Most of us head on holiday with family or friends, but those who are a touch more adventurous will book the cheapest flight they can find for an exciting solo weekend.
Those who are travelling alone may use the time to read, write or simply watch the crowds pass by. Dining alone can be an interesting experience where you pay more attention to the food than to a companion.
However, it seems like solo travellers may have to avoid one Spanish city – as Barcelona restauranteurs are seeking to cut lone diners off. In recent weeks, restaurants and bars in Catalonia's Mediterranean-side capital have been turning away solo diners.
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Apparently, a number of eateries have say ‘no way’ to people who want to head out for some sambas pil pil alone. the Eixample district (home to Gaudí's wondrous architecture) and pintxo-bar-filled Carrer de Blai in Poble Sec have both apparently cut off individual diners.
A headline in the Telegraph stated "Barcelona is waging war against solo diners” while other papers have declared that Barcelona has banned individual diners.
According to the Spanish newspaper El País, the issue is mostly centred around the famous terraces where Brits can sip of a cocktail while staring out at some of the nation’s most beautiful piazzas. The number of tables in the terraces has only increased in recent years.
However, some tourists have have reported instances of being denied terrace seating when eating alone. You may want to sit, read and eat croquettes and sip on sangria but it’s not guaranteed the eateries will allow it.
Some restaurants are reserving all outdoor tables for full meals only, which means ordering just a coffee or a glass of wine is not an option. Locals claim that this has been an issue for years during usual lunch and dinner times.
It’s believed that such restaurants reserve outdoor seating for larger parties – who are more likely to buy a lot of food and drinks and spend more money. But, you may be able to access spots alone if you go earlier than most other diners.
However, many Spanish restaurants have now introduced time caps, according to Lonely Planet, so that lone diners don’t take up too much time at the table! Seasonal tourists, however, often take up earlier meal times cutting out Spaniards who would not have eaten by the time a Brits’ meal is over.
The Barcelona restauranteurs are, of course, facing increasing rents and cost of living issues like the rest of us, but while a few local restaurants might now be opting to turn away solo diners for financial reasons, this is far from any Barcelona-wide policy or ban.
In fact, many restaurants in the Spanish city are now opening communal tables. Meaning solo diners can be placed with other tourists and get to chatting about their trips!
In fact, restauranteur Badr Bennis said: "In BENZiNA and Doppietta, we receive quite a lot of solo diners who are always welcome, and we try to make their experience as special as possible, with extra attention to detail to make them feel at home.”
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