Monday, April 28, 2014

Bin Laden-Themed Bars Are Big in Brazil

There are nearly a dozen Brazilian establishments named after Al Qaeda’s former terrorist-in-chief, including one sit-down restaurant called Bin Laden and Family
Several years back, Francisco Elder Braga Fernandes was tending his bar in downtown São Paulo when he noticed something strange going on in the motorcycle parking lot next door. “All of sudden, the bikers were snapping pictures of me,” he recalls.

When he asked what was up, they laughed and pointed to his flowing, salt-and-pepper beard. “They said I looked just like him, Osama bin Laden.”

Fernandes had little use for politics or world affairs, but the self-made club owner who left the hardscrabble northeastern backcountry to make a new life in Brazil’s toughest city knew a thing or two about marketing. This was mid-September 2001. He didn’t think twice. He changed the name of his place from Barbas (Whiskers) to Bar do Bin Laden.