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Puntos de vista - a personal Spain blog

Musings about Spain and Spanish life by Paul Whitelock, hispanophile of 40 years and now resident of Ronda in Andalucía .

One door closes and another opens …..
Sunday, May 22, 2022 @ 6:30 AM

In our tiny pueblo blanco in the Serrania de Ronda there used to be 13 bars for a population of just under 1000 people. Not a bad ratio, I’d say. Over the last dozen years that number has fluctuated as bars have opened and closed their doors. The number has dropped by about a quarter.


Four doors closed for good

Bar La Cuesta and Bar Las Campanitas both shut their doors for good a few years back and Bar La Bodega closed around the same time and is now a private house.

A fourth bar closed in 2020 as a result of Covid-19. Andrés, the owner of Bar Perucho, where all the men used to go for early morning coffee, caught the virus and died. His widow Paqui had already lost her father to the bicho. Son Andrés also caught the Coronavirus, thankfully survived but had no interest in carrying on with the bar.

The caffeine addicts had to find another venue for their pre-dawn coffee, chupito and chat.

Bar Perucho has been converted into a private home.


Changes post-Covid

In the last couple of months there has been a flurry of activity. First of all José, proprietor of El Patio del Frasquito Pedro on Calle Nueva, decided to retire along with his wife. The place was up for sale but there had been no takers. “Happy Pepe”, as we called José because he rarely smiled, just shut up shop – he’d had enough after 30 years. Now he is to be seen out and about in the village all the time – smiling. He’s a very happy man!

Within a few weeks, however, to great joy, the place had re-opened under the name Bar Restaurante El Patio. The new tenant is 29-year-old Jacinto, from the village. A graduate in mechanical engineering, being a bar owner was not what Jacinto planned to do with his life, but the Coronavirus pandemic changed his perspective.

I’ve known Jacinto for three years or so. Displaced back to his home village by the pandemic he drifted from waiting at tables to construction. He even had a spell working in Germany.

The re-furbished establishment is in a good spot in the village. Its unique selling point (USP) is the large, secluded patio out the back.

At the recent opening, Jacinto’s dad, also Jacinto, was helping behind the bar, as they were doing a brisk trade. Other family members were working in the kitchen.

The new Patio has a younger vibe and an interesting range of tapas and meals.

From my point of view the re-opening of this centrally situated bar is a welcome addition to the hospitality on offer in the village.


Another door closes

Last Sunday at midnight, at the end of the local Feria de Mayo in the village, Pub Nazarí closed its doors for the final time. This was a great shame for all the youngsters and me, as it was fun and cheap, played good music and had Champions League football on the telly. The young landlord, Javi, was a great lad!

It was also a shame as the bar had only been open in this guise for about two years. Back then I wrote an article about the young entrepreneurs of the Serranía de Ronda. This is what I wrote about Javi and Pub Nazarí at the time:

“But the youngest of all our entrepreneurs is the admirable Javi, who was just 20, when he opened Bar Nazarí two years ago. In the heart of Montejaque, with good music, tapas and a lot of atmosphere, it could be the bar of the future in this village.”

Not to be the bar of the future, then. Since it closed, all the signage, the awnings, etc, have been removed and the façade repainted. It now looks like a normal house.


And another re-opens

On Friday night, Chiringuito La Terraza, the open-air bar just outside the village re-opened for the Summer.

This bar was also the brainchild of young entrepreneurs.

Borja, Cayetano and Rubén, three Montejaqueño friends in their twenties, were displaced by the pandemic from the hospitality industry on the coast. They decided to start an open-air chill-out bar with music and food just outside the village. In the middle of beautiful scenery is La Terraza, popular with all ages. They serve delicious tapas and raciones in a spectacular setting. It was an immediate success. However, because of the climate in the mountains they had to close for the winter. What to do?

Well, they took over a bar that had been closed for years and that place, also renamed La Terraza, is a big success. Rubén, 35, is a trained chef and has designed a sumptuous menu. It is currently our favourite eatery in the village.

Younger brother Borja, 30, takes care of front-of-house, alongside their pal Cayetano, 28.


The end of an era

The saddest door of all that is about to close for ever in August is that of Bar Armando in Calle Santa Cruz.

The licensee is Armando’s wife Pepi.  Both she and her man are about to reach retirement age and they want to move to the coast, where they already have an apartment, to be near their grandchildren.

Good luck to them, I say, but this closure will be a great loss to the village. It was the first bar I ever entered in the village after I moved in with my new sweetheart in 2008 and I hit it off with Armando straightaway. It was the night of the first leg of a Champions League semi-final between Real Madrid and Liverpool FC. Armando is a huge Real fan and I’m a fan of the Reds. Real were expected to win that match – but Liverpool prevailed on that night and Real lost the tie on aggregate 5-1. There were no hard feelings and we’ve been friends ever since. I even bought a house off Armando (and his three siblings) in 2020!

We fear that this bar, which belongs to Pepi’s nonagenarian Dad, will never re-open, as it no longer meets modern health and safety requirements.


By my reckoning that leaves the village with just 10 hostelries as we enter the month of June 2022. Maybe somebody will take on a couple of locales that have been shut for donkeys´ years, but I think it’s unlikely.

And what is the name of this village?

Montejaque (Málaga).


Further reading:

De tapeo in Montejaque

Early Morning Coffee

The Young Entrepreneurs of the Serranía de Ronda

The Young Entrepreneurs of the Serranía de Ronda II





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