Madrid’s tiniest bar is also a temple of flamenco
February 6, 2021
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Madrid’s tiniest bar is also a temple of flamenco

The first rule followed by the many devoted fans of San Román is to deny its very existence

Juan Diego Quesada, El Pais
Photo: Vicente Romero, the 64-year-old owner of San Román.

A bit like Fight Club, the first rule of San Román is: you don’t talk about San Román. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” says the filmmaker Jonás Trueba. “The what?” asks the cultural reporter César Suárez, pretending to be clueless. “No idea,” states the actress Lola Dueñas. The San Román, a bar so tiny that the Christmas tree hangs upside down from the ceiling, is one of the best-kept secrets of the Madrid night scene.

EL PAÍS visits the tiniest and best-concealed bar in Madrid (Spanish audio).

Located at Plaza Puerta Cerrada, 7, it is easy to miss the little place at first glance. It’s hidden in a poorly lit basement, behind black double doors made of iron. Visitors must descend down a flight of steps to get to the tiny V-shaped bar. To the right there is a coat rack, and to the left, the bathroom. There isn’t any more to see. That’s everything.

Behind a leg of ham and a disproportionately large flower vase there peeks the head of Vicente Romero, the 64-year-old owner of the bar. Every day, from the moment he opens the shutters to the time that they come rattling down once more – sometimes when the sun is already coming up – Romero plays flamenco at high volume. On a simple television set placed over a white filing cabinet, he loops DVDs from an old collection featuring the best flamenco singers in history. Sometimes, without warning and when the spirit moves him, he claps his hands to the beat. At times like these, the San Román lights up like magic.

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Beer, tapas and bread from Galicia.

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