Public health

Dressing up not dressing gown: Why patrons of this bar have to ditch their pajamas to get their ‘churros’

Owner of Los Monaguillos in Malaga says that enough is enough when it comes to attire

Mid-morning, mid-week, a middle-aged woman wearing pajamas and a bathrobe enters the Los Monaguillos café in Mármoles street in Malaga’s Trinidad district and orders churros. The waiter writes the order down but tells her she’ll have to wait outside and get her food at the door. What this customer didn’t realize is that, for the past week, the café has introduced a strict “no pajama and bathrobe” dress code.

The Los Monaguillos café in Malaga.
The Los Monaguillos café in Malaga.García-Santos

“Attention. No one in pajamas or bathrobe allowed,” reads the sign in the window. The decision was taken in consideration of “hygiene, image and respect” for other customers, says the owner María José Silva, 76. It’s not meant to be discriminatory, but it is meant to establish a basic sense of decorum. “You should know how to behave outside your home,” says María José, who favors a youthful look with leggings and a poncho, accessorized with a great deal of jewelry. “I personally warned anyone coming in wearing their pajamas and robes,” she says, “but they paid no attention, so I thought we would put up a sign.”

I warned anyone coming in wearing their pajamas and robes, but they paid no attention

Bar owner María José Silva

Alexandro Tabaracu, one of the café’s seven employees taken on when it opened more than seven months ago, estimates that before the ban around 20 people came into the café every day wearing their bedclothes. “As there are a lot of people who still don’t know about the ban, they keep coming dressed like that,” he says. “We serve them but we tell them it’s the last time unless they wear something else.” In general, he says, the customers haven’t taken it too badly.

An café employee puts up a sign warning customers of the ban.
An café employee puts up a sign warning customers of the ban.García-Santos

Going around in your pajamas and bathrobe is not unique to this part of town, although, being a depressed neighborhood, it is perhaps more common here than elsewhere. Those who go out in their nightwear are mainly women who might go on to do the shopping after their cup of morning coffee. The men, meanwhile, are prone to going about their business naked from the waist up in summer – a tendency bars and shops have been trying to stamp out for some years, without much success.

María José laughs when she talks about the pajamas and describes how people in the neighborhood can be seen following the Easter processions that pass close to her establishment in their nightgowns.

The men, meanwhile, are prone to going about their business naked from the waist up in summer

The café itself is new and clean and attracts a steady stream of customers, many of them talking at their tables about the ban. “Do I think it’s a good idea?” asks Antonia, a 70-something who has come for breakfast with her husband Pepe. “Of course it is! They have very good churros here and it’s a very clean café. You can’t just come in however you fancy.”

English version by Heather Galloway.

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