Vallecas might feel like the Madrid of long-ago, but for Constantino Carral Sánchez, it’s changed a lot.
His bar, Cafe Eutiquio, was one of the first in the predominantly working-class neighbourhood when it opened in 1957. The bar started out as a bodega, one of the few places where you could get wine by the litre and in 1963 was converted to become the bar it is today.
It still has the original glass that Constantino’s uncle put in and a turn-of-the-century cash register that his uncle bought second hand in the 1950s.
In the old days, people used to drink copas for breakfast and the bar was even open on Sundays. Now, only one other customer arrived and quickly left while I was chatting to Constantino last Saturday morning.
The bar’s tapa speciality is anchovies with olives and red pepper, a dish that Constantino says his customers really enjoy. He participated in the Ruta de Tapas de Vallecas last year with a “tosta de la mujer – one of the only vegan tapas in the whole event and it was delicious.
Constantino, or Tino as he likes to be called, came to work at the bar from Leon when he was 15 years old because there were very few opportunities in his hometown.
“I came to Madrid to see if I liked it and here I am.
This year he celebrates 50 years of being behind the bar’s counter, and today runs the bar with his wife but, sadly, they plan to retire soon, he said. No one is interested in taking over the bar from them. They rent the space and would have to renegotiate the terms of the lease, something they just don’t have the energy for, he told me.
Bar Eutiquio still gets local customers, but there are less and less of them as Vallecas’s population grows older and passes away. He’s starting to let his customers know that he plans to retire soon and they are getting “hysterical” he said.
When I leave, I’m really going to miss them too.
- Address: Calle del Arroyo del Olivar, 14
- Nearest metro: Nueva Numancia (L1)
- Opening hours: Mon-Sat: 9 am –11 pm
This article was written by Moriah Costa, a business journalist and artist. Visit her Instagram, where she shares her world through drawings and collage, inspiring others to express themselves through art too.