It was 1992. “La Base” opens in Rome.
The little revolutions made by us in the Italian capital city were two. First: giving the possibility to dine in a restaurant with a pub/lounge-bar atmosphere, with great music, friendly service and affordable prices. Second: deciding to stay open all night; at the time restaurants closed at 11 pm and by midnight it was tough to even find a cafe’ where to grab a sandwich, by 2 am at the latest even pubs would close down… streets of Rome were empty. You only had two choices to eat something, the typical late night spaghetti at someone’s place or knocking on the back doors of bakeries which at that time would be making croissants. The need to to find a place where to eat at night gave us the idea to keep our kitchen open until 5 in the morning. Carbonara at 4:30 am? Pizza or a steak at 5:00? At the time, it sounded like a crazy idea to everyone. Authorities wouldn’t even peek in for how surreal it was that a restaurant would stay open that late, no law allowed such an extended time. We were real outlaws!!!
At the beginning, for the first few weeks after 11 pm, there were only two of us working and we spent the night reading magazines and watering plants hoping for someone to come in…but not even a hint of customers. Since we didn’t have the means to invest on publicity to advertize our restaurant we used wits efficiently and traded with PRs…pizza and beer free for publicity on the back of night-clubs’ invitations or cards; costless, rumors start spreading that there’s a place in town where the kitchen is open until dawn. The first clients who paid us back for our tenacious and tiring wait stepped in at 2:30 am after a night spent at Gilda’s (one of the trendiest night clubs in Rome). They asked, with an incredulous look, if rumors were true that they could get something eat that late at night…we couldn’t believe it!!! In the days following that first night, little cliques made up of DJs, club dancers, club owners and others of the biz, or people who got out of theaters or clubs started coming in. And the the big change: VIPs and famous people who attract paparazzi and make news. We used to trade to get some publicity and now we were advertised for free. That’s the beginning of the big hit of “La Base” on the scene. Yes, it was all true, the restaurant was really open 7 days a week till 5 am. The news spread like a positive infection around the city of Rome and our fame grew exponentially.
Our crazy dream comes true. But it was not just a 9-day wonder..15 years later “la Base” is still alive and more kicking than ever! Since our first arranged setting and decorations made of beer logos, painted plastic chairs, and some paintings on expanded polyester we have evolved in time trying to always improve.
And now, after our recent re-modeling, we are “proud” that many (including the press and VIPs) define us as a “legend”….NOW YOU ARE OVER-DOING IT!!!