(This article was commissioned by Gay Entertainment Directory, and it first appeared in their February 2019 edition.)
When it’s time to pick the perfect place to have an intimate, candlelit dinner with friends or a loved one, few places in Puerto Vallara’s gayborhood come as close to perfection as The Swedes Bar and Bistro (www.facebook.com/swedespv), a two-story restaurant-bar located at the corner of Olas Altas and Púlpito Streets. The brainchild of Morgan Granander, The Swedes opened to the public in October 2009, becoming an instant favorite for visitors and locals looking for a quality dining experience in a relaxed atmosphere.
Morgan knew very little about Puerto Vallarta while living in Sweden back in 2008, but spousal perks allowed his airline employer partner at the time to bring him along in flights “as far as Mexico,” he explains. “I wanted to go to Argentina, but it was too far away. When I researched ‘gay destinations in Mexico’ online, Puerto Vallarta was on top of the list. His freshman vacation to Puerto Vallarta was booked.
Like many other gay visitors, Morgan fell in love with Puerto Vallarta and decided to move here. “Everybody was so friendly,” he recalls. He planned to open a bar and found the perfect location at the aforementioned corner, where a restaurant had previously served lunch. “The stove was already there, and everybody wants to eat, so why not cook something.”
Through the years, The Swedes has remained a must-visit restaurant, largely due to its consistency in food preparation and service, and its friendly staff. When asked about his success formula, Morgan laughs: “I have one talent: I know how to complain. I eat from our menu, or our daily special, seven days a week without asking for modifications. If I cannot enjoy our own food on a daily basis, how could I recommend it to others?” And while many restaurants close during the Summer months, the Swedes air-conditioned its dining room several years ago to remain open and comfortable for dining guests and ensuring that its staff has gainful employment year-around.
Upstairs at the bar, things are more high energy, with lively music and conversation taking place around an open bar overlooking Olas Altas St. “You can start or end your dinner here, regardless of whether you dine with us or not.”
In addition to offering a quality experience at The Swedes, Morgan has been mindful to give back to the community that embraced him so warmly when he first arrived. He is the mastermind behind the legendary Pulpito Drag Derby, a competition of sorts that challenges men in drag to follow a route in and out of neighborhood businesses, completing a series of absurd and funny tasks, in heels, of course. The Drag Derby coincides with Puerto Vallarta’s annual Gay Pride celebrations, and since its inception, has donated its proceeds to the Amapas Neighborhood Association (www.amapaspv.com) to improve public spaces and other projects.
When it’s time to step away from the restaurant, Morgan adopts a different persona: he is a highly coveted dog show judge for most of his adult life, accepting invitations from international shows all over Europe (and increasingly through Mexico) on a regular basis. “Growing up on a farm, raising and showing dogs has been a passion of mine since I was a teenager. It’s a perfect activity for me to balance my work and personal life.”