China Square Bar Escobar Now Under Investigation By Central Narcotics Bureau

With the current popularity of Netflix series Narcos, somebody thought it was great idea to open a Pablo Escobar-themed bar. After all, people would surely turn up and check out a bar named ‘Escobar’ and themed after the late Colombian drug lord. Even Pablo’s last name set up a bar pun very nicely. Profit!!

But owner Stan Sri Ganesh probably didn’t expect his shop to attract the attention of the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB). He also probably didn’t envision himself having to go down to the Police Cantonment Complex for one of those infamous ‘lim kopi’ sessions. To make things worse, Escobar has also been slammed by the Colombian Embassy in Singapore.

Which is why he’s decided to change his logo and dump all items that depict the likeness of Pablo Escobar. He’s also issued an apology via Facebook.

How did a themed bar turn out so dramatic? Let’s see.

Escobar bar slammed for paying tribute to a criminal

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On 2 Feb, just one week after Escobar bar opened, the Colombian embassy sent a note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, claiming the bar was “confus[ing] customers and justify[ing] criminal actions”.

They also reminded us that Pablo Escobar was “the worst criminal in the history of Colombia”, who killed thousands of Colombians with more than 620 terrorist attacks. The man whom Narcos is based on also built an “evil empire of drug smuggling and narcoterrorism”, and that Colombia is simply not what Narcos portrays it as being any more.

Well. That’s perfectly logical, right? No country would like a bar that based itself on an infamous criminal. It would be like if a Mas Selamat-themed restaurant opened South Korea tomorrow. We wouldn’t be too happy either.

CNB gets in on the act

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Then, the CNB chimed in.

According to TODAY, the anti-drug agency took issue with the use of Pablo Escobar’s likeness and name, saying that “the glamorisation of a drug kingpin and associated drug use is irresponsible and insensitive”. Doing so is also apparently contrary to Singapore’s zero drug tolerance approach.

You might think that’s a bit of a stretch, but that’s not all.

CNB also thinks that just because the bar is named Escobar, it might also be a centre of drug activity.

Here’s an actual quote from the CNB spokesperson:

CNB and the Singapore Police Force will be engaging the owner of the bar and will take the necessary action to uphold our strict anti-drug policy. It will also be keeping a very close watch on the bar and its patrons to ensure that no illegal drug activities take place there.

A very close watch indeed.

In addition, bar owner Stan Sri Ganesh confirmed that he would be going down to Police Cantonment Complex “for a chat” on Wednesday, after the police contacted him on Monday (5 Feb). Ouch.

Escobar removes mentions of Escobar

At the meeting, Mr Ganesh spoke with six officers from both CNB and the Singapore Police Force (SPF), and decided to make changes to his bar’s concept.

Escobar also issued an apology on their Facebook page.

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As part of the agreement, Escobar will remove all mentions of Pablo Escobar. This means changing their logo, removing all paraphernalia with his image, and painting over murals. Mr Ganesh expects to have to spend another $10,000 to make these changes, which will take at least one month.

However, he stated that he will not change the bar’s name, as it is a common surname that is still used in Colombia.

Escobar is a controversial name

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Perhaps Mr Ganesh simply wanted to cash in on the popularity of Narcos and Pablo Escobar. Perhaps he just wanted us to have a conversation.

Either way, he just found out what happens when you reference an infamous criminal in your new bar.

Featured image via Instagram