Friday, 23 May 2014

El Garlochi, The Semana Santa Themed Bar.

My first attempt at finding this bar was a complete and utter failure. Of I went, my lovely girls in tow, to the address Lonely Planet had down and found nothing but a residential building. Cursing that damn book for the umpteenth time, we abandoned our search in favour of tapas and sangria in the nearest bodega.

Determined, I searched the bar on Google, and who came up trumps? None other than ever faithful Trip Advisor! New address scribbled in a notebook, it was Richard's turn to come on the Garlochi goose chase.
But praise the lord, we found it and, as promised by the reviewers, it was WEIRD AS! On an unassuming back street of the Alfalfa district, THE area of town to be seen in after dark, El Garlochi is a true marvel as Seville's only Easter themed bar (as far as I'm aware, anyway!).

Semana Santa (or Holy Week) is the lifeblood of Seville. Having experienced the fervour of the Holy Week Parades first hand (read about it here), it was strange to be catapulted back in that world of pained and sorrowful icons, heavy musk of incense and the sounds of the bands striking up - it was even stranger that this time it was on a social level.
Styled entirely with reclaims from disused churches, all of these icons and oddities once graced an entirely more sanctified corner of Seville. From their new homes in the nooks, crannies and corners of this tiny bar, they watch over the drinkers. Their sorrowful faces almost look at you with distain, like they are disappointed with you for choosing this path over something more holy. 
You would think that a place like this would be an exclusively tourist affair but we found entirely the opposite to be true. We got strange looks in the dim light not only from the statues but from the locals who prop up the bar and frequent the low slung tables, deep in hushed incense and spirit laced conversation (the liquor kind, not the holy kind!).
Jesus presiding over Richards neat vodka's right shoulder.

The drinks menu is limited to spirits or beer. There are two house special cocktails, the constituent ingredients of which are whisky and vodka, and are aptly named Christ's Blood and Water of Seville. Not wanting to stagger back to the bus, I opted for a CruzCampo, but do regret not giving one of the two concoctions a go. I also regret not asking for Jesus to turn some tap water in to a glass of wine for me - what's the point in him being in a bar if he's not going to show us his party trick?!

All in all, not the kind of place I would go for an evening drinking session, or even a quiet one to be honest. Would I return? Most probably not. Whilst it has its charms, it felt like we were treading on the regulars toes a little. A strange atmosphere with an even stranger decor - its one of the oddest places I've been in a long time, though, to my mind, there is no other city in the world where this bar would 'work' like it does.

Seeing is believing, a must visit if you're ever in town.

El Garlochi
26 Calle Boteros

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