Monday, April 24, 2006

Ricardo's, an End of an Era

It is hard to even say, or to comprehend. Ricardo's Bar in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua has closed. Someone else bought it; it is going to be a Sushi bar and a dive shop. Although I adore sushi, the thought of this practically hallowed place closed is not possible. I hate change.

Ricardo's was a thatched roofed beach side bar and restaurant in San Juan del Sur. They were the pioneers. There before anyone else, there before the true flood of gringos and the money started coming in. For these first pioneering gringos, Ricardo's was Little North America or Little Europe. Ricardo's was a true international crossroad for artists, divas, drinkers and travelers. English spoken here (with US and Candadian accents)...and German and Spanish too. Everyone who has ever came to San Juan del Sur has set foot in Ricardo's, even if they didn't drink. The restaurant was a joy; great hamburgers, lasagna, or wonderful seafood spaghetti. Thankfully on my last trip to San Juan del Sur, I had some of Marie's fabulous Espaghetti Mariscos with fresh fish, clams, lobster and shrimp.... all for $6.

Rich and poor, Gringo and Nica, it mattered not on movie nights when a big sheet would be hung across the back of the building, and the latest (sort of) DVD would be shown for free. Ricardo's even functioned as a library, they had a book exchange scheme, swap 1 for 2 or 1 for 1+US$2 was the deal. They would arrange tours and make sure you had plenty to do while you were in San Juan del Sur. For many, it was a touch of "home".

But Marie and Ricardo have moved on, Marie back to Austria for a while and Ricardo building houses is just not the way things are supposed to be. Ricardo's Bar and Grill closed its doors officially on April 22. According to Cesar " was an incredible send off for everyone. It was more fun than sad. There was a US $10 entrance fee and you get a tee shirt with that. The T-shirt sale proceeds go to the construction of a vetinary clinic. The drinks and food were included in the price, but it was invitation only. They auctioned a lot of the pictures and memorabilia from the walls and ceilings. The proceeds from the auction went to the newly formed fire department of SJdS." You can see some pictures at Cesar's gallery: "Last Night At Ricardo's"

Corny to say, but thanks for the memories...and all the Nica Libres... Marie and Richard!

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