The English newspaper The Guardian published on January a list of the ten fairest bookshops in the world. El Ateneo Grand Splendid, in the Porteño neighbourhood of Recoleta, took the second place.
The cinema and theatre Grand Splendid was built in 1919. His owner, Max Glücksmann was an Austrian immigrant who arrived in Argentina in 1890 at the age of 15. In the 1920’s, the Grand Splendid was the first theatre in the country where sound movies were projected.
Glücksmann was also a pioneer in the records industry, and his company made some of the first recordings of Carlos Gardel, who acted in the Grand Splendid too.
On the year 2000, the old theatre became a bookshop. As the London paper says in its article, it “has retained its former splendour, with high painted ceiling, original balconies and ornate carvings intact. Even the crimson stage curtains remain part of the show.”
In the back of the shop, on what used to be the stage, there is a bar where you can read the books and magazines while taking a gourmet coffee.