Can An Establishment In Spain Refuse To Sit You At A Table If You Are Unaccompanied?

Image of 'OPEN' sign on restaurant door.

Image of 'OPEN' sign on restaurant door. Credit: winnond/

A restaurant in Spain can not refuse to seat a single person at a table if they wish to dine unaccompanied, according to FACUA.

Last August 4, an article published by El Pais, revealed how some establishments in the city of Barcelona refused to serve somebody who chose to eat their lunch or dinner alone.

The news outlet told the story of Eudald E, who was allegedly turned away by at least three places on Calle Blai. Located in the Poble-sec district, this area is known as the city’s gastro epicentre.

‘I didn’t want to go to a specific place, just sit on the first available terrace because I wanted to read something while having dinner al fresco’, he told the newspaper. He recalled the various excuses used by the staff of these places in order to not sit him at at table on his own.

FACUA responded to the El Pais article

In response to that incident, FACUA-Consumers in Action claimed on Thursday 10 that this practice was ‘contrary to the law’.

It insisted that: ‘limiting the right of access to a consumer for the simple fact of going to eat without a companion and that this may imply lower income to the establishment’, could well be considered considered ‘discriminatory’.

The organisation indicated that it could even be thought of as ‘possible abusive behaviour’ since the establishment ‘generates a disproportionate obstacle for the enjoyment by the consumer of the service offered’.

FACUA also considered that this action could be an ‘infraction in the matter of consumption’. The prohibition of sitting alone at a table would only be valid: “‘if the regional or municipal regulations on hospitality expressly allow this business conduct’, it suggested.

FACUA advised diners to report such practices to the authorities

They pointed out that some regional consumer regulations classified ‘business conduct whereby the entrepreneur unjustifiably refuses to meet the demands of consumer’ as an infringement.

As a result, the consumer organisation stressed that if a person is a victim of this type of discriminatory practice, he or she should report the facts to the municipal or regional consumer authorities.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at


    • Robert Faraday

      12 August 2023 • 12:44

      This behaviour also exists in other towns, but generally only in premium and the most expensive locations. The solutions are always to seek premises in side streets where the owners are desperate for any customers, as they have cheaper prices.

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