section and in the balconies. Some of the theatre boxes are used as reading area and the stage with its burgundy curtains intact, has been converted into a café. One can't help feel like a star when drinking coffee on stage with visitors' cameras clicking away.
The theatre is carefully maintained and sports a fresh coat of paint. Gilding highlights deco carvings. The fresco on the dome shaped ceiling can best be viewed and appreciated from the higher balcony. It was the work of Nazareno Orlandi, an Italian painter. Escalators in the center of the theatre on the main floor lead to the Juniors' section in the basement.
While browsing through the rows of books I found this bestseller: Comer, Rezar, Amar. This bookstore is definitely not to be missed when visiting Buenos Aires. If you're a tango fan, Carlos Gardel once performed here.
Fun souvenir item you can pick up from the bookstore is the tango bookmark for 65 cents. Lyrics for tango songs like Volver and Cambalache among others, are printed on one side of the bookmark. You can find the rack right by the cashier.
The bookstore is located at Avenida Santa Fe 1860 in Buenos Aires. Subway: Callao.
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Images by Charie