Tuesday, July 16, 2013

this is a Brastemp

Looking at my previous blog posts, I realised I've been doing mostly movie/TV reviews and commentaries on technology, so I decided to try something new. I chose to focus on one of my most prised possessions, the one that all my friends are jealous of and everyone who visits my apartment compliments: the Brastemp retro minibar.

For those of you reading this outside Brazil, let me say this right away: Brastemp being a Brazilian brand (part of the Whirlpool Corporation), you won't find this particular model in your country, but I am sure there are many options abroad for those looking for a retro minibar. The Brastemp brand was made famous in Brazil by a television campaign in which people, in fake interviews, talked about new home appliances that they, or someone they new, had bought. Their tone was lukewarm and they always stated the appliance was good enough, but "it's no Brastemp" (if you understand Portuguese, you can see all the commercials here). The phrase eventually caught on and is, nowadays, used to talk about something that is good enough but not best on its class.

Being a single guy living in an apartment with friends, having a minibar in my room makes a lot of sense: as I only buy food for myself, I don't need a large refrigerator (and the common one in the kitchen is prone to making food disappear onto the belly of house mates confused about said food's owner) and I spend most of my time in my room, so having my food and drinks at hand is  a great option. The Brastemp retro minibar was my first and only choice.

It is striking when you first see it, especially in red - there are also baby blue and egg yellow options, none of which appealed to me. It looks very bright in the pictures but in reality it's a deep red that makes you think of a Cadillac, and the whole ensemble takes you back to a 50's diner with an LP record playing in the background. It looks at the same time antique and modern (which is I believe is the desired effect of retro items) and it fit like a glove in my cool (at least I hope) bachelor room.

It has all this nice retro details, like the long slim legs or the door handle. Another nice touch is they used the old Brastemp logo instead of the current one, making it look like it was indeed made in the 50's. It's bigger than it looks in the catalogue, but fortunately it ended up being about as tall and deep as my desk, so it fit in nicely in my room.

On the inside of the door, it has two standard trays and four can placeholders (I took two out because I didn't need them and they took up too much space). Again this is a nice touch because single people are more prone to buying cans (as opposed to families who by soda by the gallons). The door is filled with stops so you can fit the trays wherever you want.

There's only one main compartment, with no levels, but then again, this is a minibar, not a full fledged refrigerator. There's also a fruit drawer (which can be taken out if, say, you have a tall bottle and need to keep it standing) and a freezer (a very small one at that, but then again, size is a compromise here). Just below the freezer there's a tray for dairy products or the likes of ham and sausages). It also comes with a cute little square ice tray:

I am pleased to say that even in hot days, it holds its own and keeps food cold (I use it in the medium setting and it's already plenty cold - sometimes my cheese freezes in the dairy tray). It makes almost no noise, just a low hum when the thermostat "awakens".

It is sort of expensive, going around 900 Brazilian reais (something like 400 US dollars). There are cheaper options to choose from, of course, all probably as functional as this one, but none that won't make your room look like a roadside motel. The retro minibar looks like a chic piece of furniture, not a domestic appliance.

Should you use it as your one and only refrigerator? No. I still keep food on the main one (eggs, for example, or most of the frozen food, for it doesn't fit here). If you need a smaller refrigerator, there are smaller ones, but this is too small. This is good for bedrooms or living rooms, to house booze and snacks. And if that's what your looking for, then it doesn't get better than this little retro fella. This is a Brastemp.

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