Bareto, the successful chain that wants to reclaim the traditional bar

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“Wherever you are, you always need a bar.” Curro Sánchez del Amo, 33 years old and half of Bareto, thus sums up the success of a business that was born with the idea of ​​a unique establishment and, this July, plans to open its eighth establishment in Majadahonda. They have not invented anything, he and his brother, the other 50% of the project, Enrique Sánchez del Amo (51 years old), boast, but at a time when traditional bars are disappearing, they believe that their model offers something increasingly difficult to find in cities like Madrid: an inclusive establishment, designed for all audiences, where you can eat well and have a beer at an affordable price, they say. Of this drink alone, they sell about 33,000 liters a year. The launch of Bareto was not just any place. The first opening, at the end of 2021, took place in an emblematic place of Madrid's social and cultural life, such as the premises of the old Correos brewery (Calle Alcalá, 55). To renovate the space, they enlisted the help of interior designer Alejandra Pombo —creator of projects with powerful restaurant groups such as Paraguas or Azotea— and there, in the same place where the Generation of 27 met, they laid down the foundations that they would later transfer to the rest of the premises: the recovery of the bar culture, of beers and vermouth and traditional tapas. These are the guidelines that they later transferred to the rest of the premises, although growth has forced them to make some modifications. “Bareto was ideally born to be a single premises and as soon as we opened more, we had to adapt. The plan we have is to finish 2024 with 13 premises and in 2025 have a total of 25,” says Curro, the youngest of the brothers, who define themselves as “hoteliers”, not as businessmen.The patatas bravas are one of Bareto's best-selling dishes. Moeh AtitarThe germ of Bareto was a similar concept in Majadahonda called “Tienes toda la ración” (You have the whole ration), in 2015. A failed attempt, says Curro Sánchez del Amo, due to having failed in the location, something that has not happened to them so far with Bareto. In this case, the locations are varied, from one close to the Atocha station – the second location they opened -, in the heart of the tourist hub of the city, to the Espacio Caleido – opened in June – in the heart of the financial district. And all of them meet two non-negotiable requirements: having a terrace and having a lot of flow of people. “Of 100% of our clients, 35% go for the brand. The rest are people who stop by and come in to fill a need.” Bareto’s proposal, distinguished with a sundress from the Repsol Guide, could not fail to include some classics such as torreznos or patatas bravas (7 euros), which Enrique Sánchez del Amo defines as “similar to those of Docamar”. Although he is reluctant to give too many details about the preparations on the menu, he reveals some peculiarities in the preparation of this classic tapa, such as the use of ham when sautéing the sauce, which gives it a different taste. They serve 40,000 portions of bravas a year alone, although their star dish is the potato omelette pincho due to demand. “It comes in individual format and is made to order,” adds Enrique. It sells for five euros per unit.Andalusian-style squid sandwich on crystal bread. Andalusian-style squid sandwich in crystal bread. Moeh AtitarOther of their most popular snacks are the flamenquines, but with cecina and cheddar cheese (13 euros) and the potato salad (9 euros), which they make without mashing the potato, cut into cubes, just like the carrot, and using “many eggs”. Among the sandwiches offered, the one with squid (7 euros) breaded in crystal bread and with “a secret mayonnaise” stands out, say the brothers. In the desserts, the Arabic cake is the hallmark of the Barbillón Family & Corp group —owned by the Sánchez del Amo family, which brings together 14 business units, and to which Bareto belongs— and consists of filo pastry wafers with Valencian or pastry cream. “The idea is to adapt the menu, respecting the classics,” says Curro, who assures that, for example, vegetables are not very popular among his business’s clientele, although they maintain a selection from the garden that includes ratatouille with poached egg (12 euros), grilled artichokes with ham (12 euros) and a salad of seasonal tomatoes dressed with piparras and spring onions, with pickled tuna or with burrata. And although the evolution of the business forces them to make changes, what is never questioned is the broadcasting of football in the establishments. In the one on Calle Alcalá, for example, there is even a private room that is highly sought after on match days. “With the openings of recent years, these places were disappearing, often in favour of conventional franchises,” concludes Enrique, sitting at a table in the establishment on Plaza de Olavide, the hub of tapas in the Chamberí neighbourhood.Detail of the bar at Bareto Olavide, in Madrid, with the menu labeled on glass by Diego Apesteguía, from Rotulación a mano. Detail of the bar at Bareto Olavide, in Madrid, with the menu labeled on glass by Diego Apesteguía, from Rotulación a mano. Moeh AtitarYou can follow EL PAÍS Gastro on Instagram and X.