Barcelona’s planning authorities are keen on property owners retaining original façades and features. Some say (after the tragedy of legendary café-bar, El Torino) their efforts are too little, too late. Others say it’s not the frontages and appearances of buildings that matter – it’s the accessibility, diversity, quality and affordability of commercial services that matter.
It’s a ceaseless debate, or, more accurately, a confluence of three debates – heritage (history and distinctiveness), local needs and services, and the economy.
There is a problem – in part aggravated by cash rich international brands using financial muscle and perceived prestige to position themselves at the expense of local commerce – in part prompted by local landlords’ demanding excessive rent increases.
In October 2014, for example, three well-loved ‘institutions’ (as commercial landmarks are known here): two café-bars and a delicatessen, all closed down for good within the same week. They leave strange holes in the streetscape.
However, this dysfunctional dynamic can lead to some interesting and surprising scenarios, where, for example, what appears on the outside to be an antique bakery is, in today’s reality, an IT shop; or, what seems an antique pharmacy, is an ink shop.
Here, at La Confiteria, you’ll find a friendly bar occupying what was once a sweet shop, where they’ll gladly serve you a marvellous gin and tonic worthy of a photo for envious friends at home. What I like about the place is that it doesn’t play on what it once was – it has successfully become its own.
La Confiteria | Bars, Snacks | Beer (bottle) € 2.50
Carrer Sant Pau, 128 | +34934430458
Mon – Sat 19:00 – 03:00, Sun 07:00 – 00:00