Late last month, a new bistro bar and restaurant concept by the name of Escobar opened its doors at China Square Central. In case you don’t know by its name already, it’s a bar with a theme that revolves around everything Pablo Escobar, the real-life Colombian drug lord who enjoyed a recent resurgence in popularity thanks to beloved Netflix series Narcos.
But with murals dedicated to The King of Cocaine and a themed menu with offerings such as “Stab in Your Heart burger” and “Don Corleone” pizza, one would wonder if it’s problematic to celebrate a narcoterrorist who was responsible for thousands of deaths and turned Colombia into the murder capital of the world during the height of his power.
So it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that actual Colombians aren’t too happy with the Chinatown bar’s chosen aesthetics. Yahoo News reported that Colombia’s embassy in Singapore sent an official note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that basically condemned Escobar (the bar) for paying tribute to “the worst criminal in the history of Colombia”.
The embassy’s letter — dated Feb 2 — stated that the Colombian community here felt “indignation towards the case”, and that idolizing the violent drug kingpin undermines the work that successive Colombian governments have been doing.
The letter seen by Yahoo also went on to list the savage crimes perpetrated by Escobar (the man), which included ordering the death of around 20,000 people such as cops, politicians, and civilians. The embassy also took issue with the bar modeling itself after the false reality of Narcos, because “Colombia is not what ‘Narcos-Netflix’ portrays anymore”.
The embassy concluded the note with the hope that the Singapore government would help to ensure that the owner of Escobar (the bar) take “necessary actions to reverse this harmful image”.
Chinatown’s Escobar is hardly the first F&B establishment with the idea though. There’s an Escobar Bar & Grill in Kuching, Malaysia; there’s Rum Bar Escobar in Bulgaria; and there’s another Escobar in Aspen, Colorado. The Escobar here hasn’t issued any response to the Colombian Embassy in Singapore’s complaint so far, but we’ll update this story once we hear anything.