Clásico is an interesting word in Spanish, and it´s taken me a while to understand its nuances, particularly in the context of Sevilla, a city filled with classics.
Clásico can be taken to mean traditional, which is no better illustrated than the Sunday afternoon family promenade around the city, particularly along Avenida de Constitución. There you see seemingly trendy young families dressing their children like they are throwbacks to the 1950s, whereby alpine style knickerbockers abound and little girls wear dresses to match their mothers. Think the Von Trapp family, who instead of whipping up creations from yellow floral curtains, buy their outfits in El Corte Inglés.
The estílo clasico (the classic way of dressing) pervades all but the hardened Alameda Perroflauta. It´s not uncommon to see several generations of women from one family choosing the same classic look, ie figure skimming above the knee outfits, skyscraper high heels and a mane of shoulder length glossy hair, accompanied by a full face of make-up. Edgy, street fashion is not de rigeuer on the narrow calles of Seville.
But clasicó can also describe those places that are stalwarts of the Sevilla social scene, like Café Central for example. I have to be careful about what I say here, as I live just a hop, skip and a jump away and I would be hypocritical to lambaste it too much, as only last night I was there. But for me, I just don´t get the whole Cafe Central thing. It is literally a bar like all the rest, ok so the bar staff are easy on the eye, but please can someone explain why it´s so ubiquitous on the Seville nocturnal map?
But there are other clásicos that I do understand, such as Galeria-Taberna Anima. Tucked away on an non-descript side street near Plaza San Lorenzo, this art exhibition space-come-live music venue-come watering hole, never fails to disappoint. For a start, there´s Peter its imposingly tall, white haired moustachioed Austrian owner, who can occasionally score quite high on the grumpometer, not quite on a Basil Fawlty level but certainly in a, ‘I’ve been here for years, this is my joint, and if you don’t like it, you can lump it’ kind of way.
Coming from colder climes, I get the feeling Peter knows something but the importance of cosy, which generally is a quality much overlooked in Seville bars. This is particularly true in winter where to accompany the live music that he hosts twice a week, you can sip on piping hot Gluhwein. The atmosphere is always intimate in Anima, and on Sunday evenings in particular you can sometimes hear a pin drop as drinkers become enraptured by whichever live act is playing. As well as jazz and blues, I’ve seen Fado, Argentine Tango, Bossa Nova, and Celtic music, pretty much anything goes as long as it’s played live.
Anima never tries to please the masses. Peter runs things as he sees fit, and the people keep coming, and it would seem from all corners of the globe. There’s always an international crowd peppered with people like me who are making their life in someway in Seville, the odd bewildered tourist and plenty of locals. Y si, es un clásico de verdad!
Calle Miguel Cid 80