What’s going on at Bucharest’s Old Town pub Biutiful? Everything, is the answer. Designed by Romanian firm Twins Studio, it flies past double-identity somewhere just inside the door and explodes into full-blown multiple personalities by the time you’ve reached the bar. If it is a beauty, and we think it is, then it’s one to be taken as a whole, rather than analysed for its component parts. Those parts, on paper at least, sound like the interior design equivalent of the clothing adage about red and green never being seen together, but when they are seen, somehow come up looking and smelling like a metaphorical rose garden.
Although this is Romania and there are some wax-coated candlesticks and moody exposed brick corners, what actually jumps out and surprises customers is less likely to be a blood-sucking creature of the night, but more likely a multi-coloured moose head. The lighting doesn’t stick to flame-powered either, veering from atmospheric to something rather more cabaret, and throw in for good measure industrial spotlights to match wall-mounted fans, lovely old copper brewing vats, stacks of beer barrels, mismatched bar stools… all Biutiful needs for a full house is a set of flying ducks on the wall. What should be a horror story has turned out to be a mysterious success.