Foreign Religions Make Hip Decorations

September 16, 2010 By: erik Category: Musings, Photos, Religion, Spain 340 views

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Buddhist Bar Decorations (crop)Two new bars have opened up in town in the past year with the word Buddha in their name. One is an elaborately overdecorated tribute to British colonialism, with one section dedicated to Africa, complete with a life-sized plaster rhinoceros, and another section all about the Indian subcontinent. Despite the fact that it reeks of someone trying too hard to make their design point, I like it. Plus, they’re the only place in town with Grimbergen on tap.

The other is centered around the Buddhist religion, with statues and paintings of Buddha everywhere, with other art that verges towards Hinduism. They’ve really nailed the foreign feeling. It’s tasteful, yet exotic.

However, I really must think that, to someone from a Buddhist culture, something about using their religion to spice up a Spanish bar must be at least a little offensive. Of course I don’t know for certain.

Buddhist Bar Decorations

Eightfold path or twelve-step program?

Buddhist Bar Decorations

Do you think that somewhere in China or Japan, they have a bar or restaurant called “Jesus Christ” full of crucifixes, stained glass imagery of saints, and a little nativity scene on a shelf? Would that be offensive to a religious Westerner? Perhaps not.

  • Grimbergen? Please elaborate. (The beer part is frankly all I care about.)

    • Long time no comment, my friend!

      I think the one on tap is Grimbergen Dubbel, but it might require some research tomorrow. I’ll report back.

      • If you “research” too deeply you might not be in a fit state to report back tomorrow.

  • hilltop

    I remember visiting America-mura (America Town) in Osaka, Japan. Apparently it started off being all-things American and has evolved into its own:

    I’m trying to think of the uses of Christian symbols by non-Christian Japanese in Japan, but don’t recall anything overt like you proposed above. Seems like having your religion out there is a good thing as it exposes people to your ideas. Doesn’t seem like they are being an ass about it.

  • I’d be amazed if anyone anywhere decided it would be “hip” to decorate a bar with Jesus images. Not that Jesus himself was any more or less hip than the Buddha, but the church which grew up around him has managed to tarnish his image somewhat over the centuries.

    • Paul

      Don’t overestimate the folks in the USA’s rural south, where you can easily find a crucifix in the corner of a bar. Please destroy this video after viewing.

      • The difference is that those crucifixes are there as an expression of their faith, not because they’re a “cool” design feature.

        • True. One is an ancient torture device, and the other is a dude sitting contentedly.

  • Josh

    I guess you’ve never been to Seville. I’d almost say that bars with a Catholic motif are the rule rather than the exception there. Perhaps the most severe example is Garlochi: or

    As a counterpoint, I’m sure you’ll have seen the news about the Disco La Meca in Murcia that has been threatened with a jihad (sic) due to the supposed insult to Islam.

    I don’t know about a Jesus-themed bar in Japan, but I do remember having the best margaritas of my life (and I’m from New Mexico) in a dump someplace in downtown Osaka, named “El Borracho”.

    • Yes, I’ve seen plenty of Christian-themed bars in Spain. But doing it about your own religion is one thing, and doing it about another religion is different.

      Ha. I hadn’t heard about Disco La Meca. But duh. Scientology is doing its best, but it’s hard to beat Islam for criticism intolerance in the 21st century.

      In Osaka, you mean this place? Ain’t Street View great?

  • Suddenly there are bars everywhere with buddha in the name. Dublin , Amsterdam, Berlin….