DOS HERMANOS GO SPAIN: MAINLY MAHOU
As soon as I walked into the bar that familiar smell - a mixture of frying, coffee and Ducados - hit me. The tough, knife-wielding chica behind the zinc counter threw out a gruff digame which demanded the response of cana (although with my Northern European twang it sounded incredibly limp and effete compared to her deep and throaty growl).
A small glass was filled with beer, the foaming head expertly sliced away with a knife, and slammed down in front of me. Moments later a small plate of prawns, heavily salted and darkened by their contact with the plancha, were banged down next to the beer. I picked up one of the prawns and bit its head off, sucking it noisily, then depositing it on the floor, already littered with fishy carapaces. I took a sip of the beer, cold and mouth-puckeringly bitter. Some of the beer splashed onto my trousers. I let out a curse. I looked up and the chica was smirking. I drained my glass and demanded an otra. This time my voice sounded deeper more authentic. Now, I was definitely in Madrid.
Madrid is a city that just works for Dos Hermanos and at the heart of it all is the bar. Unless you've been in a Spanish bar especially one in this city then you won't understand how central they are to Spanish life. Food is always provided, either at the counter or in a small comida at the back of the bar. There'll be a hatch through which you'll see a woman (it´s always a woman) hard at work cooking. The waiters and barmen will be wearing black trousers and ill-fitting white shirts. There may be some bowties as well. They´ll be of the miserablist tendency, sure, but will also be super-efficient. Best of all though with your cana you´ll get a free tapa.
I´m guessing here but Madrid has the largest number of bars per capita in Europe, possibly the World and although I always try and visit some old favourites I'm gradually working my way through them all. Does life get any better ?