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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 .

“Where have all the terraces gone?” REVISED & UPDATED
Thursday, June 27, 2024 @ 8:18 AM

For most of the year bars and restaurants in Spain rely on their outside space – their terrace – to provide the experience that tourists and locals want.

So, what is going on in Montejaque (Málaga: pop 960)?

All the terraces have disappeared.


[Photo courtesy of Trip Advisor]



All municipalities charge a fee if the establishment wishes to mount a terrace. In some places it is per square metre; in others, so much per table and so much per seat.

The problem in Montejaque is that the local bar owners regard the fees as extortionate. They are certainly much higher than next-door pueblo Benaoján and even the mighty Ronda, just 20 minutes away.


The current problem

In Montejaque the situation has became dire. Alvaro Gutierrez, owner of two restaurants in the village, Entre Ascuas in Plaza de la Constitucion and newly-opened Meson La Roca on Avenida de Andalucia, is up in arms.

He posted a lengthy message on Facebook to highlight how expensive these fees in Montejaque are. He decided to close his terraces and just serve customers inside.

Bar Restaurante Entre Ascuas [Photo: Karl Smallman]         Meson La Roca [Photo: Alvaro Gutierrez]


It appears that the other restaurant owners agree with him and have also closed down their terraces.


What happens next?

Well, the restaurant owners have thrown down the gauntlet to Montejaque mayor Diego Sanchez (PP). What will he do? Who knows? He has to react and either accommodate the restaurant owners, or potentially compromise tourism in the village.

With several fiestas coming up, it is unimaginable that the terraces in the square will be closed.

I await the outcome of this stand-off with bated breath.




Diego Sanchez [Photo: Ayuntamiento de Montejaque]



Berlin in Germany has opted to abolish all terrace charges for the next two years, in order to encourage and support tourism in the German capital.


What I think

It is the custom to charge for a terrace, wherever it is in Europe/the world. Fair enough. But it must be affordable. In the case of Montejaque, I think the Ayuntamiento has to eat “humble pie” and make a reasonable offer to the bar/restaurant owners.

Otherwise it’s going to be un verano complicado.



I’ve just heard that Alvaro’s terrace at Meson La Roca has re-opened, so I presume a deal has been reached between the Town Hall and the bar and restaurant owners.

At the present time no further information is available.







[Image courtesy of Facebook]



I visited Montejaque this morning, Thursday 27 June, and was surprised at what I found. Thursday is a bad day, unfortunately, as several bars take their día de descanso on Thursdays.

The square was empty apart from a handful of locals at Bar El Rincón. The other two hostelries were closed. There were no terraces in evidence yet several posters and banners protesting the outrageous charges for having a terrace.



[Photo courtesy of Marketing Teacher]


I asked what was happening. Had the Town Hall come to an agreement? Why had Alvaro Gutierrez opened his terrace at Mesón La Roca once more? But others had not? Nobody I asked seemed to know.

I was unable to ask Alvaro, since Bar Entre Ascuas was closed and Mesón La Roca doesn’t open during the day. The Town Hall had already closed for the day.

So we are no further forward, as far as the latest situation. Has Sr Gutierrez cut a deal with mayor Sanchez? Or, has he had second thoughts? Has the council backed down and reduced or abandoned terrace fees?

To be continued …..

[Above photos courtesy of Paul Whitelock]


© Pablo de Ronda



Alvaro Gutierrez

Ayuntamiento de Montejaque


Karl Smallman

Marketing Teacher

Paul Whitelock

Trip Advisor



Alvaro Gutierrez, Avenida de Andalucia, Ayuntamiento de Montejaque, Diego Sanchez, Entre Ascuas, Facebook, Karl Smallman, Meson La Roca, Montejaque, Pablo de Ronda, PP, Paul Whitelock, Plaza de la Constitucion, terrace, Trip Advisor

Like 3


ukarranview said:
Sunday, June 30, 2024 @ 8:41 PM

We live in Los Alcazares on the Mar Menor and our town has been an invasion of cafe and restaurant tables and chairs encroaching onto some of the town's main pedestrianised areas. It is now so bad that, in one main street, the street width for pedestrians has been reduced from about 40 feet to 10 feet over the past 10 years as the restaurant owners have moved more and more tables onto the street. In my opinion, in our particular case, there is clearly a need for our local ajuntiamento to actually INCREASE the charges they levy on those greedy restauranteurs or to restrict them to a much smaller pavement area for their tables.

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