Madrid No-name bars

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Madrid is a city of great contradictions in terms of its use of public spaces, one of the most remarkable being the policy applied to the consumption of alcohol in the street.

While the squares are filled to bursting with patios and open air bars in which the sale of highly priced alcohol is permitted, the consumption of alcoholic drinks outside of these areas is prohibited.

However, the city center at night has been filled by a veritable army of well organized salespeople on foot willing to provide beer to those who don’t want to give their money to the hospitality trade.

These salespeople spend the night walking rounds with their carts full of cans of cold beer or strategically placed with their merchandise displayed, in improvised bar fashion, on fruit boxes recovered from the trash.

With our intervention Portable Bars, we wanted to draw attention, humorously, to the nightlife reality of the city, whose squares are converted into improvised bars, in which beer can be bought at reasonable prices, in exchange for consuming it sitting on the ground under the sky.

For the occasion, we created 10 portable bars, imitating the fruit box technique used by the chinese salespeople, but we wanted to give them a certain sense of permanence, by placing bright placards made of recycled cardboard and colored LEDs and also a little bit of “distinction” by adding red lights which gave a more intimate air to the place.

Of course, they could not be without beer, but we clearly did not sell them, we gave them away to anyone who wanted them, not many did, given that they were already warm.

For two nights we installed our particular bars in the places most frequented by thirsty night owls and left them so that they became familiar with them, after negotiating with the vendors who tried to appropriate them to sell their own products or take the luminous elements to use on their own places or carts.

We achieved this in the majority of the case, after speaking to them for quite a while and buying some more beer for a few of them…

Now we can say that we understand the world of the night time travelling salesperson, of the consumers and of course the most interesting places to get together for a few cold cans of beer in the heat.

Photos by Gustavo Sanabria.

Time of installation: 2 hours.
Damages: none.
Exhibition time: 4 hours?.