It’s been 123 weeks. Petersburg has been washed with a few medium-long rains and hit the sunny side. White nights are deceptive: they call you out for a walk, but you give up quickly and dive into semi-dark bars with ease and then it’s hard to get out of them. In El Copitas, it’s dark and they only take cash. If not for this, I would have stayed in the city for one week longer, so it would be 124 weeks.
El Copitas greets you with tequila and sangrita, which needs to be bottomed up with the eyes closed, representing the kiss of the lover. On Thursday, at the beginning of the shift, the bar is empty, they show me to the main table and they don’t leave me all by myself for longer than 5 minutes. The conversation starts simply, and now we are discussing a movie about artificial intelligence, next to me there is a couple with age difference who asks bartender to judge their relationship. The table is large, it’s made out of concrete, there’s a crack in the middle of it, like in a stone desert, cacti sticking out of it, guarded with painted bunnies.
Bartenders come back to me again, they refill my glass with water, tell me about cocktails (there are only 4 of them this week, every week they have new ones), they tell me about mescal, after they find out that I’m from Minsk they send greetings to El Pushka. When I make my order we start talking about something else, supposedly about Portugal.
I can’t explain it, but the bars in St. Petersburg, I mean good St. Petersburg’s bars, have some higher knowledge of ‘trashiness’. And if they dictate their rules, like they do in here, then be prepared for the Stockholm syndrome. I’m not one of those who is tempted by closed doors, I like hanging out in the city and looking inside wide-open doors, sit at the bar counters and start off-the-wall conversations. With El Copitas, it is different. Without making a call ahead of your visit, you can’t get in here. Here they have no bar counter. They will show you the seat they like. There are only 4 cocktails to choose from. Taco has a bitter taste of bad avocado (but without it, taco is extremely delicious). So many seemingly annoying factors, but no. That’s nothing.
You are met in person, then they show you to your seat, as if they are taking you to their own kitchen, drinks are served right away, and the conversations have no end. Cocktails are perfectly balanced, they have familiar tastes, you don’t even notice how you become tipsy. Sorrel Margarita has opened up to me with a new unfamiliar delight. We laugh a lot and agree that I will come tomorrow. They saw me off to the gate, gave me gifts: postcards, stickers and a glass of spicy cocoa drink with alcohol, so that the white nights wouldn’t dazzle the eyes so brightly.
I don’t know what merits and criteria signifies the best bars, but I know that these bars are always made by people. Probably, I will deliberately go to El Copitas all by myself to count on such kind of attention. I dropped by only once, and they already treat me like an old friend. I think this is a deceptive impression, but also a seductive illusion. But this is what we’re looking for, when we go to a nearby bar to drink the ill-fated something and remember how cool it was when a friend was sitting next to you by your left shoulder.
Sometimes it takes no time to feel like home in an absolutely unknown land. The main guidelines are already known: El Copitas Bar, Venuez Bar Show 2017 presentation, Polugar & La Escondida Guest-Shift… They call it “Dreams come true” See you soon…
Kolokolnaya St. 2, St. Petersburg
Phone: +7 941-71-68 (reservations only)
Thu 7:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.
Fri-Sat 7:00 p.m. – 4:00 a.m.
cover photo – facebook.com/elcopitasbar
youtube channel – ElCopitas TV