When trying to make a reservation over the internet at the Balicana restaurant in Bilbao, the first thing that appears on the page is a message in capital letters that says “we remember that our place is reserved exclusively for adults.” The same happens when opening the reservation confirmation email and when accessing the restaurant itself, where at the reception, another message alerts the same: it is not allowed to enter minors.
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“From the day we started creating the business we were clear that what we wanted was to have an exclusive environment for adults. The restaurant is divided into two areas: the ‘Lounge’, where we serve cocktails and the restaurant itself for lunch and dinner. with a peculiar gastronomic offer that most of the children don’t think they like, “says Luis Sola, Balicana’s marketing director to this newspaper.
Many of our clients are fathers and mothers and they thank us that we do not accept children
El Balicana opened its doors a month before the pandemic, in February 2020 and, as confirmed by its marketing director, at first “there were customers who got confused” when trying to enter the restaurant with children “and that generated misunderstandings.” However, most of the people who access the premises do so knowing its rules and without any objection. “Many of our clients are fathers and mothers and they thank us that we do not accept children. In fact, this morning a client called us telling us that what we do is great, that she has enough to put up with her children to put up with those of the others “, confesses Sola.
However, from the restaurant they assure that it is not that children are a problem. “We want to emphasize that we do not think that children are noisy or annoying, we simply understand that this restaurant is not their environment. We have another restaurant that is family-owned and has swings for children to play,” says Sola.
Controversy since 2011
This controversy is not new in Bilbao. In 2011, several restaurants began to be created whose policy was also not to allow minors to enter. At that time, family associations such as Hirukide were opposed to denying minors access to restaurants. On this occasion, however, they have preferred not to make statements about it, as they indicate to this newspaper. The Spanish Federation of Large Families have also not wanted to make evaluations of this newspaper, since it is a place where there is the right of admission.
‘Adults only’ hotels are also commonly accepted. In Euskadi, they are increasingly successful, especially in the capitals. In Donostia, for example, you will find the Akelarre hotel, whose restaurant is personalized by chef Pedro Subijana. In this case, although the hotel “does not recommend” the entrance of “families with children”, the restaurant does not expressly indicate the prohibition of minors.