Spaces like Werhaus are hard to pull off. Either it’s London or Paris and someone like Stella Mccartney acquires an enormous space to put next to nothing in (the less there is the more expensive it is). Or it’s the Berlin or Bucharest of a decade ago and rent is a novel concept. Both mean that the pressure is off and things get more conceptual.
I am not sure how the people at Werhaus pulled it off, even if they are on the less commercial part of C/ Arago next to the old people’s home. The space is enormous. You enter through a wide hallway that serves as a gallery space. Past a table of obscure magazines, books and zines on the right and a large windowed kitchen on the left. Into a sky lit space that has made use of an indoor plant architect. Then up the stairs is a menswear concept store, clothing and shoes displayed with geometric precision.
And there’s food. Which is why I am on about it. An extended brunch menu from 10 to 16. I have an avocado on toast with cherry tomatoes and a zig zag of a balsamic reduction or possibly shop bought stuff. (Zig zags of any kind but especially balsamic belong to the sun-dried tomato era) There is a generous whole cheek of mango as an accompaniment. Not bad for €6.30.
Coffee (€2.2) comes from SlowMov which is one of the roasters I am not yet familiar with but they seem to do more than just roast coffee, they are also a collective of people with a unified philosophy, not unlike the Italian conceived SlowFood movement but applied to general products. When I ask after the coffee, the friendly waitress brings me a laminated information sheet about the provenance of the beans.
A few tables away, there are a couple of women. One is wearing a baby doll dress that grazes the crease where her behind meets her leg, thick stockings and flat Mary Jane’s – it’s that kind of place. The kind where men keep their wollen hat on. Where the music too loud (for some – for me) but well curated and coming out of a complex looking contraption – no low tech iPod docking station here.
The food appears to be passable but it is part of a concept, a small part, probably not the most important part. The space is worth a visit though – this much space on this end of town is the novel part you have to see to believe.
Carrer d’Aragó, 287