The look of surprise on the faces of a group of foreigners, already seated at their table, when a plate of sardine skewers, a jug of 'tinto de verano' and some prawns were delivered, prompted some explanation. These were complimentary, they were told, because Wednesday was a day of celebration for 'chiringuito' beach bars and their role in the local economy.
This day, organised by the Costa del Sol Association of Beach Businesses, in used annually to launch new campaigns to keep these businesses at the forefront of the hospitality trade. This year, reducing plastic usage is the focus, with the target to cut them out completely.
The president of this association, Manuel Villafaina, highlighted the turnout for the day and said that he was positive that this initiative, called 'Nuestra playa, nuestra casa' (our beach, our home), which has already seen plastic straws banished, will be a success.
"A lot of people came up to me and congratulated me and wished us well with the initiative," said Villafaina, who pointed out that all of the details of the campaign were on display for clients on their table covers. The principal objective, he said, was to defend and protect the bars' surroundings, referring to the sea and beaches.
To coincide with the day, Torremolinos town hall created an interactive map of the 64 establishments on its coastline. Specifically, the Tourism department has created a blog (https://blog.turismotorremolinos.es) with a post under the title 'Descubre los chiringuitos de Torremolinos' which, "in addition to talking about chiringuitos' decisive role in the tradition and history of local cuisine, it explains from the art of fish skewering and the diversity and modernity of the facilities, and their certified and accredited quality," according to the town hall.
"The post includes an interactive map, via Google Maps, which shows the beach bars, divided into four sections according to their specialisation: Fried Fish, Beach Club, Mediterranean and Italiana, with a brief summary of its menu and customer services."