Olivier Martinez, former owner of the bar Le Classique, in Biarritz, reveals it after eighteen months of work and extremely spectacular transformations. Owner of the walls with his father Jean-Bernard since January 2020, the 40-year-old entrepreneur came to party there during his youth, when he lived in Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle. He knew the place well, he knew about the 2010 fire, but he did not expect to find the building in such a state.
” Something to do “
“Clearly, it was all rotten. There was nothing to keep, not even the roofs. Almost nothing could be reused but there was a lot of volume, since we have 600 square meters inside and more than 2,000 square meters of parking. And since we are from the construction industry, we thought there was something to do, and even great potential”, he says, not unhappy with the first developments and in particular with his bowling alley just installed in near the huge terrace overlooking the A63 and further on the Rhune.
The metamorphosis is indeed impressive. New stairs, new openings, creation of a wine cellar, old changing rooms transformed into an office and above all a huge equipped kitchen installed in place of the old…toilets.
At the very center of the space, a magnificent counter made to measure in the Nectoux workshops in Dax is next to a jukebox known to all old revelers. “It hadn’t worked for fifteen years but we found a jukebox enthusiast who managed to restore it,” loves Olivier Martinez.
The rights to La Tupiña
The tone is less playful when talking about the “little bit of pressure” put in from Bordeaux to no longer use the name Tupiña. “The owners of the Bordeaux restaurant wrote to us asking to change their name. They were told that this nightclub had existed since 1968, so before them,” he explains. The Bordelais having had the good idea to register the name in 2010, after the fire, Olivier Martinez was stuck.
The owners of the Bordeaux restaurant wrote to us asking to change their name
“So it will be called “La Peña”. It’s a name that well represents my desire to make it a place of friends, where people will feel at home. Afterwards in my head, it will remain the Tupiña and I think that for all the people here it will be the same”, reacts the former student of the hotel school in Biarritz who passed through the kitchens of Hélianthal and known in Saint-Pée for helping his father behind the Jokolari bar.
“Not a nightclub”
The seriousness is also required to mention the closing at 4 am, scheduled for Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 7/7 days in the summer. “We have this authorization for late closing but it will not be a nightclub, that is to say that people who say to themselves at 1:30 or 2 a.m., we leave Saint-Jean because the bars close and we come here, it will be no! The idea is to open a Spanish hacienda-style restaurant in which dinners will be served until 11:30 p.m. or midnight and where customers can stay partying until 4 a.m., “marks very clearly the new owner.
People who say to themselves at 1:30 or 2 a.m., we leave Saint-Jean because the bars are closing and we come here, it will be no!
To “avoid problems as much as possible”, Olivier Martinez warns that he will place at least one security person at the entrance to the car park and another at the door. “I had the same system at the Classic in Biarritz, it’s really important,” he concludes, inviting those in a hurry to rediscover the place from June 10.
The first service will be provided from 9 p.m. La Peña will then be open for lunch and dinner, “at least five days a week in June”. The ambition is to open 7/7 days in July and August, “including one day with catering only in the form of boards to share”, specifies Olivier Martinez.
Plans that will essentially depend on the ability to recruit staff. A fortnight is planned for the very high season. The work clothes are ready, signed by the Luzian brand Katxi Klothing. But to date the account is neither in the kitchen, nor in the service, nor at the bar.