I'm sensing a fine thread connecting a few cafes and bars in Melbourne which take a nuanced approach to the past. Either that or I've taken my love affair with drinking Campari and other italian bitters a little too far. All four – Patricia's, Bar Americano, Belle's Diner, and Bar Paradiso – each take a similar approach to presenting idealised versions of post-war Italy and America.
There's something about the simplicity of it all. they're all very much rooted in the past, but in a slightly different past than what we're used to. They're not over the top reproductions, dripping in garish semiotics. The details are of an otaku level of sophistication. By moving further and further back into the past we hope to gain a more authentic nostalgic response. There's a platonic realm of cafe or bar that they seem to be moving toward.
We're hungering for Edward Hopper's Nighthawks in geo-tagged high definition; instead of the cheap revisionary print with Monroe, Bogart and Dean. Stripped back to it's essentials but remade as a resolution independent 3D point cloud, with cold drip coffee, artisanal pastries, and obscure digestifs.
I wonder what Cayce Pollard would make of all of this. Her allergies would flair up instantly but as a slight itch instead of a searing rash. And then to paraphrase Gibson even further, it's as if these places are creating negative space in the historical record of cafes.
Photo's lovingly ripped from Broadsheet:
Bar Paradiso: Kristoffer Paulsen
Bar Americano: Harvard Wang
Belle's Diner: Eve Wilson
Patricia: Kristoffer Paulsen