“We are back! we resume Kilkenny, this place that we opened in 1998, and I was already moved by the reaction of people”, says Roberto Amitrano. On March 8, after two years of inactivity, the legendary irish pub not only resumed its activities at the Microcentro in Buenos Aires, but also revived by the hand of its original founders.
To say Kilkenny that is to say Robert Amitrano. Today an emblem of the gastronomic field, but with a past that had nothing to do with this industry. “I had different lives, I did cinema and advertising for fifteen years”, details. Then he moved to Europe: “I lived in Zurich, Switzerland, and there I worked for a brewery. This is where the Guinness beer folks invited me to visit their headquarters in Dublin, Ireland”.
They educated me there, they trained me on everything related to beer so that I could open a bar here. Only that they told me ‘We will give you everything except the money to do it’”. Resolved, Amitrano returns to Argentina: “In 1997, I went back to look for investors. The situation was ideal, we were with the dollar one against one. It was time.”
In 1998 Kilkenny it was a reality. With Roberto at the head of the project, an employee of a limited liability company, this irish pub. However, the “green spirit” was no stranger to him. “I studied in an Irish school, I have always been linked to the community through the Hurlingham Club rugby -he says with a cautious English accent-, my children played at San Cirano, I lived in Britain and Ireland”.
Since its opening Kilkenny hit her:I don’t know if it was because people needed it or what, just that they liked it. But Saint Patrick’s Day was not invented by me, it has always been a mainstay of the Irish community (it is estimated that Argentina has, with 550,000 people, the first community of descendants in a non-English-speaking country ),” he cut short. Although he deals with the boom to have the street cut off: “The first year I did it, it blew up in my face. It was in 2002, when we had around 60,000 people drinking there! It wasn’t until years later that Reconquista Street would become a pedestrian street.
Despite the unusual location –”When we started it at night it was a black hole”-, betting on the Microcentro was not random. when it opened, Kilkenny I already had another irish pub close: Downtown Matthias. “Selecting the venue was tied to the points that Guinness was asking for: not seeing each other as your competition, but creating a gastronomic space. Also be close to five-star hotels and restaurants; we had big likes Edge by Deni De Biaggi”.
It is with this bar that the after work. “The happy hour in fact –corrects Roberto-. It is true that the after work takes place where there are offices but what really stimulated was our happy hour (Happy Hour). It was 1 against 1 and people stayed and coincided at the exit of the offices. They spent up to an hour or two here. That’s how it happened after work”.
Today at 74, Amitrano reviews the drinks, the eleven styles of beer offered by the place. “When you have a bar, you have to be responsible for the fact that you stimulate the consumption of alcohol, although the limits are actually set by your liver and pocket,” it is said. He tells how he knew how to live at night: “At that time I had years of rock n Roll, I left at four or five in the morning and at noon I already had working lunches with managers”.
Things were going well. “One night Mike Rutherford, the bassist for Genesis, came over and had such a good vibe that he started playing. A girl sitting here was a tourist from London and she couldn’t believe it. “I couldn’t get a ticket to see it at home and I find myself seeing it here in a bar!” he told me. They also came from lord of the dance and they did a show on the first floor. Magician David Copperfield and Guillermo Coppola also came.”
“If they formed couples here?” A lot of women have always come, a lot of groups, alone – they feel comfortable in this environment and I love it -. So I have always said: whoever does not “find a partner” in Kilkenny it’s because he’s dead, put that on!he boasts.
Roberto gets excited when he talks about beer and how to drink it. Cold mug? “If they make you drink it very cold, it’s because the cold is covering your taste buds and you don’t realize how ugly it is. A Guinness should be served right now, at 7 degrees. The cold cup does not. Otherwise, you don’t have the thermal shock you need,” he argues.
And he talks about the team he has put together in this reopening and the usual ones, the bartender and of bartender. “A bartender he must specialize in the perfect serving of draft beer and can suitably make a direct drink, without making cocktails. A cocktail maker, on the other hand, is a bartender Where barwoman», compare. “I am very attentive to consumption habits, as a consultant that I was during the years when I was far from Kilkenny”.
“In 2015, my company sold the bar. I devoted myself to giving advice, until October of last year a former partner told me that it had been closed for two years and was saddled with debt. And that the new owner of the building was going to give us a hand if we wanted to set up a business plan, take over Kilkenny put my stamp on it,” says Roberto.
“My original partners and three other people trusted me. For me this place is like a son, I couldn’t help resuscitating it when I saw it abandoned and destroyed. It was a challenge, let’s hope it is the business. He deserves to have an adequate return,” he says.
It seems so. “Over the past three weeks, we have had one thousand eight hundred new followers On Instagram. They recognized the brand and on San Patricio they came back with everything. People asked to take a picture with me! They were grateful that we had reclaimed an iconic space”account.
“This renewal Kilkenny come back with beer (promotional pint, $400), cider and typical dishes such as the bondiola sandwich braised on soda bread, a traditional Irish bread. The first floor will be used for special events. We are currently open Tuesday to Saturday from 6 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., we will be back Monday to Monday nonstop”.
“Customers will come back. St. Patrick’s Day – March 17 – customers came from the first day of 1998, but I don’t think that will last. I see the profile of the followers and they are millennium and centenary. Every bar owner understands that after twenty years his first customers are already married and have two children. We must renew our bases every five years if we want to continue to do rock n roll“, he is enthusiastic.