Cafe of stars, which survived Franco, may shut down

Once a haunt of the greats from Ernest Hemingway to Salvador Dali and Hollywood beauty Eva Gardner, Madrid’s famous Cafe Gijon may be nearing the end of its 120-year history.
Shaded under the tall trees of the Spanish capital’s Paseo de Recoletos boulevard, the café’s outside tables have lured artists, writers and actors since 1888. But after surviving the Spanish Civil War and dictatorship, the Cafe Gijon may finally fall victim to Madrid’s cash-strapped City Hall, which owns the terrace and has received richer offers for the concession.
Without the terrace, the cafe may not survive. “The financial heart of the business is in the terrace, 60-70 per cent of profits come from the terrace,” said Jose Barcena, waiter and spokesman for the Cafe Gijon. “The management has done its sums and if we lose the terrace the idea is to sell up,” he added.
“But who would buy a business without its main asset?”
The threat to the cafe, which employs 42 people, has provoked uproar among intellectuals who still sit at the marble tables. Before them, the roll call of customers included Spanish writer Federico Garcia Lorca and filmmaker Luis Bunuel, Italian actor Marcello Mastroia-nni, and American author Truman Capote. “Dali used to swat flies on the terrace,” recalls 56-year-old Barcena, who has worked in the cafe for 38 years.
Only twice has the venerable cafe closed: during the Civil War from 1936-1939 when it became a canteen for Republican militia and then in the 1980s for renovation work, during which the terrace stayed open.
Intellectuals still debate in its august ambiance, with deep red velvet curtains drawn over plate glass windows, wood-panelled walls and a terrace with wrought iron chairs and tables.

Post new comment

<form action="/comment/reply/159672" accept-charset="UTF-8" method="post" id="comment-form"> <div><div class="form-item" id="edit-name-wrapper"> <label for="edit-name">Your name: <span class="form-required" title="This field is required.">*</span></label> <input type="text" maxlength="60" name="name" id="edit-name" size="30" value="Reader" class="form-text required" /> </div> <div class="form-item" id="edit-mail-wrapper"> <label for="edit-mail">E-Mail Address: <span class="form-required" title="This field is required.">*</span></label> <input type="text" maxlength="64" name="mail" id="edit-mail" size="30" value="" class="form-text required" /> <div class="description">The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.</div> </div> <div class="form-item" id="edit-comment-wrapper"> <label for="edit-comment">Comment: <span class="form-required" title="This field is required.">*</span></label> <textarea cols="60" rows="15" name="comment" id="edit-comment" class="form-textarea resizable required"></textarea> </div> <fieldset class=" collapsible collapsed"><legend>Input format</legend><div class="form-item" id="edit-format-1-wrapper"> <label class="option" for="edit-format-1"><input type="radio" id="edit-format-1" name="format" value="1" class="form-radio" /> Filtered HTML</label> <div class="description"><ul class="tips"><li>Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.</li><li>Allowed HTML tags: &lt;a&gt; &lt;em&gt; &lt;strong&gt; &lt;cite&gt; &lt;code&gt; &lt;ul&gt; &lt;ol&gt; &lt;li&gt; &lt;dl&gt; &lt;dt&gt; &lt;dd&gt;</li><li>Lines and paragraphs break automatically.</li></ul></div> </div> <div class="form-item" id="edit-format-2-wrapper"> <label class="option" for="edit-format-2"><input type="radio" id="edit-format-2" name="format" value="2" checked="checked" class="form-radio" /> Full HTML</label> <div class="description"><ul class="tips"><li>Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.</li><li>Lines and paragraphs break automatically.</li></ul></div> </div> </fieldset> <input type="hidden" name="form_build_id" id="form-ae45e37f014306a84fa164bd2ba9b7e9" value="form-ae45e37f014306a84fa164bd2ba9b7e9" /> <input type="hidden" name="form_id" id="edit-comment-form" value="comment_form" /> <fieldset class="captcha"><legend>CAPTCHA</legend><div class="description">This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.</div><input type="hidden" name="captcha_sid" id="edit-captcha-sid" value="61533057" /> <input type="hidden" name="captcha_response" id="edit-captcha-response" value="NLPCaptcha" /> <div class="form-item"> <div id="nlpcaptcha_ajax_api_container"><script type="text/javascript"> var NLPOptions = {key:'c4823cf77a2526b0fba265e2af75c1b5'};</script><script type="text/javascript" src="http://call.nlpcaptcha.in/js/captcha.js" ></script></div> </div> </fieldset> <span class="btn-left"><span class="btn-right"><input type="submit" name="op" id="edit-submit" value="Save" class="form-submit" /></span></span> </div></form>

No Articles Found

No Articles Found

No Articles Found

I want to begin with a little story that was told to me by a leading executive at Aptech. He was exercising in a gym with a lot of younger people.

Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen didn’t make the cut. Neither did Shaji Karun’s Piravi, which bagged 31 international awards.