An Off the Beaten Track Bar on Tenerife, Was it Worth More Than a Pause?

Posted: December 30, 2010 in Life, Spain, Tenerife, Travel
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

We’d always been intrigued by the bar at El Guincho near Garachico in Isla Baja with semi-colon as a name, not the words just the symbol – ;

I mean what do people say – ‘I’m just off to punto y coma for a pint’ or do they mime it?

Anyway, after what seemed like a completely pointless and very expensive tunnel had been built which diverted the road away from the bar I’d completely forgotten about it…until Andy, our friend Bob and I emerged after a walk through the banana plantations at the top of a steep set of steps almost right outside Bar ;

It was perfectly positioned for a post walk beer.

Have you ever seen any of Robert Rodriguez Mariachi series of movies? If so, you’ll get the picture when I say walking into Bar ; was like walking into one of the Mexican bars featured in them. It didn’t exactly go quiet, but there was a noticeable pause…or was it a semi colon?

The barman was Tenerife’s answer to Cheech Marin. He had a miserable boat race; the only bright thing about it was the glistening stud in his ear. When we asked if he served bocadillos he grunted and pointed to a selection of mass produced, filled pastries.
“Too late for bocadillos,” he growled pointing to a sign which announced that the bar was shutting at 5pm. At that point it was 1.30pm.
We ordered beers and moved to sit at one of the tables…eliciting another grunt and a single word.

“NO!”

Okay to be fair to the guy, it was Christmas Eve and he probably didn’t want three extranjeros holding him back from getting into the Xmas spirit and the place looked as though it was setting up for a private party.  We squeezed in at the bar, one of the punters shifted along to accommodate us so it wasn’t exactly all unfriendly, and I had a look around the joint.

First observation was that there was quite a lot of Barcelona memorabilia on the walls, nothing unusual about that – in Tenerife it’s usually them or Real Madrid. The second thing I noticed was an interesting collection of specialist (for Tenerife at least) beer bottles lining the room, one of which was Old Speckled Hen.
The third thing that stood out was the incredible selection of sweet products in the bar. I mean this was in most senses a typical out of the way Canario bar, yet apart from all the pastries it had a better sweet selection than most big supermarkets. They had rows of Crunchies, Twix’s and all sorts of choccie delights. It also had the most extensive range of travel-sized Pringles that I’ve ever seen. It was obvious what Bar ; really was. It was munchie heaven.

“This is definitely a ‘smokers’ bar,” I whispered to Andy.

Almost on cue a man with a handlebar moustache wearing a cowboy hat, leather waistcoat and mirror sunglasses entered the bar, nodded ‘buenas tardes’ in our direction and plonked himself down at the bar. If the Robert Rodriguez Mexican bar reference needed reinforcing, he’d just provided the icing on the Navidad cake.

To be completely honest Bar ; wasn’t unfriendly, it just wasn’t particularly friendly…except maybe if you were a local, but Cheech behind the bar didn’t exactly exude love and kinship towards his regulars either.

We downed our beers and left with a ‘felices fiestas’ which everyone responded to cheerily – even Cheech…well his mouth sort of turned up at the corner as  he grunted.

Andy and I were pleased to have finally had a drink in a bar which had intrigued us for years. But in all honesty we were a bit disappointed that it wasn’t exactly the sort of place where you’d want to linger too long. In fact it probably really only warranted being called Bar ‘,’ and not ‘;‘

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Comments
  1. Great post! Glad you finally got your beer and congrats on being Freshly Pressed! It happened to me a month ago–so hang on for the ride!
    Kathy

  2. ANY place that uses a semi-colon in its name is worth the visit. Though as a self-proclaimed grammar nazi, I do have to say the semi-colon is misused in this context…

    Haha.

    Great post! 😉

  3. CrystalSpins says:

    Oh man, Rodriguez movie references and a punctuation joke at the end. I have a crush on you. Thanks for sharing. I wish I could have been there to see the Cheech-ish bartender!

    Crystal
    http://www.crystalspins.com

  4. humanitarikim says:

    Sounds like a great place for an afternoon beer!

    http://humanitarikim.wordpress.com/

  5. nice work using El Mariachi movies…set the scene quite well for your story. congrats on FP!
    http://dearexgirlfriend.com/

  6. […] An Off the Beaten Track Bar on Tenerife, Was it Worth More Than a Pause? (via Living beneath the volcano) We’d always been intrigued by the bar at El Guincho near Garachico in Isla Baja with semi-colon as a name, not the words just the symbol – ; I mean what do people say – ‘I’m just off to punto y coma for a pint’ or do they mime it? Anyway, after what seemed like a completely pointless and very expensive tunnel had been built which diverted the road away from the bar I’d completely forgotten about it…until Andy, our friend Bob and I emerged after a … Read More […]

  7. New experiences are what make life interesting.

  8. islandmomma Life on a Small Island and Beyond says:

    Love the story and many congrats on being Freshly Pressed!!!!!!! Also very happy birthday from one Capricorn to another! Hope you chose a friendly bar to celebrate!

  9. Great post My husband has been to many countries and swears that if you want to really know a place and its people, skip the tour thing. Just go to a local bar.

  10. […] An Off the Beaten Track Bar on Tenerife, Was it Worth More Than a Pause? […]

  11. Sometimes I like unfriendly bars…unless my life is in danger of course. Nice blog.

    http://strangetributes.wordpress.com/

  12. Lushfun says:

    Seems like you kept trying to push the festive spirit upon the people whom seemed a bit down. Hopefully you spread some joy and pushed some angst out.
    Have fun.

    http://lushfun.com

  13. dragojac says:

    WOW Freshly pressed on my birthday…what a buzz. Much better than materialistic gifts.

    Thanks for the comments. If you’re ever across this neck of the woods we could all descend on Bar ; and really give Cheech something to be miserable about 🙂

    In retrospect it would have been far more disappointing if the bar had been run of the mill and friendly.

    Feliz Año Nuevo

  14. Gary Rosson says:

    I was served in a bar in Los Cristianos on Xmas Day by the most miserable bar steward it has ever been my misfortune to encounter. He seemed to be really annoyed that I was using my admittedly limited Spanish to order the drinks. Don’t think I’ll be visiting again despite the excellent prices.

  15. Michi says:

    I live in a small town in Southern Spain, and the best bar I found was literally a hole in the wall the size of a normal apartment bathroom. Though a bit more cheery than Bar ;. LOL. Love your Spain posts! Your pictures from previous posts are gorgeous!

  16. greg urbano says:

    beer and sweets, i guess its better than pigs feet

  17. Great story, I feel as if I am thre with you. Congrats on being freshly pressed and Happy Birthday

  18. Polushkin says:

    Great story about this island`s life!:)) Thanks a lot!))

  19. misssheltonb says:

    I love finding random dive bars with my friends, Bar ; seems like the kind of place we would love to sit and people watch. Great post, love the grammar humor!

  20. zephyrliving says:

    Your photo of the bar’s sign drew me in, and your delightful humor kept me reading. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  21. I hope you drank out the bottle!
    x
    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed, and Happy New Year!!!

  22. sarahnsh says:

    I love checking out things off the beaten path. You definitely find jewels sometimes, but this one seemed to be a lemon. I’ve been to those places where they aren’t exactly mean, but aren’t too nice either. At least you gave it a look see and found out what it was all about!

  23. notitiae says:

    Nice post and blog… We drink new year by Vivaldi Music with NotitiAE link:

    http://notitiae.wordpress.com/2010/12/31/concerto-di-natale-dellaccademia-spoletina/

    New RV811
    Good New Year eve 2011

  24. Jim Clark says:

    I liked living vicariously through your experience. “I wonder…” experiences like that should almost always be indulged, and it’s great that you did!

    I am quite shocked, however, that you ventured, experienced and departed your long time curiosity without asking “Cheech,” or anyone else in the place, how the place came to be called ;. In fact, it appears that you didn’t sample any of the local flavor inside the bar. Some of the best stories out there come from the most slight of interactions.

    Aren’t you still curious about what the ; means, cuz now I am!

    • dragojac says:

      It was always the plan to ask about the name but Cheech really wasn’t in a talkative mood. It was a bit like make a phrase with – blood, stone, of, getting, out, a.

      I’ve got more exploring to do in that area so I’ll return post navidad to see if his Scroogey demeanour lightens up after the festive season.

      On the other hand, the answer may have less shine than what’s in the imagination.

  25. bydavewhite says:

    Nice story…I started reading it because I traveled to Tenerife several years ago, but was surprised to find the reference to Desperado, one of my all-time favorite movies!

  26. ehliyet says:

    guess its better than pigs feet

  27. Turkce says:

    nice work using El Mariachi movies…set the scene quite well for your story

  28. […] We’d always been intrigued by the bar at El Guincho near Garachico in Isla Baja with semi-colon as a name, not the words just the symbol – ; I mean what do people say – ‘I’m just off to punto y coma for a pint’ or do they mime it? Anyway, after what seemed like a completely pointless and very expensive tunnel had been built which diverted the road away from the bar I’d completely forgotten about it…until Andy, our friend Bob and I emerged after a … Read More […]

  29. JLC says:

    That was a fun read. I enjoy the photos, makes me want to hop on a plane and go for an intercontinental adventure, it’s been too long. Cheers!

  30. rozdog says:

    American Guiruffo!!! xD

  31. doctorbenzi says:

    nice work… i like it, a good start to the new year

  32. Tee says:

    Interesting post. I wonder if the Artist Formerly Known as Prince ever visited this bar during his earlier days.

    Congrats on your Freshly Pressed status!

    • dragojac says:

      Brilliant. And if he did presumably he ordered π

      Of course…you’ve just made me realise why nobody was very talkative – they only communicate in symbols.

  33. benganje says:

    I am from Minneapolis and I was thinking the same thing about Prince!

    Ben Ganje, Urban Realtor/Dad
    http://www.SearchMinneapolisCondos.com

  34. Dan Wade says:

    Sounds like a local bar in any country in the world, you always get funny looks and reactions from the yokles. Great piece pal!

    http://danjswade.wordpress.com

  35. Evan Crown says:

    You’d think that more bar owners would recognise the potential passing trade that can be gained from throwing a little intrigue and confusion into a name. I once stumbled upon, and/or into, a bar called ‘The Little Brown Boy’. Although it didn’t really prove to be much fun, unless of course you have the penchant for that ever alluring smell of English charity shops! T’was an odd place.
    Great story! I’ll be sure to keep reading!

  36. thorsaurus says:

    “Semi-colon”, if translated literally in a Spanish-English dictionary, could be misconstrued to mean half-assed. Maybe you were just being warned about what to expect. 🙂

  37. 34324535 says:

    O Jesus, son of Mary! Is thy Lord able to send down for us a table spread with food from heaven?

    jesussonofmary1432.blogspot.com/

  38. […] on the old main road right beside a bar that surely has the most intriguing name on Tenerife. Stopping there for lunch and a beer was an experience in itself which seemed a fittingly off the wall conclusion to a walk we’d wanted to try out for a long […]

  39. […] An Off the Beaten Track Bar on Tenerife, Was it Worth More Than a Pause? (tenerifevirgins.wordpress.com) […]

  40. […] An Off the Beaten Track Bar on Tenerife, Was it Worth More Than a Pause? (tenerifevirgins.wordpress.com) […]

  41. […] An Off the Beaten Track Bar on Tenerife, Was it Worth More Than a Pause? (tenerifevirgins.wordpress.com) […]

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