Circo: Bring Your Own Clowns
By: Nanelle Newbom
After living in San Salvador for over a year, my husband and I still have no clue about the nightlife or where to see live music, but there was one place I was really curious about - Circo! A CIRCUS themed bar? Count me in!
Now, if you tell me about a circus themed bar, my mental picture is something so insane as to be borderline offensive. I see tightrope walkers passing over the tables and chefs breathing fire onto food. I see trained bears tending the bathrooms and waitresses with exotic golden masks, delivering food while balancing in pointe shoes.
You named the place Circo …
Well it turns out, there aren´t any trained bears at all. Not one.
I shook off the disappointment quickly and took a seat on a shiny gold couch. The interior of Circo is fun, with leopard-print furniture, colored lights, and the ceiling is draped in cloth, which makes you feel like you’re inside a circus tent. The bar is laid out in several semi-separate areas, designed to accommodate groups of 6-8 people.
There are no televisions in Circo and I appreciate this. Putting on a TV is one way of making adult men comfortable in a crowd, but I’m glad they did not cave to this common demand. If it was my world, I might have projected a loop of Cirque du Soleil shows onto the draped curtains for effect, just to pull a little more Circus into the tent, but that´s just me.
The live music I enjoyed was a conservative rock-and-roll cover band, featuring very competent musicians, playing a mix of Latin and American pop-rock. I accepted the fact that I could talk through their set without loosing track of what I was saying.
Among other things, I enjoyed a properly served Zacapa Centenario with a single cigarette that the extremely professional waitress provided. The service at Circo is excellent. The staff is attentive, yet not over-bearing and will calmly usher lost patrons, swoosh crumbs off the table, provide drink recommendations, light cigarettes and deliver everything with flare.
Trained bears don't do that as well.
All in all, it is a great place to go out and have a good time with friends. It's fun, safe, has excellent service and a good, small menu of food; their miniature hamburgers are one of their specialties. If you love and appreciate the differences between various fine beverages, Circo features tasting events for the various up-scale liquors they serve and a rum tasting is in the works. They regularly schedule ladies nights and live music; it’s a good bet for a pleasant evening out, but bring your own clowns and plenty of cash. This is a classy joint, so dress well.
Directions: At Fuentes Beethoven, go north on 79 Avenida Norte (the road that passes Galaxy Bowling) and take your second right. The bar will be on your right and the parking lot is on your left a little ways before the bar.
Istmania #128, Colonia Escalon, San Salvador
Sample Prices: Chicken satay - $13.00, a little more than the mini-hamburgers
Mixed drinks - around $7.00, bottles of wine - $20.00 to $180.