Bars

The prettiest little no-frills bar in Tetuán

15 November 2019

Where I’m from, little buildings like this that look very different from those around them tell us where a bomb fell during WW2. Many pubs were destroyed during the war but new pubs were quickly erected (priorities) and they look a lot like Casa 42.

It’s the opposite in Madrid, however. The little, one-storey buildings are actually Madrid’s earliest settlers, and are also the lucky ones. They weren’t destroyed by aerial strikes and, better yet, little bars like this are also successfully fighting their latest threat: urban regeneration. Their secret weapon: charm offensive.

Here is one great example, proudly standing in front of all her multi-storey neighbours in her tiny, purple glory.

Over the years, walls have shifted and the wooden frames have gently glided into the position we see today: beautifully wonky.

Thousands of customers have carved their habits into the floor of Casa 42, awarding it the Madrid loyalty badge.

A new addition to one corner of Casa 42 is a little library, which is where I found a book all about Madrid. I sat, being one of those customers, who orders one drink and occupies an entire table for an hour – I flipped through every single page of the book and was so distracted that my café con leche en vaso was cold before I’d even had a second sip.

Note where the sun hits the floor in this photo. Now let’s zoom in a bit.

See that darker orange line? That’s where customers have stood for decades, propping up the bar.

And look at all those unique hand-painted Talavera tiles!

The food served at Casa 42 extends beyond the traditional Spanish bar selection. Owners Willy and Susana cook everything themselves, experimenting with cuisines from around the world – even curry occasionally features on the menu. They’re doing a good job at keeping up with Madrid’s changing tastes and habits while maintaining the bar’s innate charm and soul.

This bar is a real Tetuàn gem, and the building should be listed!

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