Posts Tagged ‘live music’

How anyone can ever be bored in Tenerife I’ll never know. Even the humdrum of everyday life normally keeps you on your toes, but the weekend before Christmas was a perfect example of how one minute you can be living the highlife here and the next completely brought down to earth and then some.

Friday had started off in a rather sad and bizarre fashion (part of one of the more fascinating Tenerife experiences that either Andy or I will write about one day). We weren’t directly involved, but it took some of the shine off collecting my mum, sister and her boyfriend from the bus station.

Despite there being a weather alert for high winds to such an extent that the cabins had been taken down from the harbour funfair’s big wheel it was actually a hot, sunny day and we spent a lovely day reintroducing my family to Puerto de la Cruz’s charms.

On Friday night we went to the Bitter & Twisted show at the Majestic where it was a great Christmas present to watch my mum in stitches at John Sharples and Barry Pugh’s clever and very funny show.

On Saturday we drove them back to Playa de la Arena where they were staying for some sun therapy prior to a snowy Christmas in the UK. The sun was shining again on that coast after a couple of days of cloud and rain and we deposited them at the beach as we drove on to Puerto Santiago and booked into the Barcélo Santiago Hotel.

Highlight of the Weekend
We’ve stayed in some fab hotel rooms and suites around the world; in Sheratons, Shangri-La’s and Dusit’s and so on, but the room we had at the Barcélo Santiago was one of the sexiest. I was completely seduced by its sophisticated, modern design and frosted glass interior walls. The views from the generous balcony of the Los Gigantes Acantilados and La Gomera simply made staying there one hell of an attractive package. I would have quite happily spent the whole visit in that room.
I could rattle on more about it, but Andy has already described our stay in her Real Tenerife blog in more beautifully described detail.

After spending the day and a good part of the night in the hotel we decided to have a change of scenery to end the night. We strolled, after a long and most enjoyable dinner at the hotel’s a la carte Sabor Español restaurant across the road to one of the top entertainment venues in south west Tenerife, Route 66.

Resident band Old Dogs New Tricks weren’t playing that night, but Los Tres Hombres did a great job of keeping the bar rocking to some classic sounds. It was a lively end to the day and all was well with the world until I had to pay a visit to the men’s room.

Lowlight of the Weekend
When I was ready to leave I turned to unlock the door and the bolt didn’t move. I tried again and again, but the little mock gold locking mechanism wouldn’t budge.

At first I wasn’t a bit concerned – in fact I figured the bottle of wine over dinner and couple of beers in Route 66 had impaired my toilet door opening skills somewhat. But as I dropped to my knees to inspect the stubborn lock it became clear that it wasn’t me at all. At some point in the recent past a new lock had been attached…and it had been a botched job.

At that point I have to admit to starting to get quite worried. No amount of rattling, cursing and pulling would make the damn lock budge. I looked around for an alternative way out, but the door went all the way to the ceiling. There was only one potential escape route; a little gap between the gents and the ladies’ toilets. If it came to the worst I figured I could squeeze through, but that option seemed a bit drastic.

Ten minutes later and still imprisoned, it started to look like my only way to escape this hell. But before I resorted to scaring the be-Jesus out of some poor unsuspecting woman I tried one last pathetic approach. I banged loudly on the door and shouted “HELP” over and over.

Unfortunately being locked in the toilet of a bar playing loud rock music meant that my cries for help must have been completely drowned out and no rescue was forthcoming.

Finally after twenty minutes of imprisonment and trauma the door started to rattle and bang and then after a few moments it sprang open…I was free.

After a wonderful day and night I’d walked into that toilet with the swagger of James Bond (the Sean Connery and Daniel Craig versions not Old Codger Moore’s) and emerged gushing relieved gratitude like a Chilean miner.

Andy, meanwhile, was still singing along to the band oblivious to my ordeal.

As I said at the start how can anyone ever be bored on Tenerife?

As a footnote, I pointed out to the barman that the lock was faulty, but as far as I could see he didn’t actually do anything about it. So guys, if you’re visiting the loo at Route 66 don’t lock the door. And gals, if you’re in the loo keep one eye on that little gap between the male and female toilets, you just never know when you might have some unexpected company.

You’d think that being surrounded by banana plantations the nearest bar to us would be a quaint little rustic place where the plantation workers swapped their machetes for a glass of vino tinto but no, this is Tenerife where expectations are often confounded.

A short -ish stroll to the end of the banana road and up the hill opposite takes us to Puerto’s, and possibly even Tenerife’s poshest bar, Abaco, a grand 18th century mansion which is a cocktail bar and live music venue at night and a museum and folklore centre during the day. Of course to get there we have to pass a restaurant which must be in the running for one of the nicest restaurants in Puerto de la Cruz, Ganania, but that’s used more for weddings and celebrations.

Despite living so close to this wonderful sounding place, we’d never actually been to the bar at night even though it sounded incredible – don’t ask me why.

Abaco - A Classy Bar in an Old Mansion

Abaco - A Classy Bar in an Old Mansion

On Friday night we decided to rectify this, mainly because I’d read a tweet on twitter from jazz singer, Anna Rodriguez that she was performing there. A quick check of Abaco’s website showed that it was free concert (always a bonus) so at around 22.00 we set off along the banana road to the bar where we’d heard fruit and vegetables littered the floor.

The first sight of Abaco is impressive. The mansion could rival any of the Casas de Balcones in La Orotava, but I’m willing to bet that there are any number of visitors to Puerto de la Cruz who don’t know it exists. The front door opens directly onto the main road (it’s quiet so no real danger of doing a Sam Tyler as you step outside) and sure enough the vestibule was decorated in rich hues and with tastefully arranged piles of fruit everywhere. Like many of these mansions, stepping inside was like entering the Tardis; the vestibule led to a sprawling courtyard and gardens with tables tucked away in secret romantic corners. It was stunning; the only problem is that apart from another couple at a table it was empty and we felt a bit like intruders as we explored.

Inside Abacos Courtyard - This is the toilets!!

Inside Abaco's Courtyard - This is the toilets!!

The concert was being held in the cocktail bar where at least there were a few other people, but it hadn’t started yet, so we grabbed a table outside to admire the beautiful old building and grounds from the inside. Within seconds a waitress turned up and handed us a drinks menu – it became apparent why such an incredible bar wasn’t packed to the gunwales. The average price of cocktails was €8; the cheapest bottle of wine €20 and if you wanted to go for it, a bottle of gin or vodka would set you back €65.

When the waitress returned I meekly asked for two glasses of vino tinto and then Andy and I discussed how much we thought it would cost, settling on €5 per glass based on the prices in the menu. To be fair, although the price of a bottle sounded high, when you work out how many drinks you would get out of it, it isn’t that excessive.

At around 22.30 Anna Rodriguez started her set and we moved inside. Anna’s got an excellent voice and she sang some numbers which varied from Bebel Gilberto songs to jazz classics to a slowed down to a crawl version of The Police’s ‘Message in a Bottle’. It was laid back stuff, a bit too laid back for us, but the bar cat liked it and settled down for a snooze in one of the more comfortable bar chairs.

I can’t say that we’ll become regulars at Abaco – it is immaculately decorated and quite unique and definitely worth a visit, but it’s a bit too quiet and tasteful for us (not that the staff were fussy or pretentious – the service was excellent and very friendly). That’s probably because we’re not refined and are used to the almost manic chatter in the Canarian bars in town. Personally I think it’s better suited to a more mature clientele (hark at Peter Pan here) who enjoy a bit of style in sumptuously serene surroundings, but I could be being unfair here. We left at about midnight and the younger Canarians don’t get going till then, so it might have livened up a bit later.

Price wise, although €8 might seem a lot for a cocktail, they turned out to be more works of art than drinks and were served in huge goblets and looked two to three times the size of your average cocktail. And as for our wine, it was €3 a glass which, considering the uniqueness of the venue, live music and a complimentary goblet of mixed nuts which was refilled as soon as it was emptied, wasn’t bad value at all.

Aha, so this is where they get the fruit for the cocktails.

Aha, so this is where they get the fruit for the cocktails.