HOSPITALITY AROUND THE WORLD: Astor


São Paulo, Brazil

“We are still learning and make mistakes all the time, but we keep pushing each other!”

Bar Astor is a lively, refined venue in the streets of São Paulo, Brazil. Co-Founder, Ricardo Garrido, answers a few questions about their business, telling us more about how it all began and what makes them stand out. 

  1. What was the inspiration behind Astor?

“Astor was born from wanting to bring back the bohemian atmosphere of Brazilian bars from the 60’s and 70’s. The experience we offer focuses on putting together classic cocktails and typical bar food in a cool and contemporary shape. 

“Although Astor has a retro concept, it turns out that the bar is also a staple when it comes to setting trends. In the early 00’s, for instance, we were the first place in Brazil to bring a new approach to G&T’s. We’ve also introduced the idea that having a great lunch was not exclusively possible in restaurants.”

  1. How would you describe your experience building the business?

“It has been such an adventure to be an entrepreneur in such a dynamic and competitive market. It’s been a 25-year-long journey, but my partners and I never feel that the bar is fully ready, that it is good enough… 

“Every day, we come up with new ideas to make Astor better. We are still learning and make mistakes all the time, but we keep pushing each other! One of the big challenges is to keep this attitude up, even among a new generation of managers and team leaders. 

“We are also obsessed with details; ‘it’s where the devil lives,’ as we say.”

  1. What makes your venue stand out from the crowd?

“I think Astor is a classic, yet very innovative bar that somehow became a trustworthy local venue and a cool hotspot at the same time. 

“In 2008, we tranformed our basement floor into a new venue, a more craft and speakeasy cocktail bar, named SubAstor. It also works as an innovation lab to Astor and a unique selling point for new audiences.”

  1. Customer satisfaction is obviously vital. How do you ensure that this is at the forefront of your business model?

“We have been fully focused on hospitality from day one, as so much of our everyday work has to do with building and developing the team in order to satisfy our customers’ needs. 

“A bar is mostly a people’s business, working for people’s happiness. That said, it’s very important to respect the brand’s identity – the line can be blurry sometimes.”

  1. What advice would you give bar operators in the UK looking to be successful in the industry?

“Follow your dreams; work towards a meaningful purpose and stick to it every single day to build a passionate team and to connect with customers.”

It is always lovely to hear a venue operator’s stories about their business, and Ricardo clearly got the hang of his. Between a welcoming, passionate team, the retro-inspired design, and their innovative menu, Astor is truly thriving.

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