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Iconic Madrid cafe closes its doors after 128 years

Jessica Jones · 27 Jul 2015, 13:51

Published: 27 Jul 2015 13:51 GMT+02:00

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One of the most emblematic sites in Madrid, Café Comercial, which opened its doors on March 21st 1887, announced its closure in a Facebook post on Monday.

"After so many years of activity at the Café Comercial, we wanted to inform you of the closure on the date of July 27th 2015."

Screen grab of the statement issued by the cafe on its Facebook page. 

The café, with its revolving doors and bowtie-wearing waiters, harked back to a bygone era, when the high-ceilinged room welcomed some of the city’s most famous tertulías, or literary salons, in the period following the Spanish Civil War.

The café was a regular haunt of the most famous of Spanish society, from writers and artists to singers and bullfighters, who flocked to the local to discuss the burning issues of the day over a cup of its much-lauded coffee. 

It was renowned for its breakfasts; customers enjoying Spanish specialties like tomato bread, tortilla and churros while sipping coffee over the morning paper.

A couple of elderly gentlemen could always be relied upon to be sitting in a corner, their eyes glued to the chess board between them, pondering their next move.  

The café still attracted artists and musicians, its first floor often being home to poetry readings and acoustic sessions. 

Photo: Lukas Kosta/Flickr

It is currently in the hands of the fourth generation of the same family, according to its website.

"It is a shame to have to write a message like this but the closing day has arrived and, because of that, we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the confidence that you have given us during these many years full of marvellous experiences," the café added in the online statement.

The news was met with shock and sadness on Facebook and Twitter with many commenters unable to understand how such an institution could be closing its doors for good.

"Incomprehensible!" wrote Pepe Machado on facebook, "How is one of Madrid’s most emblematic cafes closing?"

"Noooo!" wrote Nayeli Ceceña Álverez, "I can’t believe it!"

"I hope it doesn’t turn into another burger bar or fast food place," commented Niza Blanco.

Story continues below…

"For me, we are losing more than just a café. Thank you friends at Café Comercial," said Gema Arias.


Many traditional family owned businesses have been forced to shut up shop since legal reforms put an end to a system of rent control in operation for decades that kept running costs down in prime real estate areas across Spanish cities. 

However, it was unclear what reason there was for the closure of Café Comercial as none was given in the online statement. The Local was unable to reach the café for comment. 

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Jessica Jones (jessica.jones@thelocal.com)

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