Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Cervecería Alemana / Madrid

One cold and wet morning last October - I stepped into this old bar in the Santa Ana region of Madrid, just to get some coffee & a bocadillo for breakfast... not really thinking much of it at the time. It is beautifully old fashioned, with the tiles & the whole place is decorated with old photographs & press cuttings of bullfighters, with a few big old bull heads hanging on the wall. All the waiters dressed in white shirts & aprons, like they had just stepped out of the 1930's, with that 'don't really give a damn' attitude.

I thought it was great - was until later that I learned that it used to be frequented by Ernest Hemingway, wasn't really surpised by that, you can't really go anywhere on the planet with finding a bar that he used to drink at. What really impressed me though was when I read that it used to also be visited by Ava Gardener and Frank Sinatra... I guess that would have had to have been around the time that she was making the movie version of Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises" here in Spain. Next time I visit there, will be quite easy to visualise the pair of them - Ava checking out the young matadors, with Frank seething away with jealousy in the background, I guess they must have been married then.

Must go back to Robert Evans's amazing book 'The Kid Stays In The Picture' see if I can find some history - 'The Sun Also Rises', was Evans first starring roll & every other actor, the director & even Hemingway himself, tried unsuccessfully to have him thrown off the project, but you'll have to read the book...

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