Century-old tapas bar forced to shut down in Almeria due to new Spanish rental laws

The owners of Casa Puga could not cope with rental increase

LAST UPDATED: 27 Mar, 2015 @ 13:39
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ICONIC: Casa Puga
ICONIC: Casa Puga

ALMERIA’S ‘most famous tapas bar’ has been forced to close up after more than a century of service.

Run by brothers Leonardo and Jose Lopez, Casa Puga has fallen foul of new rental laws.

More than 2,000 people campaigned to save the bar, but the owners could not face the increased rental costs.

Prospective new owners are currently in negotiations to take over the bar which could see it reopen within a month.

“I would also like to thank all our regular customers who are all friends and have spent many years watching us,” Leonardo said.

New rental laws which came into play in January put an end to a 30-year rent cap which protected independent businesses in Spain.

Industry experts have said 100,000 stores, bars and restaurants are ‘at risk of closure’ across the country resulting in thousands of job losses.

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12 COMMENTS

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  1. i wondered exactly the same.

    title should be. “mismanaged and unprofitable bad shuts down after government ends 30 year subsidy”
    Article:The last 30 years have been good to the owners of the bar. A subsidy allowed them to stay open and keep the profit rather than having t reinvest it”

    • Not exactly true, this is happening all over the globe especially to small business. Once the cap is lifted some rents have increased to staggering rates (a family friend’s store front rent went from 1200 to 3200); unless like Fred said, you have very deep pockets it is hard for many to continue.

  2. When the government abolished the rental cap they should have at leased put a cap limit on the amount the owners where allowed to raise the rental. Look at it this way, you open a business spend a great deal fitting it out, your business does well and the owners see this so they come back with a huge rental increase thinking the renters will pay because their business is doing well.

    The renters should have some protection.

  3. Looks like the corny old saying about Spain still holds true then – “If you want to make a small fortune here, start with a large one”….

  4. All rents both commercial and residential should be controlled by governments – this removes the carpetbaggers at a stroke. I have a friend who runs a Cannondale (bike shop) in a small German city and I well remember him telling me in 97 that business was bad and that he was going to negotiate a significant rent reduction or shut up shop.

    This could not ever happen in the UK because the big commercial property companies do what they like, with the obscene upward only rent reviews. A few weeks later he phoned me to tell me that he had got a 40% reduction in the rent.

    Germans and particularly German business people tend to be rational people who understand a very basic fact of life – a percentage of something is an awful lot better than a 100% of nothing.

    Let’s see what happens to prices in this tapas bar when the new tenants take over.

    BTW I remember going to this tapas bar almost every night in the spring of 68, it had no competition at that time as Almeria was extremely poor and the only income seemed to come from it’s knocking shops catering for the Spanish navy.

  5. Timely antidote to “A Place In The Sun” eh Jane? Mind you, I first heard that one from a bar owner in L’Escala, ten years ago. Things have only gone downhill since then.

  6. Spain may well end up like the UK, a land mainly made up of large chains, DIY, Retail, Frankie & Bennys, Nando’s, Pizza Express, Dominos… If your area is not too fashionable or has high unemployment you will be left with 80% of shops closed and the rest are pound shops with the odd old worn out café. On the plus side at least the chains do seem to serve you on time but all you can receive is bottled beer in most of them and everything feels the same from one end of the Country to the other. Unfortunately the service in Spain is poor so a few good Companies will wipe out the locals in no time, easier places for an international company to operate in than Spain though, that is why there are not many chains there.

  7. I hope Spain does not go like the UK, every prosperous having the same shops with the same layouts and the the rest with hardly any shops but plenty of charity shops and bookmakers. I love the variety and uniqueness of the shops that are currently in Spain and shopping there is like a breath of fresh air.

  8. I think much of Spain will go the same way. I know of a new massive shopping centre on one of the coasts and it has everything there in one place, a Casino, 10 pin bowling, gym with indoor pool, Decathlon, Leroy Merlin, very large supermarket, all the inditex branded shops (Zara etc), Primark, 150 shops, restaurants / Bars, large electrical shop, many cafes, 5,000 free car parking spaces… The place is packed. They even have live bands and shows on during the evening. It sounds hard to believe, but I have been told that people are even taking holidays in this area because of this place and it is also near to the beach, golf courses etc. I predict that most clothing shops near this place will close if they have not already, many bars already have. In the UK I had a couple of new bathrooms fitted and I stayed away from B & Q because they a few styles that are all very similar, they are more expensive than local plumbing businesses and the range is limited but in Spain the local shops with no competition can rip you off, I appreciate it can be localised though. This place is also allowed to stay open 364 days a year I believe. I would fully expect that format will be rolled out in many other areas as it is so successful. I went in a restaurant there last year, I could have been in the USA or UK, ribs etc. In and out, it was OK but it felt more like a pit stop and refuel! The longest I waited for a first course in a typical Spanish restaurant was 45 minutes, normally my patience would have given out by this stage and I would have left but that was the longest I have waited.

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