The worse Spain’s economic situation gets, the fewer places its people have to drink away their sorrows.
Ten thousand bars and restaurants closed in the country last year, according to José María Rubio (link in Spanish), the president of Spain’s Hospitality and Catering Federation (FEHR). That’s roughly 27 per day. Since the start of the euro crisis, some 60,000 food and drink establishments have shut their doors in Spain. ”Loyalty has been lost,” Rubio said. “The bar is no longer the meeting point from which to go somewhere else.”
It’s no coincidence that over that same period, Spain’s economy has become a shadow of itself. Since 2008, unemployment has jumped from under 10% to over 25%; the country’s GDP has shrunk; and its debt has soared through the roof. Cash-strapped Spaniards are cutting back where they can: Bar and restaurant sales tumbled by 22% between 2008 and 2013, which has left owners with little recourse other than to close shop.
It’s hard to find the silver lining in what’s become a chronic bar closure problem in the country, but it’s worth noting that Spain’s service industry probably had some fat to trim. The country has been swimming in something of a bar bubble: Spain still had an estimated 350,000 establishments as of last year, or one for every 132 Spaniards—the most bars per capita in the world.