By Ivone Juárez / La Paz


It is part of an idea to revalue the historical center of La Paz, a “sexy and photogenic” city for investors. It becomes a reality in the Patiño house, built in the late 1800s. Baristas transport the world of coffee and chefs to the genes of La Paz gastronomy.

The house Patiño, European style, built at the end of 1800 a few blocks from the Plaza Murillo, is more than 100 years old and the business group Hierro Brothers wants the coffee he installed in the place, the Bronze cofee, to stay also other 100. Investors are convinced that the site has the necessary conditions to promote the new line of business that they propose: revalue the historical center of La Paz and invest in it.

“La Paz, with all its controversies, its scandal and its topography is sexy, eclectic, if it is not beautiful, it is photogenic, and no other city in Latin America or the world gives you all that: eclecticity, contemporaneity, topography and now gastronomy”, says Boris Alarcón, representative of Hierro Brothers.

To understand Alarcón’s proposal you have to visit the Bronze coffee, which is on the ground floor of the Patiño house, now a reconstructed five-story building. The house is located in front of Belzu square, at the end of Comercio y Bueno street, a few blocks from Plaza Murillo.

Hierro Brothers rebuilt the building and kept it intact on the outside and inside: its huge French-style industrial windows, the high doors made of Oregon pine, brought to the country from Canada, the stone and brick walls and the high roof, crossed by bigas solid, from which hang enormous chandeliers. But to decorate it opted for urban archeology, which raises reuse objects to give them a new functionality. The trend is worldwide.

“The cafes or restaurants in old structures are the most beautiful, that is seen in New York and the largest capitals in the world, where museums, old bookstores or buildings conceived more than 100 years ago have become spaces for recreation, “says Boris Alarcón.

The first sample of this urban archeology in Bronze coffee are some backs of bronze cots that adorn the stairs and rails of the place. They were purchased in antique shops, bought from private individuals and even at the Fair on July 16 in El Alto.

Another detail is seen in the tables of the place, whose base are the feet of old sewing machines. The chairs correspond to the 20s and 30s of the last century, imported from Europe.

Upon entry, a high glass shelf exhibits a large number of books and typewriters. These are invaluable collections of Cervantes, Shakespeare, Goethe, Schiller, Dante and others. The stone walls show some black and white photos of indigenous Bolivians. Other details are added: antique pouches, sewing machines and some bronze elements.


Coffee techniques

In Bronze coffee the experience of admiring a house built more than 100 years ago, beautifully rebuilt and its decorative objects must be accompanied with a coffee rate, the specialty of the place. Danko Velarde, one of the baristas, assures that they have all the international techniques to prepare the drink. “We guide our clients and give them the experience of enjoying coffee from its preparation.” He begins preparing a Vietnamese-style coffee (a mixture of red and condensed milk) and tells that it was invented at a time when that in Vietnam there was a shortage of toasting.

At night the building is lit by a system of lights and inside you can enjoy cocktails made with red, of Bolivian origin.

But in Bronze coffee you can also enjoy an interesting menu of sandwiches and dishes that rescue the traditional flavors of La Paz.

The chef Yasser Ríos presents the Traces of the lake plate, served with chuño bathed in cheese and an emulsion of honey sauce decorated with k’oa (andean mint), accompanied with ispis (crispy fish) and small tomatoes “. “Our gourmet bistro kitchen offers the combination of traditional Patagonian ingredients with a modern and innovative touch that are part of the sensorial proposal,” says Boris Alarcón.This January 24, at 12:00, the Bronze coffee, which is part of the Altu Qala Design Hotel, will officially open.


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