Warning as thousands of diners face being turned away from restaurants at top tourist hotspot | The Sun
7th August 2023

A FURIOUS man has warned others that thousands may be denied outside seating in Barcelona – for one harsh reason.

Local resident Eudald didn't expect to return home last Monday with an empty stomach after being rejected three-times by restaurants with plenty of free tables.

The busyness of the city in summer months has produced, Eudald says, a desperate game of musical chairs to secure a seat outside.

And those that are dining alone in Barcelona are in for no chance, he explains.

"I didn't want to go to a specific place, just sit on the first terrace I caught because I wanted to read something while having dinner al fresco," he explained.

He recalled the curious ruse of excuses and reasons various restaurants on Blai street, the gastro epicentre of a touristy neighbourhood, gave to refuse him a table.

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“On the first terrace that I got a table, a waiter quickly arrived and told me that it was reserved. It was not.

"As soon as I got up, a group of foreigners who were behind me sat down," he explained.

"In the next one, they warned me that I would only have 20 minutes. I specified that I wanted to have dinner, but they insisted that I should do it within that time frame.

"So I got up and in the third and last one, already in the last one on the street because there were a lot of people, they told me directly that the terrace was only for groups."

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Elsewhere in the city, Barcelona resident Anna claims to have suffered this exact issue several times.

She described how her favourite local bar has let her down in recent months and refused her entry to the terrace alone "even if there was a free table".

"The last time I got very upset and told them that if it was a matter of money, I was willing to play their game," she added.

She asked them what the minimum price she would have to pay to sit on the terrace to have dinner and they allegedly told her that "I simply could not sit alone".

The disgruntled Barcelona residents' complaints are part of a growing chorus of protest aimed at bars and restaurants for their naughty tactic to secure extra cash.

It started to be noticed in 2022, when temperatures began to increase earlier in spring and the visitor levels rebounded post-pandemic.

Online, people have began calling out specific bars for this strategy of turning down single diners.

Clara Ziegnem tweeted: "7:43 p.m. and they didn't want to serve us on the terrace of the Sants rice restaurant because 'it was already dinner time' Okay."

Another angry diner, Noemí Vilaseca, railed against the MACBA restaurant turning her away because she only wanted a coffee.

Barcelona City Council were alerted to the problem and reportedly went to the hotel and restaurant union to handle it.

There has not currently been an official response.

It comes as a series of Spain's popular destinations have recently introduced tourist taxes to bolster their finances.

Barcelona has already increased its tourist tax price this year and has plans for a further rise next year.

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Local councils in the Valencia region have been given the go-ahead to apply a charge of up to €2 (£1.75) per person per night.

Other cities could soon follow suit, with the capital of Madrid considering a tourist tax of its own.

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