Friday, January 27, 2012

The importance of the bar

We learnt yesterday that there is no such thing as a Spanish town, no matter how small, that doesn’t have at least one bar. The directory of companies on the Bigastro web site lists 30 bars, cafeterias and restaurants in a town of 7,000 people.

The bar is the centre of social activity in the town, it is the place where Spaniards go for breakfast, for an aperitif before lunch, for tapas during the evening and at the weekends it is the place to meet up with friends.

There are bars that open at 7am to serve breakfast to workers, there are those that open just in the evenings to serve tapas and drinks and yet others which are open during the daytime to serve people around lunchtime. A few are open both during the day and also at night.

It isn’t all about alcohol though, visit any bar to observe the locals and you will find many of them drinking water or soft drinks. When they do drink beer, it is usually in a small glass or cana. Pint glasses are normally reserved for foreigners - notably Brits. The other thing you will notice are the families, children are just as welcome in a bar as adults but usually only during fiestas or at the weekends. Where do you go after mass on Sunday – to the bar of course!

Most bars serve food in the form of snacks and sandwiches, some though will have an area where you can enjoy a cheap but cheerful menu of the day. Remember that the main meal for Spaniards is taken between 2pm and 4pm. La cena, in the evening is usually just a snack of some sort. All that is changing though in cosmopolitan areas where tourists want a main meal during the evening and just a snack at lunchtime.

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