El Ateneo: Grandiose Bookstore in Buenos Aires
It’s no wonder this boosktore in Buenos Aires has the words “Grand Splendid” in its full name. El Ateneo Grand Splendid is a repurposed theater in the city’s Barrio Norte neighborhood. Originally built in 1919 and designed by architects Peró and Torres Armengol, the Teatro Grand Splendid quickly became an institution in the Buenos Aires performance art community, housing a radio station and record label.
In 2000, the building was leased to El Ateneo, the Latin American publishing powerhouse with over 40 bookshops. After it was renovated, it became El Ateneo’s flagship store with over a million people walking through its doors every year.
Although the shop sells the typical mainstream Barnes & Noble fare, it’s certainly a must-see destination for the design and architectural enthusiasts. Much of the theater’s original Beaux Arts fixtures and decor remains intact. Besides, where else can you say that you browsed through a book and sipped on some coffee while sitting on a grand stage?