Walking through the center of Madrid one can see the cradle of what was a socialist conspiracy and that nowadays is a political group of the Spanish parliament: Casa Labra.
There are hardly any restaurants or bars in Madrid founded in the 20th century but some of them still survive. This is the case of an old tavern that in 2010 celebrated its 150th birthday: La Casa labra, which is located in 12,Tetuán Street and was founded in that same place in 1860.
Just in there, a group of people on May 2, 1789, met together clandestinely while having a meal to launch a political conspiracy to change the situation of exploitation of the working class. The origin of this meeting was in some conversations in other cafés in the capital where different sectors of the working class were in favor of creating an organization to defend and expand the labour rights.
And so it was, 16 printing workers, four doctors, two jewelers, a scientist and a marmolist decided to choose one of those printing workers who had direct contact with Karl Marx’s son in law as the first president of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party, a political party that would finally be legalized in 1881. This elected young man who was 28 years old was Pablo Iglesias and he became the president of the PSOE until his death in 1925.
Thus, we find that a normal bar of the centre of Madrid became the witness of the foundation of one of the most important political parties of the Spanish Parliament nowadays.
Since its foundation Casa Labra has become one of the most traditional and visited places for Madrid citizens. This is indeed one of our favourite places to try the famous “Soldaditos de Pavía” (“Soldiers of Pavía”) a tapa of fried bacalao (codfish) with croquetas. The name of this tasty dish comes from the colour of the uniform that the Spanish Soldiers wore in the Pavía battle against France in which one we got the victory and took the french king prisioner in 1525.
On another subject, the only bad thing about this restaurant is that the drinks are ordered at the bar but the food is served in a kind of separated window paying apart. The best thing, however, is that it is an old place that still preserves the original decoration of the 19th Century and that also keeps a famous sentence in one of its corners: ” who drinks well, does what he should” .
Of course the PSOE voters will say that those founders drank well because they did what they should have done. A small plaque next to the bar reminds that this happened there 140 years ago.
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