The windmill cafe
Buenos Aires is famous for its cafe culture, and it's hard to walk the length of a city block without passing at least one cafe, if not two or three. There are cafes for everyone - the traditional ones where the locals meet, the corner cafes with formal waiters, the trendy new ones with great specialty coffee, and of course, the iconic ones.
One of the most iconic cafes, but closed for decades and now almost fully renovated, is the Confitería del Molino, or Windmill Cafe. A famous Buenos Aires landmark, it is found near the Congress building, on the corner of the avenues Rivadavia and Callao. The name is apt, because a corner feature of the six-storey building comprises four decorative windmill sails. Above the sails, and doubling the overall height of the building, rises an impressive and delicate turret. At night, the turret is illuminated from within, the light glowing through lovely lead light windows. The renovation has been taking place with reference to photos, films and other information, and restoration of the windmill vanes was based on a film made in the 1960s.
The building, with a cafe on the ground floor, was commissioned by Cayetano Brenna, a famous confectioner. It was designed in Art Nouveau style by Italian architect Francisco Gianotti. The cafe opened in 1916, and became a popular meeting place for cultural, business and political figures. But it closed in 1997 and slowly deteriorated.
In January this year the windmill vanes rotated again, for the first time in decades.
For some impressive 'before and after' photos, go to https://www.infobae.com/sociedad/2021/01/10/el-impactante-antes-y-despues-de-la-historica-confiteria-del-molino-luego-de-su-restauracion/
And if you'd like to find out more about Buenos Aires, read my book, An Argentine in my Kitchen.
*Photograph of the unrenovated Confitería del Molino is from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Confiter%C3%ADa_El_Molino,_Buenos_Aires.JPG