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How the actual owners met. Where they come from, how did they associate and what influences they had to convert Café Garito into Garito Café...

How the actual owners met. Where they come from, how did they associate and what influences they had to convert Café Garito into Garito Café.

 

Between drinks and good music, life takes you to unexpected places and situations. Nacho Velasco studies in Madrid and lives the capital’s night and parties from up close. Later, he would get a feeling and open a small disc distribution company in Pamplona, but in the mid eighties, he would choose Mallorca to spend every other weekend. He visits his brother Carlos in Palma, who is one of the Moncloa bar partners, in Gomila Plaza. This was a music-pub concept, which had its best moments between 1985 and 1992. “Miguel Barcelo and his gang were the first to walk through the doors of the recently inaugurated eighty’s style place. Meanwhile, we were still giving the walls its finishing paint jobs. “After a bath and a little gel to make my hair go up, we returned to the recently inaugurated Moncloa Bar… It was full! I went into the cabin to play some discs and I felt as if in a dream. I will not forget the expectation that grew within the island’s advanced.” The best rock and pop of the moment is played in this place and this means Talking Heads, The Cure, The Smiths and even the first album of Simply Red. But there are also some bizarre nights with Camaron or the Gipsy Kings.

 

In the year of 1987, Gilles Peterson would start collections soul-jazz-funk songs from the sixties and would give them a new style with some Acid Jazz tunes. Nacho perceives that something is changing and while on a trip to London, he would discover the magic of dark music in a community in Candem. Enrique Lopez Viejo, who is also a Moncloa partner, owns an excellent 70’s vinyl collection, which also starts to be heard in the establishment. The Philadelphia sound and Detroit’s soul slowly start sharing disc players with eighties hypes. Phychodelic Furs, Lou Reed, Violent Femmes or Happy Mondays are alternated with The Commodores, Roy Ayers, Maceo Parker or James Brown. “I did not know what mixing was or at least how it is understood today”. The first recompilations from Ninja Tune, Acid Jazz or Talkin’ Loud are vanguard and in 92, a disc that will be crucial for the evolution of the scene is already heard in Moncloa: Blue Lines by Massive Attack.

 

And it is precisely on the year of 1992, when a huge step is taken. Toni Perez, Cesar Garmon, Carlos and Nacho Velasco open the Bellmon discotheque, in the Mediterranean Plaza and give way to those new sounds. The idea and the concept were simple: an establishment that had variety, a type of bar and club. This was the next step on the evolution staircase in Moncloa. Live jazz and bossa acts are scheduled, but the people were only looking for one thing: to dance, move their skeleton and the more the merrier. Some hits of the moment are played here: Snap, C+C Music Factory, Robin S, Deee-Lite… Nacho invites DJ Fernando Cervino to share the cabin. The Catalan DJ, had gained popularity at the Otto Zutz discotheque in Barcelona. He would gather some very profound knowledge of the dark music, plus the new contributions from Chicago’s underground house and Detroit’s techno. In other words, acid house had died and garage and deep house were now gaining popularity…everything was very elegant. Cervino, as Bellmon’s musical ideologist, begins to become even more popular and quickly becomes an authentic star. Nacho would also let him get poisoned by the new music and begins to fill his bag with imported house vinyl. The brothers would leave the Bellmon club in 1994, with Cervino at his highest creative level yet. ‘

 

1994 would be yet another step in the evolution history of the Vellasco brothers. Cervino and Carlos would start La Boite, in the Maritim Passeig, which is an establishment that is filled on Friday’s and Saturday’s with a German-American house rhythm and English underground dance music and some techno. This was another moment of splendor and hedonism that would last until 1997 and has been the best period of time for quality dance music on the island for a long time. “The entire club was dancing excitingly, including the furniture, which would also move (or was it me?). Anyways, the music was great! Those who were there must remember those magic night.” Nacho would continue on a very similar path and in the year of 1995, he would leave Moncloa definitely and with his partner Eva, they take charge of XL, an old bar located below the Cuarentena Park. This small establishment would last until 1998. “We went to our gang. I gave freeway to my musical fantasies: house, drum n’bass, trip-hop”. Propellerheads, Ballistic Brothers, A Man Called Adam, Masters at Work or Alex Reece would sound in the place. Nacho invites palmanesian DJ Pepe Link to play some of his discs. During that time, Pepe would leave behind his experimental techno and declares himself a fan of vocal house, very black. “I would tell him to stop screwing the blacks to the dance floor, but he would keep on torturing them”. The collaboration between XL and La Boite is direct and Nacho starts frequenting his brother’s discotheque to have fun and to let him get contaminated with the new generation house fever. Eva: “I was an exceptional fan of La Boite. We would stop mixing at XL and we had to go there, it was guaranteed fun. Those were such special nights!”

 

There would be an interesting road crossing in XL, as Uvete, an old and inseparable friend of Nacho from Valladolid in the 80’s, would appear in the scene. “We met in La Candelaria and we would then become partners selling imported albums in the local bars. While I was talking to the bosses, Nacho would open the bag for the DJ and would show him at least half a dozen vinyl albums in front!” Uvete starts to work with Eva and Nacho at XL and would later join the Boite’s team.

 

During the 1997 Christmas holiday, Carlos Velasco would tell his brother that Jose Luis Juan wants to sell Garito. A little later, Nacho would meet with Ca’n Barbara café owner to see what is going on. It was a 1200 pts meal at Opera restaurant, which would help negotiations to advance positively. XL would close in Spring Break 1998 and on March of that same year, the transaction takes place. Nacho and Eva now have the keys. The new owners have a clear idea on how they want to start this new stage: “respect the essence of the establishment and do not modify the structure or steal its personality”.

 

Around that same time, Fernando and Carlos plan to open a new place to continue with their La Boite adventures. A club that will be named Chez Maria Dolores, but it would finally remain only as an idea, a concept which was a good opportunity, but never taken advantage of. It was then that they would join the Garito project, adding even more to the recently acquired café. There is lots of work to be done before opening: lightning has to be improved, adding good sound and giving it a new decoration. Carlos and an interior decorator friend of his, Juan Chito, take on the task of making the place beautiful, while Nacho takes on the commercial part of the business. There is a lot of pressure to open, as the ambient and eco of XL and La Boite should not be lost and forgotten. The good vibes are there, we only need to give keep them on. “There was nervousness, a tense moment every now and then, but a lot of hope. We should avoid a very long parenthesis.”

 

David “Bibi” Robles would work on the logo and the first flyer, which was created on a thick cardboard. The new reforms were made between March and June and it was on the second Thursday of June 1998, when Garito Café would finally be born. A new era begins: “I betted on the music that I liked, although it was a style that had not been consolidated on the island, which was a little dull for some. At first, people would not say anything, they did not understand anything. But they started to do so, a small step at a time. It was not until 2000, when we started to fly”.

 

Tagliata de Ternera

Tagliata de Ternera

Juicy sliced beef served on a bed of arugula, cherry tomatoes, parmesan and balsamic dressing

Daiquiri

Daiquiri

Old Rum, brown sugar, crushed ice and the chosen fruit (Pep Lemon, passion fruit, watermelon, tangerine or strawberry)

YELLOWFIN TUNA TATAKI

YELLOWFIN TUNA TATAKI

With Miso vinaigrette, honey and ginger and cucumber salad, scallions, wakame seaweed and gomasio

SALMON "TIRADITO"

SALMON "TIRADITO"

Sashimi style, with a sweet vinaigrette, mango, avocado, tomato, ginger and coriander

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