03 August 2013

Summer Nights on the Playa

5comentario, now open all year round
Beach parties in Alcalá?  But it's 50 km from the coast!

"Paseo de la Playa" is a street-name more usually found in seaside resorts, as it means a promenade along the beach.  But we have our very own Playa.  Its origin isn't clear: some say it is named after a bar that's not there any more, others will tell you it's because there used to be a large sandy area where the municipal park is now.  But it remains an enduring source of confusion for visitors.

The Playa has long been an area for social activities, and being one of the few flat places in Alcalá, it's the ideal place to parade your new baby up and down or take your aged grandparents for a constitutional stroll before dinner.  Until the 1930s it was home to the bull-ring (now converted to flats, thankfully) and the August fair used to be held there until it moved to the purpose-built Recinto de Feria on the outskirts of the town. Twenty years ago, before the A381 motorway bypassed Alcalá, it had three discos and even more bars, and people came from all the surrounding towns and villages to party the weekend away.

Archive photo: Feria on the Playa

Archive photo: Bar de la Playa
On hot summer nights, our Playa has all the festive holiday atmosphere you could want.  Indeed, with the economic recession grinding on and unemployment at over 30% here, "staycationing" is the only option for many families.  Unfortunately the fountain that used to be on the roundabout at the western end has been replaced by a tree, so there is no opportunity for a nocturnal dip, but the kids are compensated with a bouncy castle and kiosks selling sweets, home-made potato crisps and lurid-coloured granizados.  They can run round and play safely till the small hours in this extensive traffic-free zone, while their families enjoy a copa and tapas at one of the many open-air bars.  Even the fast-foodies are catered for, with Pizzería Palermo and Burguer Donald (no relation!)

Quiosco Luca (open summer nights only)

Deep-fried heaven - churros in the morning, potato crisps at night

El Pájaro Loco, located in the park behind Pizarros
(open from midday, summer only)

Best burgers in town, and you can wash them down with a beer or two!