Caracas Arepa Bar

photo by Voice Media Group

Caracas Arepa Bar co-founders Maribel Araujo and Aristides “Gato” Barrios met at an arepa bar in Venezuela, and it wasn’t long before they nursed a fantasy of working in a little warm shack making arepas by hand and squeezing fresh juices. And so they opened their tiny East Village bar, where colorful Venezuelan trinkets decorate the walls, Latin music plays, and the flow of conversation seems never-ending. The spot trades on its corn-flour arepas, which are made in-house daily and stuffed with fried plantains, guayanés cheese, or roasted pork shoulder. This original outpost has spawned a mini-chain, but the downtown location is still a place where the partners can watch people pass by, sip a cup of coffee outside, talk to their neighbors, and, most important, feel like a part of a community. It’s a fantasy come true.