The Gatsby Cafè was a former hat shop, open, when selling just hats made sense and a respectful outfit was considered incomplete without a hat.
It is under the arcades of a beautiful nineteen century square of Rome, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, not far from the central train station Termini.
Once home to upper-class families, it used to host beautiful shops frequented by elegantly dressed ladies.
The area is not as glamorous as it used to be, because in the Seventies there was a progressive decline due to the closeness to the train station and the inability of the council to preserve it. Now Piazza Vittorio is slowly but steadily improving thanks to young professionals and families moving there, attracted by the central location, the size of the houses and the prices of the properties.
With the desire to contribute to the renewal of old splendour to this square, 5 friends decided to open a trendy bar in what used to be the hat shop Galleria Venturini.
The result is the Gatsby Caffè, a successful bet.
Guided by two set designer friends, the owners kept most of the original features like the terrazzo floor on the last floor, the brass hardware, the glass showcases; then they added color (the blue being predominant), “Mad Men” inspired wall papers, vintage seats and historical objects like the old theatre posters. Young staff and happy customers did the rest.
Photos courtesy of Susana Porteiro.