Peter Café Sport

Portugal - Michel #4394 (2018)
Portugal – Michel #4394 (2018)

I cannot think of very many, if any, other stamps in my collection, that portray restaurants but that is what is pictured on Michel #4392 issued earlier this year by Portugal. Peter Café Sport is a historic café and restaurant located in the town of Horta, on the island of Faial, Azores. In 1986, Newsweek magazine included the café among the best bars in the world. It is considered a cultural and historical landmark in the archipelago, and in particular the island. An expression, which was dedicated for navigators, summarizes this emphasis:

If you sail to Horta and do not visit the Peter Café Sport, you have not actually seen Horta.

The history of Peter Café Sport goes back to the founding of the Bazaar of Fayal, in the Plaza de Neptuno (now Plaza Infante), in Horta, designed for the local craft trade. Owner Ernesto Lourenço Azevedo participated in the Portuguese Industrial Exhibition at Lisbon in 1888 ), where he received the gold medal and a diploma for the quality and diversity of his articles.

The front façade of Peter’s Café Sport, Horta, Faial (Azores), Portugal. Photo taken by José Luís Avila Silveira on August 27, 2010.

In the early twentieth century, the business was relocated to  Teniente Valadim Street (now Rua José Azevedo “Peter”) and renamed the “House of the Azores”, which included a bar in additional to the manufacturing of regional handicrafts. Its strategic location next to the port of Horta assisted its business. The bar’s signature drink was the gin & tonic which proved popular among sailors due to its containing quinine which protects against malaria.

During World War I, in 1918, the founder’s son, Henrique Lourenço Ávila Azevedo (1895-1975) changed the focus of the business once again, renaming it “Café Sport” due to the local increase in popularity of football, rowing and billiards.

The name of “Peter” came about when the chief ammunition officer aboard the HMS Lusitania II of the Royal Navy recognized similarities between the young son of the café’s owner — José Henrique Azevedo (1925-2005) — and his own son Peter. The naval officer began calling the young boy Peter and the name stuck.

Detail of scrimshaw on a whale tooth, from the Scrimshaw Museum on Horta (Azores). Photo taken on October 11, 2008.

The Scrimshaw Museum at Peter Café Sport opened in 1986 housing the largest private collection of scrimshaw in the world.

The bar and restaurant has received many honors throughout the years including being named an honorary member of the Ocean Cruising Club in 1981, receiving the Official Medal of the Order of Merit presented by the president of Portugal in 2003, the “Gold Post” award by the Portuguese postal service in 2004, and a visit by the king of Spain in 2005. In 2003, Pope John Paul II gave the café an apostolic blessing.

Michel #4394 was released on June 18, 2018, part of a set of four stamps marking the centenary of Peter Café Sport (Michel #4391-4394). The stamps were printed using offset lithography and included two designs denominated at 0.54 euros, and one each of 0.86 and 0.91 euros. Additionally, a 1.50-euro souvenir sheet was issued (Michel #BL432). All of the stamps were perforated 12 x 12¼. There were 100,000 copies of the 0.91-euro stamp featured today.

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