Have a Craft Beer Christmas!

If you want to kick your Christmas celebrations off with a little style, El Grifo , the craft beer and gin bar in Marbella is the perfect place!

Situated behind the Marbella lighthouse, El Grifo offers ten craft beers on tap and numerous craft gins to choose. Since opening in summer the bar has quickly become a favourite  for residents and tourists alike. As a vibrant cross-section of the emerging Spanish craft scene, you would be hard pressed to find a better option.


The rotating beer taps feature a strong representation of the leading Spanish craft brewers and some lesser known, rising stars. If the choice seems overwhelming, there is the option of a five glass tasting tray which allows you to sample different beers without committing to a full pint. The gins, once again highlighting the strength of the craft distilling skills in Spain, take you on a journey from the Canaries to Galicia, with all stops in between.

El Grifo can also be hired for private functions and Christmas parties, and owner Fraser Dodge is looking forward to featuring the major sporting events over the Festive season.


El Grifo Craft Bar
Avda. Anonio Belon 26

Hundreds expected for demo against pet poisoner

Animal lovers and concerned parents are expected to be among demonstrators at a protest due to be held in San Pedro Alcantara this afternoon.

After the shocking number of pet deaths by a poisoner in Nueva Andalucia, a story that was covered in the Spanish national news, animal campaigners have organised a demonstration calling on the authorities to take action. Over 17 dogs and cats have been deliberately poisoned in La Campana and Urbanisation Locrimar and, more worryingly, the fast acting poison was found in the children's play area in a park in La Campana.

The rally will take place at the Church Square in San Pedro at 5pm, and is being held in collaboration with the CACMA (the Andalucian Collective against the maltreatment of animals), Mirada Libre Estepona and Can Tidubi vets.

Normal Service will be resumed as soon as possible

Apologies for the break in regular posts

A wicked combination of traditional seasonal Manflu plus a perfect storm of dealines and new clients, as well as my work on Talk Radio Europe, has meant that I really haven't had time to post.

Since I've been off air however, a few bits and pieces have caught my eye, and I'll try and cover them this week.

The good news is that the Tennis Club Puente Romano will be the venue of next year's Davis Cup clash between Spain and Great Britain. In other sports news both Trocadero Marbella Rugby Club and Marbella FC have continued on their winning ways with a string of impressive victories at home.


And there was even a little smattering of showbiz glamour as Ronan Keating played an unplugged gig at La Sala as well as a golf tournament to raise money for charities, including the Global Gift Foundation.

The bad news is that Marbella Town Hall seems to have gone chainsaw mad, with some of the town's oldest trees being cut down in the past two weeks. Protesters are up in arms about the move.

And the La Campana pet poisoner claimed another victim. A demonstration is planned for November 18 in San Pedro.

We'll be bringing you the latest stories through the week

Barcelona Blues

It’s a common complaint.

British expats in Spain, especially on the Costa del Sol, live in their own little bubble, cut off from what is really happening in Spain and more concerned with who got voted off ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ than what is happening on their adopted country.

You really would have had to have been living under the proverbial stone for the past month, however, for the recent goings on in Catalonia to have escaped your notice. The violent scenes were broadcast worldwide and social media was ablaze with images of the Guardia Civil wading into protesters with their batons drawn.

As a journalist who has worked in the newsrooms of one of the UK’s biggest national newspapers, as well as done a bit of television reporting though, I am guessing that a shout from the news editor’s office of “It’s all kicking off in Barcelona! Who fancies going out to cover it?” must have been met with a kindergarten style chorus of “Me sir! Ask me sir. Pleaaaaseeee!”.

I was actually shocked that Sky News didn’t deploy the Weapon of Mass Disruption that is Kay Burley. But perhaps they thought that the Guardia Civil might have just batoned her anyway, trouble brewing our not. I can imagine she can provoke that kind of reaction wherever she goes.

I did wince when I saw the scenes in Barcelona. I was a teenager in the 80s over here, when the Guardia Civil were ‘old school’. The motto that I learnt then, and that serves me well today was ‘Don’t muck with the Guardia Civil’. As a cheeky 17-year-old on a motorbike I soon learnt that these guys were not averse to the occasional slap if I answered back, and I once received a couple of cracks across the legs and full on Franco style telling off when I was caught out, ahem, ‘courting’ in the back of my battered 2CV.

In my own glittering journalistic career I have been sent to the Catalan capital on two occasions. Once was to cover the launch of the Bentley GTC – where they let me loose on the streets of Barcelona with a 700 bhp Bentley convertible and with strict instructions ‘not to bend it’ (I succeeded. Just) And the second was to report on a VIP Experience Company that flew me and a bunch of City executives over on a 24-hour prawn sandwich and champagne fuelled smash and grab raid, which included a corporate box watching El Classico at the Nou Camp. Barcelona won 3-0, we went clubbing afterwards, and things got a little hazy…

I’m not going to wade into the should Catalonia be an independent state argument here – my only interest being that if they did, then perhaps Scotland could declare independence and I could avoid the Brexit fallout by gaining a Scottish passport.

But it did start me wondering what other areas might clamour for self-determination. The Basques would be in for a fair shout, having a strong cultural identity and language that appears to be made up almost entirely of Z and X. This is as a result of being the only Pictish language still in existence in Europe. The Basques were never conquered by the Romans, a historical Asterix if you like, and I’ve met a few rugby players from there who bear more than a passing resemblance to Obelix.

The mystical Celts of Galicia might also want to be their own nation, though you could argue that it is so wet and misty up there for most of the year that they are left alone by the rest of Spain. Plus they are rumoured to be pretty handy with a spell book and they play the bagpipes. If that doesn’t warn you to leave Galicia well alone then nothing will.

Or perhaps our own Andalucia might decide to go it alone. After all, it already has great links with the rest of Europe and North Africa due to the high numbers of foreign residents here, as well as being independently wealthy due to the huge amount of money that went missing as a result of the ERE scandal, and it must be hidden under a king size mattress somewhere. In Sevilla’s own son Felipe Gonzalez we have a president who already has international experience, and we can make Antonio Banderas both Foreign and Culture Ministers. And the Junta de Andalucia has been operating like a banana republic for years now, so the transition will be seamless.

I’ll be happy with a small position in expat affairs, by the way. And perhaps the title of Marquis de Istan…

Halloween Horrors planned for Marbella

If you are a fan of ghosts, ghouls and all things that go bump in the night, then Marbella Old Town will be the place to be for Halloween.

Marbella Town Hall has announced a spooky series of events for Tuesday October 31, including a zombie parade and a passage of terror!

The fiendish fun for all ages starts at 6pm and centres around the Plaza de los Naranjos and includes Halloween goodies, a frightening photocall and even a "Thriller" flashmob at 8.30 pm.

The ghoulish games will continue until midnight, so throw on your favourite cape and join in!


Another Victory at "Fortress Bahia"?

If it's Sunday it must be rugby!

Once again Trocadero Marbella Rugby Club will be counting on great vocal support from the team's passionate fans at "Fortress Bahia”.

Currently fifth in the league, Marbella will look to continue their impressive start to the season when they welcome Union Rugby Almeria, the league's bottom side.

Marbella's performances have been improving as the season continues, and the home supporters will be looking for an emphatic victory.

The match starts at 12.00 on Sunday.



The 60 second San Pedro Feria rundown

It's the San Pedro Feria weekend and the weather forecast looks great for the next two days, so if you want to enjoy the last feria of the season, here are few highlights.

Saturday - 1pm Feria opens. The Caseta Infantil has activities for the little ones, while the Caseta “Mi Hogar" has dancing for the over-65 as well as a performance by the San Pedro Choir  and at the Peña Caballista Las Espuelas there'll be horse shows throughout the day.

At the Caseta Municipal Spanish heart throb David Bustamante will be playing for free from 10.30pm and the funfair continues until late. You have been duly warned...




Hangovers permitting, the casetas open again at 1pm on Sunday, with the highlight of the day being a dance performance on the Caseta Municipal at 5pm  by local dance schools “Estrella y Ana”, “Marta Álvarez”, “Janet González”, “Ana Belén Guerrero” and “A.V.V. Los Campaneros”.


All the fun of the (San Pedro) Feria

The traditional downpour has been and gone and the forecast looks good for the weekend, so why not head out and enjoy the San Pedro Feria this weekend?

Thursday was a local holiday so everyone is in the party mood this weekend. You can either opt to go full traditional (flamenco dress optional) and eat, drink and dance your way through the day and or night at one of the many casetas, or test your nerves and opt for one of the high octane rides. The Viking Boat looks particularly stomach churning this year I thought as I drove past last night.

San Pedro also has some headline music acts playing this weekend, including 80s band Danza Invisible and Spanish chart topper avid Bustamente.

It's traditionally the last feria of the year, so grab your glad rags and go for it!!!



Yellow weather warning for Marbella tonight

Well the rains finally arrived this morning in spectacular style. I'm sure that I wasn't the only person in Marbella to be wakened at around 6am by a clap of thunder and sudden downpour.

I also had to deal with mopping up a flooded kitchen and bathroom, but the lightning was spectacular over the town.

30 litres fell last night and parts of Marbella had their light and water cut off, while driving conditions were described has hazardous.

AEMET, the Spanish meteorological office, has warned that more of the same is on the way tonight, issuing a Yellow Alert for rain between midnight and 8am tomorrow, with 20 litres forecast.

The weather is expected to improve by Friday.

Another pet poisoned

Another pet is suspected to have fallen victim to the poisoner that has brought misery and fear to Nueva Andalucia in the past few days.

The  dead cat was dicovered in Urbanisation Locrimar, Nueva Andalucia. It brings to 16 the number of domestic pets killed by the poison.

Local residents in nearby La Campana, where poison has was discovered in Parque La Futura, a popular children’s play area, have put up posters offering a reward of €1000 for information leading to the capture of the poisoner.

The pets have all perished quickly after coming into contact with the toxic substance. Even sniffing the poison has resulted in death.

Police closed off the park after poison was discovered around some of the columns in the children’s swings and climbing frames and national TV interviewed concerned locals last week.