Berta, Sergi and Jordina have been small business owners for years in the Raval, and they've worked together to cultivate a new business-neighbourhood relationship model based on the internet, sustainability and respect for the neighbours. So it was great news when they joined forces to open La Monroe, the bar of the Filmoteca cinema, because they run it with the same love for and awareness of their surroundings as they do their separate businesses.
And you can tell as soon as you walk in: in a large and open space, all windows, they've managed to bring in the warmth and familiar ambience of Lupita, Las Fernández and Pódame. The cobblestones in the square outside are also the floor in La Monroe, there's a spacious terrace with birdcages to help the ivy grow, and small aluminium tables painted in swimming-pool green and coral red. Interior designer Antonio Iglesias did a magnificent job: the space is lit with lamps made with recycled egg cartons and large-filament bulbs, and there are large wooden tables with scaffolding frames, which Iglesias says are a tribute to the 2001 Spanish documentary 'En construcción' ('Work in Progress') by José Luis Guerín, which was filmed here.
La Monroe is an all-terrain restaurant, where you can have breakfast, nibble some tapas – the russian salad is gorgeous, as are the Ponts cold cuts – enjoy a well-priced set lunch menu, drink tea or cocktails, eat sandwiches and salads, and for dinner try a ceviche or some Iberian ham. Spend a pocketful of change and have a coffee or a piece of fabulous home-made cake, or have dinner for around €25 like civilised members of society. You might feel so welcome you'll want to stay there all day. Ducking in and out for a film or two at the Filmo, of course.