City Calls Time on Happy Hour
First Las Ramblas got a much-needed clean up, after photos of prostitutes going about their business made the front pages of the Spanish press, now the city is trying to clean up binge drinking. Starting last month, Barcelona has called time on all happy hours and drinks promotions, and will be punishing bars that breach the new legislation to the tune 6,000 euros fines.
Despite reports in the British press that the measure is aimed at the commonplace hen and stag parties who fly to Barcelona and overindulge in the city's nightlife, Barcelona's Department of Health has issued a statement saying that "It has nothing to do with English tourists, it's a matter of public health."
How the public at large will receive the new legislation remains to be seen. Will it be perceived as a pointless measure, impossible to enforce and one that simply adds to the expense of a night out, or will it be welcomed as a measure that will help curb some of the uglier excesses committed in and around the Old Town? In these already depressed times bar owners will not welcome the move, many of whom rely on happy hours to entice customers to their establishments. It may be that more drinkers will simply choose to do their imbibing at home or on the street in the famous 'botellon' tradition.