The sign outside Mercedes’ big attraction claims this to be the last pulpería. Known locally as “Lo de Cacho” (Cacho’s place), it was run, until his death in 2009 at the age of 70, by the self-styled last pulpero, Cacho Di Catarina. The gloomy interior, which has hardly changed since it opened its doors in 1850, harbours a collection of dusty bottles, handwritten notices – included an original wanted poster for the biggest gaucho outlaw of them all, Juan Moreira, who was killed by a police posse in nearby Lobos – and gaucho paraphernalia: it doesn’t require much imagination to conjure up visions of the knife fights that the late Cacho claimed to have witnessed in his youth. His family still runs the bar in his name and musicians frequently drop in for a glass of Vasco Viejo and impromptu singing and guitar playing, much of it dedicated to the sorely missed Cacho. To get to the pulpería, best visited in the evening for a beer and a picada featuring some of the renowned local salami, take a remise or the local bus that runs towards the park from Avenida 29. A couple of blocks beyond the last stop, the road becomes unsealed and on the left-hand corner you’ll see the simple white building, a sign saying “pulpería” painted on its side.

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