restaurante para grupos en Palmanova
The Blue Bar, your restaurant for groups in Palmanova
August 31, 2023
September 8, 2023

The Blue Bar: 43 years of history by your side

The Blue Bar began on the Son Matias beach in Palmanova 43 years ago. In these more than four decades, many things have changed, both in the area and in the hospitality sector. Also in the aesthetics and in the restaurant's menu, which has been able to evolve and adapt to the new times. Others, such as its privileged location and the desire and enthusiasm of the whole team, have remained intact.

To talk about the beginnings, who better than the owner, María Luisa Forteza. Together with her husband, Francisco Luis Muñoz-Delgado, she saw the birth of "Bar Azul" in Palmanova back in 1980. "My husband and other partners ran the downstairs, while upstairs, in what is now The Blue Bar, a guy from Granada and his wife were in charge. She didn't like it here and wanted to go back to Granada," recalls María Luisa. "It was then that my father asked us if we wanted to run the bar and, although at first my husband didn't want to take it over, I told him it was a fantastic place with beautiful views, so he finally started running it. I was working with my mother in a fashion shop in Calle Colón, but she got the urge and said to me: 'Daughter, you have to go to work with your husband'. And that's where I went", she explains.

A woman behind the bar

So begins the story of The Blue Bar, located in a building that María Luisa's own father had built. The couple began by offering "what they used to offer: English breakfast, hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches... And I worked at the bar. I had never been to a bar alone in my life and 43 years ago, for a woman to be behind the bar... imagine that. People were surprised and even picked on me, they thought I was something I wasn't", she recalls.

She was the one who christened the bar, which still has the same name today: "Blue is my favourite colour and it sounded very good to me; besides, we had almost everything in blue".

Tourism in Palmanova

The Blue Bar has also witnessed the passing of time in Palmanova over these more than four decades. "There was tourism then, but not like now. Before there was less construction, but the majority of tourists have always been English, Scottish... 90%. Now there are tourists from all over the world. A lot has changed and, despite being only 200 metres from Punta Ballena, tourism here is totally different. The creation of the promenade was a great improvement. Then they built the children's playground next to it, which is also a very good infrastructure.

María Luisa explains how lucky they have been with the restaurant's clientele. The customers we used to have have have been very loyal. Today we are visited by the grandchildren of those who came back then. Their grandparents tell them that if they come to Palmanova they have to visit the 'bar azul'". And all this despite the fact that "we didn't even speak English. Now I get by, but before I spent the whole winter without speaking any English and then I had to pick up the routine. When they asked us for a cocktail we had to ask and research how to make it".

The transition to the current The Blue Bar

"I have been working there for decades, but at the age of 48 my husband had a stroke and could no longer work. The customers called him Julio, because they said he looked a lot like Julio Iglesias," she jokes.

"Before he died, my son Carlos found himself in the situation where he had to emigrate abroad to be able to continue working as a pilot. So my husband told him to stay working in the bar to get a feel for what he is. He started one summer and when my husband finally died, he took over the business and now he is a wonderful manager.

María Luisa sees that nowadays The Blue Bar is "beautiful" and she visits her son and his team as a customer "whenever I feel like it" - in fact, she always sits at the same table and some customers, knowing this, ask for their mother's table when they book. She points out how the restaurant "has improved a lot in terms of gastronomy. Before, sushi, for example, didn't even exist. But now people are looking for more refined things and I think that's great". What he likes most on the current menu is the salt-baked sea bass, but he has also tried other delicacies such as caviar, recently added to the restaurant's extensive menu. "I'm satisfied that they're doing well", concludes the owner of The Blue Bar.