Bar Cristal in Palma is no more.

18-04-2017Joan Torres

At the start of this year there were 3,414 bars in the Balearics. In 2010 the figure was 4,013, which is when - mainly because of recession - the number began to fall. It was the same situation elsewhere in Spain.

In 2017 there was an increase for the first time in seven years. However, there has been a change in the nature of the bar. It is less traditional, and modern businesses are catering for a different type of clientele. This is especially the case in the centre of Palma and in coastal parts of the island.

The villages in the interior have also been affected. There are now empty bars which once functioned like social centres. A generational change has been occurring, but there have also been regulatory and market factors that have affected bars - the cost to rent is just one.

The president of the Majorca Restaurants Association, Alfonso Robledo, believes that the trend is towards the "disappearance" of the traditional bar. He highlights the ever higher costs, with the latest collective agreement for the hospitality sector having caused one - the higher cost of labour. This agreement is the same whether the establishment is a hotel or a bar - a 17% increase in salaries over four years.

Robledo recognises that there may be instances of there being too many bars. Nevertheless, he feels that in specific parts of the island there should be some form of moratorium on factors that are driving up costs.