An Extraordinary Day for San Antonio

San Antonio has always been a complicated town but even by its own standards yesterday (Wed 28 Mar 2018) was an extraordinary day.

This was the day the left wing coalition council were voting to reduce the opening hours for the town’s famous West End with more than 200 of those affected converging on the small meeting room to try and watch the events unfold.

Extra police and guardia civil were called in to control the crowd (more officers than you will see in the West End during the whole summer) after only 50 people managed to access the council chambers, the rest were bundled back outside into the morning sunshine for ‘security reasons’.

Inside the chamber the atmosphere was electric with a sinister undertone. The pantomime villain here was Deputy Mayor Pablo Valdés of the left wing ‘Reinicia Party’, the town’s self appointed messiah. Starting his speech to justify the decision to close all establishments in the West End at 3am you could see the sweat glistening on his tattooed neck.

After a nervy start and plenty of heckling he soon found his confidence even through loud shouts of “liar” and “dictator” from the animated audience, mostly bar owners and operators exasperated and disgusted that the town, world famous for it’s nightlife and liberal attitude, had come to this.

Mayor Pep Tur (PSOE party) was reduced to a bit part only hissing “Silence!” at regular intervals as the audience listened to Sr Valdes’ long monologue and became more unsettled as the vote came closer. Marcos Serra on behalf of the centre right PP party spoke emotionally and clearly with counter arguments gathering sporadic rounds of applause from the baying crowd alas it wasn’t going to change the outcome as the deal had already been done behind closed doors, even though some were still hoping for a last minute rebellion on the council benches.

When the vote came, the coalition council winning 12-8, it was quick and cutting and there was an eerie shocked silence in the room before everyone started filing out with heads bowed. The show of strength by the San An nightlife community in reality was too little, too late to make a difference. Where were they all in the previous meetings when the plans were being hatched?

The socialist coalition council who seem to detest the tourism that San Antonio attracts won this battle but still so many questions remained unanswered.

Is there an actual plan to change the touristic model? How many people are actually affected by the noise? Why did the Calle del Mar road get removed from the protected zone at the last minute? What about all those who have done nothing wrong and have spent thousands on their business? Why not get rid of the few bad eggs rather than throw out the omelette?

Smokescreens and mirrors, this was not only incredible theatre but high stakes politics mixed in with some old scores to settle. As always there are winners and losers but with no actual tangible replacement plan in place let’s hope that San Antonio isn’t the biggest loser in a competitive market.

Author: Martin Makepeace

Englishman living and working in Ibiza since 1991. Entrepreneur with a passion for villas, boats, sunsets and San Antonio. Read my blogs, listen to my podcasts and catch me on Radio One Mallorca every Tuesday morning.

7 thoughts on “An Extraordinary Day for San Antonio”

  1. Not good at all!surely now they will lower the rent on the bars and small businesses if that’s the case?and surely you can open the bars EARLIER?5pm-6pm opening times?happy hours till 8pm?to make up for the loss of profits they will lose closing 2 hours earlier?


  2. Where were we all in previous meetings?? Quite simple to answer! There is a huge division between those who are guilty of total disrespect of the law, and those who are not. Unfortunately now we all have to suffer because of the wrong doings of the few. There is of course a smoke screen we have to deal with as well. All parties are guilty of the total lack of a plan involving all businesses in the west end on how to improve the zone to the benefit of all over a set period of time. The radical decision made stinks of deception and revenge.


  3. The council are a total joke. Even if bars were to open earlier to make up for it it would cause problems for the other businesses which operate during the day time as it would increase competition (restaurants, excursions, boat parties etc). They’re literally driving money out of the area and I’ll be extremely shocked to see any new businesses popping up over the next couple of years to replace the ones that will inevitably close down. Stupid decision which will only drive up the day time noise pollution – no doubt causing stricter laws being put in place in years to come.


  4. The whole reason for late opening was surely to allow holiday makers to enjoy their days as well as their nights. It used to be that people could enjoy the beaches and then take a rest before going out in the evenings. Seems now that more people will end up drinking right through from early afternoon until the 3am closing. It may backfire on the council in a massive way.


  5. Raucous and uncouth the West End may be but I and many other love it. Great place to people watch and some bars are a great alternative to the major clubs which charge you exorbitant entrance fees and rape you for every cent just to get a drink. Gone are those awesome nights of dancing to awesome music in Hush and still managing to get back to the hotel with a few € still in my pocket. Closing the bars early plays in to the hands of the clubs. Ibiza was a 24hr party island yet now it is being shaped in to a tasteless VIP experience destination. First visited in the early 90’s and have been religious visiting several times a season for the past 13 years but this year may well be a no go.


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