New bar in Singapore themed after Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar

Nurul Azliah
Senior Lifestyle Reporter
Newly-opened Escobar at China Square Central. (Photo: Nurul Azliah/Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

If you’re familiar with the Colombian drug trade in the ‘70s and ‘80s, or have watched the first two seasons of the series “Narcos” on Netflix, then the name Pablo Escobar needs no introduction.

Now, if fans would like a new hangout place themed after the leader of the Medellin drug cartel, you can do so at the newly-opened Escobar, located at 20 Cross Street in China Square Central.

Spanning 2,300 square feet, the new after-work go-to bar offers food and alcoholic beverages named after well-known vices and criminals popularised by pop culture.

For example, there’s the Don Corleone (“The Godfather”) pizza, which tastes like the classic margherita, or a bowl of Narcos Chips, which consists of corn chips, barbacoa beef, chopped onions, chilli con queso and grated cheddar.

The walls are adorned with artwork depicting the late Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. (Photo: Nurul Azliah/Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

Other signature dishes to try include the Stab in Your Heart burger, the Medellin steak and Mary Jane Pizza. When Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore visited the grand opening on Friday (26 Jan), we thoroughly enjoyed the pizzas, which came with a soft and fluffy bread base that tasted almost like naan.

For the unacquainted, Narcos is a popular show starring Chilean-American actor Pedro Pascal as a Drug Enforcement Administration agent tasked to hunt down Pablo Escobar, played by Brazilian actor Wagner Moura.

Ever since the show’s release in August 2015, it has received rave reviews from the public – including trusted movie reviews site Rotten Tomatoes – and attracted a strong following.

But besides munching on delicious food themed after on-screen criminals and sipping on Coronas or ales by Singapore’s Crossroads Brewing Company, the walls of Escobar are also adorned with paintings of the Colombian drug lord.

Escobar welcomed first customers during its grand opening on Friday (26 Jan). (Photo: Nurul Azliah/Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

However, the theme might have upset some people who thought that the bar’s intention was to glamourise the “King of Cocaine”, whose drug network is also responsible for massacres and murders of police officers and politician Rodrigo Lara Bonilla.

Comments have been posted on the bar’s Facebook page expressing this concern.

“It’s outrageous that you used the image of a person that caused so much death and pain for my country,” said one Aixa Mercedes.

Another commenter by the name of Laura Ortiz Diaz, said, “You need to stop glorifying criminals and perpetuating stereotypes while an entire country fights every day to heal the wounds from a bloody past.”

However, when Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore reached out to Escobar for comments, it seems like the intent of the owner was to merely ride on the success of the show, which has turned Pablo Escobar into a pop culture character.

The food menu at Escobar. (Photo: Nurul Azliah/Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

“We were quite surprised by some of the comments as we’re not the first establishment with this name,” said owner Stan Sri Ganesh, 36. Eateries of the same name can also be found overseas in places such as Toronto, Canada, and Amsterdam, Netherlands.

“You won’t find comments about their name on their social media pages,” he added. “We’re not glorifying and condoning Pablo Escobar’s crimes. Our intent is to create buzz and interest tied to a popular culture reference.”

Stan has explored other alternatives before deciding on the current theme. His other reason for his decision stems from the need to compete with other bars in the location.

“We have a lot of competition in this vicinity so we had to come up with a concept that was eye-catching. Thus, we decided to play with the word ‘bar’ in Escobar and build our theme around that,” he said. “Our ultimate goal is to have a fun and relaxed atmosphere where people can eat heartily and drink quality alcoholic beverages without breaking the bank.”

Charging $8 for a beer and $25 for a plate of flank steak, the bar does indeed offer food and drinks that are reasonably priced.

The drinks menu at Escobar. (Photo: Nurul Azliah/Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

Related stories:

Pablo Escobar’s Ex-Girlfriend Accuses Netflix Series Producers of Stealing Her Story in Lawsuit
‘Narcos’: Matt Letscher Joins Netflix Drama As Series Regular For Season 4
New series of Narcos moves to Mexico

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