Bar Chiqui. Any day of the year, 9am. On the corner of Vilamarí and Sepúlveda, far from yet at the same time very near the hipster ghetto a few streets down. A few senior citizens from the neighbourhood drink wine, while some women eat breakfast pastries and a young businessman eats a tuna and anchovy sandwich. Hours later, all these people will have disappeared, and the tables in this ultra authentic and traditional bar fills with cold tinned delicacies and a heterogeneous clientele united by their unconditional love for the middday vermouth tradition.
Nuria, the owner, server and emcee (along with her husband, Enrique) of this bar that once was a tavern, defines their baby as a neighbourhood joint. And this is probably the best way to really understand the essence of this cosy space without aesthetic pretensions, a bar where (there had to be some catch) no one is named Chiqui because it was already named that when Enrique's parents took it over in 1959.
Bit by bit, explains Enrique, 'when they started opening supermarkets, we turned it back into a bar'. It's an atypical yet traditional bar, a place where they only serve 'conserves' (tinned delicacies), sandwiches, wine from the barrel, and the jewel in Chiqui's crown, the house vermouth. This vermouth is very popular among fans of the drink, whether they've been drinking it for five months or 50 years; and you will see newbies and lifelong aficionados enjoying a glass at the same time on a relaxing Sunday. And their love is for a vermouth that is prepared as it once was – without ice, without a slice of orange and with a spray from the siphon, explains Nuria. Let's see if that catches on next.