The city council of Barcelona has given 11 of its historic wine bars protected status to prevent them disappearing from the cultural landscape.
The traditional bars dotted around the city are known for selling wine, Sherry, vermouth and other drinks straight from the barrel, and often started out as retail operations selling wine produced by their owners.
In July last year, the council drew up a list of 31 such bodegas, and recently announced that 11 had made the cut. These 11 sites will be part of a 220-strong list of establishments, that already includes eight other bodegas, which have heritage status.
The city council described the move as “a first step to protect the unique bodegas and preserve their essence, their identity and their links with the neighbourhood”.
The heritage status works to protect the building and its fixtures and fittings, but not the business itself. However, the 11 chosen sites will be able to apply for grants, tax credits and business advice, La Vanguardia reports.
Two bodegas were chosen because of their “unique heritage elements”, while the other nine contain “elements of environmental interest…with important social roots in their surroundings”.
The 11 newly-protected bodegas are: Bodega Vendrell, Celler Miquel in the Eixample district; Bodega Sopena, Bodega Lluís and Bodega J. Cala in the Sant Martí district; Bodega Marín, Bodega Quimet and Bodega Manolo in the Gràcia district, as well as Bar del Toro (Ciutat Vella), Bodega Salvat (Sants-Montjuïc) and Bodega Massana (Horta-Guinardó).
David Montero, co-owner of Bodega Quimet which opened in 1954, told The Observer: “I think it’s great that the city council is giving us this recognition because we’re part of the fabric of the barrio. If not, it will end up as just another Starbucks. It means that people can come here and eat traditional food such as anchovies, boquerones en vinagre or a plate of jamón.
“We’ve never tried to be fashionable or to attract tourists. We’ve never wanted to lose the essence of being a bodega in and for the barrio.”
Under current restrictions in Catalonia, the bodegas are only allowed to open for takeaway operations.
It follows news that Spanish terrier breed the Ratonero Bodeguero Andaluz, which were used to keep the bodegas of Jerez rat-free, have been granted protected status in the city.