15 February 2011

Spanish tapas up in smoke?

With the introduction of the smoking ban in Spain earlier this year there has been a significant difference in the number of clients in the local bars these days - or at least in the rural village of Orce in Granada. When the first ban came around bar owners and clients never really took that much notice as there where too many rules and regs (establishments of certain square meterage etc etc) to consider, in places like Orce such new regulations take time filter through and given the relaxed nature of the place many chose to ignore the rules until it became "the norm" to smoke again in bars where people had done so for years previously.

This time though it is very different, bar owners are in fear of being fined and the new smoking ban has been enforced with immediate effect. Nobody really agrees, even the local Orce "non smoking" residents, afterall, smoking in Spain is like a national pastime so the ban has taken some getting used to. The offset of this of course is that bars in the village are much quieter, particularly during the day after lunchtime when people would go out or have a bite to eat after finishing work. Put a mornings graft in and it was customary to relax and have a beer before going home for a couple of hours, now though people are skipping the bars as the new ban means they have to spend 5 of the 15 minutes they would normally have had standing outside...

All of this does mean less trade for the bar owners and fewer tapas. Having spoken to a bar owner today who tells me his trade is down 20% he also blames the recession but mainly the smoking ban, he is also wishing along summer where, in his opinion trade will return to normal given the fine weather and is making arrangments for additional chairs and tables so his clients can smoke outside. What he is dreading is next winter...

It is well known that the Granada region is one of the few areas left in Spain to serve free tapas with an alcoholic drink. A beer is around 1.00 euro in rural parts so volume and the popularity of your bar is paramount to success. Tapas ingredients and the time taken to prepare them eats into profits and I dare say that during the colder months of the year the humble tapa will suffer, we may still get them but its more likely to be a small plate of crisps instead of fresh marinated anchovies or something cooked. Time to support the local watering hole...

Do you live in rural Andalucia? Leave a comment and tell us how the smoking ban has effected your local bars.


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2 comments:

Shionge said...

Hi there ;) I remembered when the smoking ban was imposed here in Singapore too. Alot of eateries were affected and for the local coffee shops, they have sign that says smoking table but it still affects the table beside it.

Somehow, smokers do get use to it and they will have a puff quickly after a meal outside.

By the way..I am travelling to Seville end of march. How far is it from where you live? What is a good buy :)

Orce Serrano Hams said...

Shionge: I'm afraid we might miss you as Seville is about 4 hours from Orce village - do feel free to drop in though if your passing, would be nice to meet you!