Alquímico forced to close by Cartagena mayor’s office

30 January, 2024

Alquímico, in Cartagena, Colombia, has been forced to close following accusations of non-compliance with fire regulations from the District Mayor’s Office, the bar denies any wrongdoing.

The bar which is currently ranked number nine in The World’s 50 Best Bars, has released a series of statements made to its Instagram and directed towards the mayor of Cartagena, Dumek Turbay, and the administration of the District Mayor’s Office of Cartagena.

Each of the three statements have been signed “The 80 families of Alquímico” with the first outlining the details of the forced closure: “Officials of the [District Mayor’s Office] closed us at 9pm for allegedly not respecting the rules of the [fire brigade]… the bar was full and they removed all the customers… if the [mayor’s office] and its entities continue working this way, we will leave Cartagena to be able to work in an honest way and contribute to Colombia.”

In a follow-up statement directed towards Turbay, a spokesperson said: “It hurts to see how the city of Cartagena works… We hoped that Cartagena was going to change when your work started on January 2 2024 and sadly… hope is disappearing every day. We will keep trying everything because we believe that it is possible to work legally in Cartagena.”

In the latest statement the bar reiterated it’s desire to comply with the administration and also published a certificate, signed by director of the Cartagena fire brigade Luis Ernesto Sierra Fontecha, to indicate that Alquímico has passed inspection with the district fire brigade.

According to a bar spokesperson speaking to Drinks International, the permit is valid until September 2024.

Alquímico remains closed while waiting for another visit from the district fire brigade. A spokesperson for the bar told Drinks International, “[We have been told] the visit from the firefighters will take place on Friday 2 February, that would be a total of eight days closed which heavily impacts the 80 families that depend on our work. We hope that they really do visit on Friday so that this process will not be extended any longer.”

The mayor of Cartagena, Turbay took to office at the beginning of January after winning an election last October in which he accused his predecessor and political rival William Dau of corruption.

On assuming the position Turbay refused to enter the office of the mayor until it was purified by the Catholic Church, telling local press: “There's no way [I’m] going to get into that office, where the devil was. I ask the Catholic church, and I mean it, to do an exorcism.”

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