Book lovers and theatergoers alike, consider planning your next vacation to Argentina to check out this spectacular, one-of-a-kind bookstore built within the old Grand Splendid Theater in Buenos Aires. Located in the neighborhood of Recoleta, the structure originally opened as a theater in May 1919 with all kinds of performances gracing the stage, and then served as a cinema during the late 1920’s. In 2000, Grupo Ilhsa converted the space into the El Ateneo Grand Splendid bookstore, which now serves as the group’s flagship store with over one million visitors each year.
Much of the original interior remains intact, including the balconies, ceiling frescoes, sculptures, ornate carvings, and the thick burgundy stage curtains. Theater boxes serve as cozy reading nooks and lifelong acting dreams can be surreptitiously fulfilled as you step onto what was once the main stage to visit the café.
The bookstore is appealing for both the classic 1920’s theater feel and elaborate décor, as well as the copious amount of books that shoppers can peruse. In keeping with the initial inception as a performance arena, a pianist plays live music onstage in the afternoons. What a fantastic way to spend a day, flipping through pages and enjoying the awesome acoustics in the same place where famous tango artists once took the stage.