Death of the Spanish Bar?

If you’re one of those who moved to Spain (or plan to) because you love its culture, its traditions and its vitality, you might be in for a shock – part of the ‘real Spain’ may be about to disappear!

And by the ‘real Spain’ we don’t mean the usual sights and landmarks featured in every travel blog. Nor do we mean those natural paradises hidden away in almost every corner of the country. We mean the traditional, family-run bars which are the very soul of Spanish culture. Generation after generation of Spanish families have cooked, served and cleaned up after customers but now that tradition is in jeopardy.

Various factors are contributing to the demise of the Spanish bar:

Third-level Expectations

Many sons and daughters of Spanish bar-owners have been able to take advantage of Spain’s new-found wealth and have completed third level education, and graduated with third-level expectations. Slaving over a hot cooker and working long, anti-social hours are seldom part of their future plans.

Expiring Leases

Low-rent leases which meant that family-run businesses could still afford premises even in the most sought-after neighbourhoods have been expiring, and landlords have been quick to find new tenants with deeper pockets.

Franchises & Marketing

Local businesses find it hard to compete with national and international franchises with advertising budgets and marketing strategies. Even if a local bar has a well-deserved reputation for making the best tortilla for miles, a new generation of consumers is more likely to be influenced by social media advertising, discount vouchers, and TripAdvisor reviews.


You can help to preserve the ‘real Spain’ by grabbing a coffee, a beer or a bite to eat in a traditional local bar or café rather than the local branch of one of the many chains pedalling homogeneous chic.