There are all kinds of social spots, hundreds of cafes and thousands of pubs and bars all over the world. Hired servers and bartenders who can make a good drink in exchange for, usually, a pricey payment. This type of experience is easy to find anywhere and, generally, the experience ends there. However, in my travels to Europe, I found a very special place in one of the most unexpected corners of the world. Where the experience of food and drinks doesn’t just end here but goes above and beyond anything I have ever seen (and I live in California where I like to think, I’ve seen it all).
In my travels to Europe, I went to many metropolitan destination locations – London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich, Prague and several others. After numerous weeks of the big city life, I found myself craving for some greener scenery.
what better place to find the sweetness of the simple life than in Italy.
So after Barcelona, I took the train and landed myself in the heart of Tuscany. I came across Quasi Quasi social cafe while driving down the main street of the town and was attracted to the modern youthful appearance. So after a long day, I decided to go in and grab a few beers to unwind and document my travels. The bartender, Lorenzo Perferi, took my order and upon realizing my American accent he asked where I was from and what I was doing in such a small town. After telling him my background story he was kind enough to introduce to me some of his friends. This is the night that changed my life.
While Quasi Quasi only opened in the recent year of 2012, the young group of people who work here also run a sister pub, Beta Bar, in the towns’ public park which has been open since 2007.
Placed on the center street in Terranuova, Q.Q. is a place where anyone who enjoys good music and affordable food can come hang out in a modern-vintage cafe decorated with the works of local artists hanging on the wall, shelves of books and games, comfy chairs and rugs, giving the place a cozy warm feeling for the winter seasons. It is a social cafe where people come together to meet for a few drinks, nice meals and good times.
As a winter cafe, people come in to escape the cold frosty weather that hits Italy between October and February. The townspeople enter this warm place where art, books, music, large wood tables and chairs create an atmosphere of liveliness and comfort.
While the weekends are filled with lots of people, loud music, and alcoholic beverages, the weekdays are calm and comfortable with feel good tunes and hot meals or sweet snacks to munch on. Thursday nights the cafe hosts DJs who play vinyl records and choose new fun music for people to jam to. Along with delicious beers and cocktails, the cafe serves vegan and vegetarian dishes with all foods grown organically from the local area. The menu consists of panini, burgers, and salads and for dessert, they have an assortment of cakes, cookies, and other yummy pastries that send you back to the counter to order a second helping.
The sister pub across town, Beta Bar, is the pub of the summer.
People come to Beta Bar to hang out in the fresh night air and enjoy a cool beverage. This outdoor bar, in the center of the community park, is where kids play football, young people grab a cool cocktail and the elderly sit on the bench together exchanging gossip, old stories and good times. Because the Italian summers are so hot this is the best place to be on Friday or Saturday night with the best vinyl DJs in the area and international live bands that come to play every weekend.
Aside from working behind the bar, the staff members give back to their community by hosting and participating in community activities and projects. Throughout the year they host clothing swaps, local artist exhibitions, food, beer, wine courses. Preparation, production, and education are offered as well as Go Green lectures where they discuss living green and vegetarian lifestyles. In addition, they host ‘BB Bambini’ in the summer season where the local children participate in gardening and art projects, as well as, story telling and fun games, while at night they have their own DJ and dance floor where they can bust a groove.
These sister pubs are managed by a collaborative group of people, with a crew of about ten members working together to create a special place for their community. They make the Quasi Quasi and Beta Bar, a social site and through their hard work and innovative strategies the create a higher quality of life for themselves and those in their community.
Lorenzo Perferi, a bartender, as well as the manager of music and entertainment, says, “I think the most important thing in life is to “meet”. To meet people, interests, to find someone or something that allows you to change or increase your personal way. The only way that we can to do this is to create places that will help people participate in a meeting.” He is in charge of finding musicians and performers to come share a night of fun and lively music. He says, “When I choose an artist or DJ, I research something that is unexpected for them.”
“For me, it is a way to give life something more.”
The A Few of the Crew
Not only a bartender, Perferi is also a DJ; so when he’s not pouring drinks he is spinning vinyl records. In addition to bartending and running music portion of Beta Bar and Quasi Quasi, for a few weeks during the summer he teaches children the basic skills of DJing, as well as working in a collaborative DJ project “From the Bounce” where he and a fellow vinyl DJ artist, Gianmarco Bonci, collaborate together to create a podcast every Wednesday night in their private studio in the center of Montevarchi.
Other things you can expect to see here are the amazing visual projections of Francesco Taddeucci. A brilliant visual designer creating amazing prints for the Bar and Cafe’s products. He not only performs at the cafe but all over the Florence and Arezzo area. Participating in clubs, festivals, and private parties; he sets the stage for a trippy visual experience with his geometric and colorful compositions projected from his computer to large white screens or walls.
For the themed parties such as 80’s, 90′ and early 2000s nights, Marco Bronzi “Bro” is the desired DJ. Being a dance machine myself I am always excited when he’s performing because of his stylish taste in music mix-ups.
Ricca Betti another amazing artist! Whatever this man touches, he can do it perfectly. Along with vinyl DJing, he is a brilliant finger drummer using a button board bringing sounds of techno and some dubstep styles together. An all around genius in any instrument he is a performer I enjoy watching. Click here to check out his youtube videos of finger drumming.
Another regular performer of QQ and BB is Gianmarco Bonci, well-known in Italy for his families company of delicious Panbriacone, he is also a vinyl DJ and music researcher. Constantly listening to new music or bringing back the old school jams, he creates the perfect atmosphere for a great party or a chill night out. Performing at Quasi Quasi every week and several nights at Beta Bar he is an incredible artist in more ways than one.
The other amazing staff members of Quasi Quasi and Beta Bar:
Gianluca D’Amore “Cianfu”
Giulia Fiamma Baldi
This association of people is unique in every way; they not only make drinks and food, but they create an environment for people to come to and truly enjoy life together. Not only are they a tight-knit group of co-workers and friends, they also know each of their customers personally.
This crew consists of the most driven and artistic people I have come across.
Not because of the size of the town or the interested in good customer service to pump up business. They genuinely reach out their hand to anyone who walks into their lives and offer a small part of themselves to those who need it.
It is here that I have found my true family.
As a lost wanderer in an unknown land, these amazing people pulled me out of my travels and gave me a home. They are an extraordinary band of characters that go above and beyond what the standard does, and if you are ever in the area I encourage everyone to go check out this singular place. It may change your life… as it has changed mine.