Art nouveau icon Café Majestic could well be the single most storied address in Porto. Opened in December 1922, it’s as famous for its beauty as for its status as a social hotspot for writers and artists. But on the afternoon of November 30, the Majestic closed indefinitely.
According to the Jornal de Notícias, the closure is due to the impact of 2020, including new rules and restrictions, the rise of teleworking and, above all, the decline in tourism. ‘At this point, it would be generating expense and making a loss. It’s not worth it,’ said manager Fernando Barrias.
Another historic café owned by the Barrias group, the Guarany on Avenida dos Aliados (founded in 1933), also closed on 15 November. Both establishments will reopen when conditions improve, according to Barrias, but there’s no date on the horizon. Several other Porto venues owned by the group have also closed, leaving 150 employees out of work.
Aficionados of history and café culture in search of a ray of hope can look to another iconic interwar establishment. Harry’s Bar in Venice, which announced in May that it would not be reopening due to the events of 2020. A month later, it was serving up its famous bellinis once more. Let’s hope the Majestic follows suit.
In other news, Portuguese is officially one of the world’s sexiest languages.