A New Local
Exciting news! A new bar has just opened up in Restábal, our closest neighbouring village, and within easy reach on foot. Our own village, as we may have mentioned, is devoid of any social gathering place other than the little square and the church, and the latter only seems to be open on high days and holidays. So, in terms of getting together with the locals for a good old chin-wag, we, as a community, are fairly poorly served.
Just after Christmas, a lovely couple called Sylvia and Stefano (he hailed from Italy) opened a bar in Restábal called, appropriately enough, Bar L’Italiano. Sylvia was charming, and welcomed us with open arms. The couple had given the interior of the small bar a good old make-over, and brought a rather delicious Italian slant to the tapas served with drinks. Sylvia was also a very patient erstwhile Spanish teacher, and would help Andrew and I as we struggled to get to grips with the Present Subjunctive.
Sadly, Bar L’Italiano closed almost as quickly as it had opened, much to our great sadness, as we had come to know Sylvia quite well, and enjoyed frequenting this little ‘local’. I can quite understand the reasons behind their decision. Sylvia and Stefano lived in Órgiva, which is quite a trek by car from Restâbal, and to do that journey every day, then close the bar and drive back home in time to prepare the next day’s tapas, go to bed, and do it all over again was probably not much fun. They tried to rent a house in Restábal, but the property owner didn’t want tenants with pets, so this fell through. The bar opened in the middle of winter, the hardened locals are fairly entrenched in their ways and were not to be lured away from their other local haunts by the flavours of Italy, and the tourists had not even started to show their faces. We went to the bar one weekend to be told by Sylvia that they had decided to close, and the doors would shut the following Wednesday. We went on that Wednesday, hoping for a final farewell drink, but the shutters had already been pulled down, and I have to admit, we both felt more than a tinge of sadness.
Imagine our delight, then, when Andrew cycled past on one of his bicycle trips and saw signs of action at the old bar. Sure enough, Bar La Lola has now burst into life, and the initial signs are very promising. The family running the bar seem to know their stuff, and when we called in recently it was bustling, and the dishes of food emerging from the kitchen looked to be rather tempting. We did sample some of the tapas, including some battered salt cod, and it was pretty good! This weekend, we will do the walk from our house to the bar, just to embed it into our consciousness as our new easy-to-reach hostelry. Still, we do wish Sylvia and Stefano all the best with their new venture, whatever it may be, and I am sure we will see them again soon, in a busier location.
As an update, we did indeed do the walk from home to Bar La Lola on a gorgeously sunny late afternoon, and settled at one of the tables outside to have a beer and watch the world go by. On second inspection, the bar does not disappoint, I am delighted to report. Ice cold beers were accompanied by fresh and rather delicious tapas. The temptation to stay well into the evening was great, but we resisted and paid the bill after three drinks. To our surprise, the hostess returned with 2 more beers and another plate of tapas, on the house! Now, that is how to run a local PR campaign, not that these new hosts really needed to do much more to ensure that we returned. However, as a ghastly supermarket chain is wont to say, “Every Little Helps”. ¡Salud!