Revisiting Barcelona

About 10 years ago I spent a few days in Barcelona. It was just before a draconian new smoking ban was going to be imposed. I spent much of my time wandering from bar to bar in the district of Esplugues de Llobregat, having a coffee in one, a beer in another, and smoking in all of them.  I recorded the names and locations of each bar on a map. In brackets were the approximate number of tables, with X indicating outside seating. Only 4 of the 29 bars were non-smoking.

Of course they’re all non-smoking now.

Since then I’ve never revisited Barcelona in person. And at one time I’d thought seriously of buying a house in Spain. Why go somewhere where I was no longer welcome?

Yesterday I was using Google maps to virtually revisit Esplugues, and wander around it using streetview. And I tried to find out how the bars were doing.

One place I visited every morning was the Caseta bar right next to the Hostal Lami where I always used to stay. I’d buy a coffee and a hot bacon roll, and slowly wake up with a cigarette or two. It had no outside tables. And it’s gone now, replaced with a laundrette.

Just down the road was the Chico d’Oro, which also didn’t have any outside tables. And that’s gone too.

Just round the corner was the Andurina, which had a large outdoor seating area. It’s still open. But it seemed to have very few customers at the outside tables. And the number of tables seemed to be halved from my recollection of them.

Not far away was El Gran Jaguar. I spoke to its proprietor, Stephanie, at the time, and she was very worried about the upcoming smoking ban. She said that 80% of her customers smoked. And it would seem that he apprehensions were justified, because El Gran Jaguar is gone.

The Canarias bar and the Cafeteca bar are both still open, but both have tables outside with ashtrays. I don’t remember either having outside tables 10 years ago. Unnamed bar 18 is also still open.

I couldn’t find the Conde Bicou restaurant on its beautiful little tree-lined street made of granite bricks with mini street lights like candles set along both sides – a beautiful sight at night. But it was hard to find back then, so it may still be there.

That’s 3 out 0f 8 bars that have closed. And it rather looks like the survivors all managed to provide outside seating, with ashtrays on the tables.. In some cases it looks like the shop windows were moved inside, in order to create a small covered area for a table or two,

It’s hardly a scientific survey. There are lots of reasons other than smoking bans that cause bars to close.

But even in November, when I visited, Barcelona was quite warm. So people could probably happily sit outside throughout much of the winter. Even more so further south than Barcelona.

The same can’t be done in Britain, where it’s only warm enough to sit outside for a few months in summer/ And Britain is also a wetter place than Spain. 

Nevertheless it still fills me with rage that the bullying bastards in Public Health have been able to impose their diktat on so many places, and on so many people. Public Health has become a vast global industry, full of busybodies who are accountable to no-one.

I’m going to hate these people all my life.

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7 Responses to Revisiting Barcelona

  1. Clicky says:

    • Rose says:

      ‘Not smoking gave my dad a stroke’
      Jun 2, 2020

      “Cape Town – An Athlone family believes the cigarette ban nearly killed their father.
      They say Gregory Wagner, 72, had a stroke after not being able to smoke for a week.”

      “He had two seizures and I discovered he suffered a stroke after working himself up.”

      She says her father was taken to Groote Schuur Hospital for treatment.
      “My aunt called the doctor and we told the doctor that he has never been in hospital in his life.”

      “The doctor asked us if he smokes, we said yes, then the doctor said the stroke comes from stress due to not being able to smoke.

      “My daddy has been smoking for nearly 60 years so it is a really tough time for him.nitric oxide
      “He doesn’t have any illnesses and never wants to go to the doctor if he feels sick, he would self-medicate.”

      Natasha says her 78-year-old mother is also a smoker and her parents are suffering.”

      “My problem is with Dlamini Zuma, my dad will come out of the hospital and never be the same, it’s because of her and what she did.”

      She could well be right.

      “The belief now is that a deficiency in nitric oxide production may lead to the development of hypertension, atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, stroke, diabetes, and other common diseases. Current research indicates that appropriate nitric oxide drugs may be of great therapeutic benefit to patients with these disorders”

      “Instructor in Anaesthesia Dr. Jesse D. Roberts, Jr., a member of Zapol’s research group, said the discovery also explains why mountain climbers short of breath often claim that smoking cigarettes makes them stronger. The seeming paradox may be due to the presence of nitric oxide in cigarette smoke”

      “And nitric oxide may only be the tip of the iceberg. The idea behind the treatment, that pollutants that are toxic in high doses are actually essential chemicals in the human body, may open a whole new world of safe drugs for other diseases.

      Carbon monoxide, another toxic gas present in automobile exhaust, has also been shown to be a chemical messenger between cells, Brain said. “It’s remarkable that it’s escaped everyone’s notice for so long,” he said.”

      “According to Zapol, it all reduces to one simple thing. “Good things hide in pollutants and cigarettes,” he said”
      http: //

  2. Frank, did not do anything as formal as you, but when I visited Wales, England, and Scotland for a couple of weeks back in 2006, staying at various online friends ‘n fighters and some supportive ban-fighting pubs, I remember taking/looking-up some pics with similar results. I think the pub as a “home away from home” was more set in British culture than in much of the US, and I remember three sets of headlined figures and/or graphs showing pub closures rising from 8 per week pre-ban to 27, 39, and 56/week post-ban.

    MJM, who found our Brit friends **VERY** warm and full of hospitality during my entire trip! One of my very most favorite travel memories!

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