Half The Bars In Barcelona’s Could Disappear After The Crisis Ends.
Half of the bars and restaurants in Barcelona are in danger of being lost forever, according to the city’s Restaurants Association (Gremi de Restauració de Barcelona).
One-quarter of such businesses have already closed for good, while another quarter are in danger of doing so. Roger Pallarols, director of the restaurants association, views losing one-third of the city’s bars and restaurants as the “best-case” scenario.
Pallarols said that big cities have economies based largely on mobility: mobility of tourism, business mobility, labour mobility. This sudden and drastic reduction of mobility has seen cities such as Barcelona suffer greatly in the past year, he said.
One such business that has had to close for good is Mario Pérez Ruiz’s restaurant in the Raval neighbourhood of the Catalan capital, L’Àvia. The owner now runs a used bookstall instead of his previously highly successful establishment.
“The building was collapsing,” Pérez Ruiz says. “We were renting and the property owners did nothing. You can’t take safety measures against Covid when the premises are damaged and there’s no ceiling.”
Rafel Jordana describes the situation as “agony.” He runs La Bodega d’en Rafel in the Sant Antoni district of Barcelona, a traditional bar that has been operating for around 60 years right beside the famous Sant Antoni market, and the situation is reaching a breaking point for him.
Revenue has fallen to around 15% that of pre-pandemic times, and he estimates an economic impact of around €100,000 in losses since the beginning of the crisis. “I’ve made up my mind to retire because rent prices in the neighbourhood are too high and current Covid restrictions make it impossible to carry on,” Jordana says.
“I don’t know what the landowner will do when the bar closes. It’s hard for a neighbourhood bodega to be viable with current rent prices. Our business model is based on affordable and generous meals, and for people to interact with each other.”