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Spanish Culture and News Spanish Food and Drink

Practical Example of the Non-Smoking Laws in Madrid Restaurants

We had lunch in a favourite village bar today up in the sierra an hour above Madrid. The bar has a ‘comedor’ (restaurant section) at the back, with two large rooms, the slightly smaller of which is joined to the larger one by a small flight of steps. To kind of comply with anti-smoking laws put in place a few years back (that state that any bar or restaurant over, I believe, 100 m squared must have a section designated for smokers that doesn’t exceed a third of the total floor space), the slightly smaller room up the steps has been deemed the no-smoking area.

Well, that’s a start, except for the fact that this room is only opened on weekends when there are enough customers to merit opening it up and either heating or air-conditioning the extra space, depending on the time of year.

So, we had lunch surrounded by the local Ducados and cigar-smoking obreros and oldies, while the door to the non-smoking section remained shut. Lovely. We like the place so much that we still go, but try to arrive early before it gets too smoky. We have asked to be let in the non-smoking area in the past, but it didn’t go down well (es que la calefacción no está puesta… … the heating isn’t on… ) so we’ve given up.

Theoretically someone could report the place but it seems unlikely as a) it’s a family run place that has been frequented by the same people for years, and everyone is fond of them, and b) everyone just accepts that this is quite normal and knows nothing would come of reporting them anyway.

How I wish Spain would join France, Spain, Italy, Ireland etc and sort smoking in bars and restaurants out once and for all… Come on Zapatero, get with the program!