28 Jun

Thursday, June 27, 2024

For most of the year bars and restaurants in southern Spain rely on their outside space – their terrace – to provide the experience that tourists and locals want.

So, what is going on in Montejaque (Málaga: pop 960)?

All the terraces have disappeared.


All municipalities charge a fee if an establishment wishes to mount a terrace. In some places it is per square metre; in others, so much per table and so much per seat.

[Photo courtesy of Trip Advisor] 

The problem in Montejaque is that the local bar owners regard the fees as extortionate. They are certainly much higher than next-door pueblo Benaoján and even the mighty Ronda, just 20 minutes away. 

The current problem

In Montejaque the situation has became dire. Álvaro Gutierrez, owner of two restaurants in the village, Entre Ascuas in Plaza de la Constitución and newly-opened Mesón La Roca on Avenida de Andalucía, is up in arms.

Bar Restaurante Entre Ascuas [Photo: Karl Smallman]  

Meson La Roca [Photo: Alvaro Gutierrez] 

Álvaro posted a lengthy message on Facebook to highlight how expensive these fees in Montejaque are. He decided to close his terraces and just serve customers inside. 

It appears that the other restaurant owners agree with him and have also closed down their terraces. 

What happens next?

Well, the restaurant owners have thrown down the gauntlet to Montejaque mayor Diego Sánchez (PP). What will he do? Who knows? 

Diego Sánchez [Photo: Ayuntamiento de Montejaque] 

He has to react and either accommodate the restaurant owners, or potentially compromise tourism in the village.

With several fiestas coming up, it is unimaginable that the terraces in the square will be closed.

I await the outcome of this stand-off with bated breath.   


Berlin in Germany has opted to abolish all terrace charges for the next two years, in order to encourage and support tourism in the German capital. 

What I think

It is the custom to charge for a terrace, wherever it is in Europe/the world. Fair enough. But it must be affordable. 

In the case of Montejaque, I think the Ayuntamiento has to eat “humble pie” and make a reasonable offer to the bar/restaurant owners.

Otherwise it’s going to be un verano complicado


 [Image courtesy of Facebook] 

I’ve just heard that Álvaro's terrace at Mesón La Roca has re-opened, so I presume a deal has been reached between the Town Hall and the bar and restaurant owners.

At the present time no further information is available.  


[Photo courtesy of Marketing Teacher] 

I visited Montejaque this morning, Thursday 27 June, and was surprised at what I found. 

Thursday is a bad day, unfortunately, as several bars take their día de descanso on Thursdays.

The square was empty apart from a handful of locals at Bar El Rincón. The other two hostelries were closed. There were no terraces in evidence yet several posters and banners protesting the outrageous charges for having a terrace. 

[Above photos courtesy of Paul Whitelock] 

I asked what was happening. Had the Town Hall come to an agreement? Why had Álvaro Gutierrez opened his terrace at Mesón La Roca once more? But others had not? Nobody I asked seemed to know.

I was unable to ask Álvaro, since Bar Entre Ascuas was closed and Mesón La Roca doesn’t open during the day. 

The Town Hall had already closed for the day.

So we are no further forward, as far as the latest situation.

Has Sr Gutierrez cut a deal with mayor Sanchez? 

Or, has he had second thoughts? 

Has the council backed down and reduced or abandoned terrace fees?

To be continued …..

© Pablo de Ronda 


Álvaro Gutierrez

Ayuntamiento de Montejaque


Karl Smallman

Marketing Teacher

Paul Whitelock

Trip Advisor 


Álvaro Gutierrez, Avenida de Andalucía, Ayuntamiento de Montejaque, Diego Sanchez, Entre Ascuas, Facebook, Karl Smallman, Meson La Roca, Montejaque, Pablo de Ronda, PP, Paul Whitelock, Plaza de la Constitucion, terrace, Trip Advisor 

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