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zombie bars

We’ve lost so many of our cherished tapas bars in Sevilla since Covid hit but what has been even worse is seeing some of our most emblematic ones being “resurrected” by corporate groups, keeping the same name and pretending they are the same bar thereby profiting from a past that doesn’t belong to them. It’s not only identity theft, it’s heritage theft. They are like zombie bars, only “alive” because the doors are still open, but the spirit and personality are gone. Empty shells living off someone else’s life-long work. It’s hard to watch. Especially with places I’ve known and loved for so many years.

And yes of course I understand it’s complicated, that some bar owners without family or close friends to take over have opted to sell their business intact and end up with a nice “retirement package”, and who can blame them? Not me. But I also know of cases of long-time bars where owners who didn’t own the property were forced out after lockdown because greedy landlords saw a chance to make a killing. Another bar was taken over after the owner committed suicide during lockdown because he didn’t see a way out after having to close for so long. Heartbreaking stories. Stories now glossed over, just like the bars have been with a slick reno job, a change of staff, smart new uniforms, etc. And reopening not only with the same name and concept but also claiming to have been with us “since 1897” (for example) when it was actually since 2021/22/23. THIS is the thing that irks so bad.

There are other stories of long time favourite bars closing during lockdown with those places taken over by new owners who did a reno, made changes, and reopened under their own name with a whole new concept. I mean that is how it goes, right? It’s still sad but it doesn’t feel like someone taking advantage, trying to cash in on someone else’s legacy.

I honestly feel it would be better to just see these beloved places close for good and then miss them forever rather than witness these ghoulish takeovers. These fucking zombie bars.