city in space - locations


In the early '70s, when a lot of people were leaving the countryside for the Spanish and European cities, and Spain was starting to play a role in international politics: in those years of optimism, everyone suddenly wanted to drink cocktails. At every hour of the day or night. And the more exotic, the better. It was the era of Hawaiian and Polynesian bars in Spain. The colourfully mixed drinks brought a kind of domesticized strangeness to the country's bars, and inspired dreams of the South Seas and living on desert islands. The bars were designed as places to escape to, and escapes like these needed just the right scenery. And a suitable mythology. A Chinaman opened the first South Sea cocktail bar in Madrid, and was swiftly imitated - probably because the Hawaii flair can best be combined with the requirements of a good bar. Mysterious semidarkness with interior design that awoke the wildest of fantasies, intimate corners for secret meetings, and incredibly powerful alcohol concealed behind the sweetness of the drinks. A setting supporting a view of things that became radically more simple with every sip from the cocktail glass. Meanwhile, other places of escape have caught up with the city's Hawaii bars. Only three of Barcelona's former seven Polynesian bars still survive. They form the starting point for a long and possibly rather confused night: in Kahala, the first and oldest Polynesian bar, there are large and terrifying statues with Maori symbols. The Aloha has an entrance reminiscent of a cinema showing a Hawaii film of the 1950s. At the heart of the Aloha is a bamboo bar, its counter reminiscent of a stranded canoe with shipwrecked individuals clinging to it. Bamboo as far as the eye can see - also in the Kahiki, which is perhaps the bar with the most beach- hut appeal. The sound of the sea in the background is quite unique...