'Escobar' gastropub
'Escobar' gastropub Singapore YouTube

Recently launched Singapore bar, which was named after Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar, who was killed in 1993 during a police operation has received angry complaints and warnings from Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) and the police on Wednesday, February 7.

The owner now agreed to revamp its logo and images of the bar, which cost him US$20,000 in additional expenses, as it received negative judgements from concerned authority.

Stan Sri Ganesh, the owner of this gastro-pub, which is located at China Square Central, hopes to unveil the new logo within a month but the name will be same, as it represents a common Spanish surname.

Singapore is known for its zero-tolerance policy on illegal drugs. So when the bar was launched and named after the famous drug mafia Escobar, it grabbed the attention of Singapore's drug enforcement agency. It received complaints from Colombian embassy and angry reaction from anonymous life-threatening phone calls and abusive comments on Facebook.

According to The New Paper, the 36-year-old Ganesh said, "We now recognise that this could be a sensitive issue to some members of the community. We were just using his image as a pop culture reference, but in no way wanted to condone or glorify the actions of Pablo Escobar."

"It's a pity that the community that is telling us not to encourage violence and abuse is the same community that is threatening to harm our family, bomb the place and assassinate us," he further added.

According to The Business Times, a customer called Katie Kang thinks otherwise. He said, "if the owner of Escobar actually wanted to open a 'drug place', it would not be right smack in the middle of town."

Ganesh received a three-page long letter from Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on February 2, which stated that 'Escobar' has raised "serious concern", as it showed that the bar was paying tribute to "the worst criminal in the history of Colombia".

A CNB spokesperson said that the use of Escobar's name and likeness is highly objectionable, especially in a country which has a zero-tolerance approach towards drugs and to the efforts in preventive drug education.

He also said that the glamorisation of such drug mafia and associated drug use is "irresponsible and insensitive."