Break the Beer Habit and Get a Little Culture!

A Spanish living room, 70 years ago. There is no beer, no cappuccino, no hip minimalist interior, no music, and the bartenders are middle aged brothers. The first layer of presumably white paint, which was applied more than 80 years ago, was also the last. And yet there’s every reason to include La Venencia, on Calle de Echegaray, on your list of favourite hang-outs. Life in this memorable Spanish bar, where time has apparently stood still, is all about sherry. This is also the only drink you’ll be able to get – apart from the odd glass of water.

In front of antiquated barrels, Madrileños and guiris alike stand shoulder to shoulder on sawdust just to sample this delicious fortified wine made in the surroundings of Jerez de la Frontera. The entire spectacle is carefully watched over by the house cat and dog.

For “light and crispy”, choose between the Manzanilla and Fino. For “dark and nutty”, try the Palo Cortado, Amontillado or Oloroso, which will all be accompanied by some excellent olives. If you are indecisive, try them all – the tab will only be €1,50/€1,80 per drink – written in chalk on the bar itself.

There are only eight very straightforward but mindblowing tapas to choose from. If you are determined to stick to beer – oh, come on, give it a try, now that you’re there – then just enter to experience how Spain must have looked right after the civil war. Tips are not accepted.

La Venencia

Calle Echegaray, 7

Metro: Sevilla, Sol

Daily: 13h to 15:30 and 19:30 to 1.30

First published on http://www.MAPmagazine.com, summer 2007

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