Visiting an Andalusian Man Cave in Sanlucar de Barrameda

Sanlucar de Barrameda
Welcome to their world.

Man save definition

It was a hot August day when Ale and I accompanied our friends to the small Andalusian town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. As a part of the sherry triangle, Sanlúcar de Barrameda (or simply Sanlúcar) is one of the three towns in the Cadiz province that is allowed to produce sherry wines— and the only one allowed to produce the driest style, manzanilla de Sanlúcar.

We were there to taste wines, hoping to visit at least a couple of the town’s 8+ bodegas. 

bodegas in Sanlucar de barrameda

Then we spotted a virgin.

virgin in Sanlucar de Barrameda

Immediately, my heart sank.

I knew there would be no wine tasting in store for us that day. We’d made a rookie mistake and arrived in Sanlúcar on its holy day, the festival of La Virgen de la Caridad de Sanlúcar. 

Onto plan B.

We took a walk around the small town, looking for a bar where we could at least drink some sherry while killing time before lunch. And as Alejandro and James were lost in conversation, my friend Yolanda and I walked ahead. Perhaps it was the sound of flamenco music or maybe the smell of cigars— but we sensed a sherry bar on the horizon. We passed an unmarked door…

And we stumbled into the most incredible Andalusian man cave I could ever have imagined.

sanlucar de barrameda

The men inside were enjoying the holiday, snacking and drinking sherry out of their own barrels. They were happy to invite us inside for a drink, and we gladly accepted.

sherry in sanlucar

Sherry in Sanlucar

tomatoes with tuna

Their little club was exquisitely decorated— there were pictures of famous bull fighters, flamenco dancers and musicians, and family and friends along the wall. They fought to be seen among more exotic specimens such as fish jaws, seashells, hunting tools, and lots of virgins.

sanlucar de barrameda

Flamenco in Sanlucar

sherry in sanlucar

virgin in sanlucar

pictures on the wall in Sanlucar

sherry glasses in Sanlucar

sanlucar sherry

Sanlucar de barrameda

I barely remember our conversation— there were plenty of laughs, definitely an unorthodox joke or two and perhaps even a chauvinistic comment– but, I just recall the joy I felt at being allowed into such a sacred place to share a moment with people who were so different. Their company also made me think about the beauty of such strong, lasting friendships that are so difficult to achieve and maintain in today’s constantly moving world.

I’ll admit, I was kind of jealous of the man cave…

Comments

  1. I loved this post! It looks like a 100% legit “bar cutre de viejos” although hardly “cutre”–the interior looks so fascinating what with all the knick-knacks, photos, religious statues…and a bunch of grandpas with their shirts halfway unbuttoned 😛 What a cool find. What was the name of this “man cave”?

  2. Great story about plans gone awry that take an unexpected–and delightful–turn. As you point out, it would be nearly impossible to have planned such a unique experience. I love the shot of the man offering you a glass of sherry, too!

  3. This would be my heaven. I wish I would of stumbled upon it during my trip there…oh well reason to go back. Perhaps if I look real lost and innocent. 🙂

  4. Oh this looks fabulous! Did you ever find out the name or what street it is on? Any clues on how I might be able to find it would be truly appreciated – what a gem!

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