The Red Garter: A Classic Expat Pick-Up Joint

My aunt lived abroad in Florence for many years in the 70’s and 80’s. Although she worked as a nurse for much of her time overseas, she had her fair share of odd jobs too, especially in the early years of her expat experience. Recently she told me about her days working reception at a pensione run by the horrific “La Signora” and another job at a leather shop. And then there was that stint checking coats at The Red Garter. She and an Aussie friend had vowed they would never work at this popular expat hangout swarming with Italian men looking for foreign women. But my aunt did wind up in the coat room there for awhile. She met lots of Italian men, including one that she introduced to her Aussie friend, who wound up marrying the guy. So much for steering clear of The Red Garter!

Literally days after I heard this story, I came upon this post about the best pick up joints around the world. Lo and behold, the very first one mentioned: The Red Garter. It’s the only actual establishment mentioned in the piece — the rest of the pick-up places mentioned are special festivals or cities where the pickin’ is apparently not so slim. So it got me thinking about other joints like The Red Garter (which has been around since the early 1960’s) that have a long-standing tradition of fostering love connections which rise above language barriers — What other classic expat hot spots have been around long enough to be considered institutions of international romance?

(Photo credit: Special_K at Flickr)