Archive for April 14th, 2008
Santa Cruz – a bulls eye view

The last bullfight took place in Santa Cruz on December 18th 1983, but since then the only raging going on has been in the ongoing row between developers of the site and those who want to preserve the historic building.


Plaza de Torros is just to the east of the La Paz tram stop, and where two other famous warriers lock horns, though only in terms of street names. The main road is Rambla del General Franco, and Calle Horacio Nelson joins it from around the back of the bullring where the Disco Triboo is still open for business. That’s also the status for the El Buradero bar/restaurant at the front, there was a flurry of press activity recently suggesting that the business’s had been given a mid March deadline to get out, for demolition work to finally begin. Kike, husband of the El Buradero owner, laughed when I reminded him of this, his wife Teresa had only bought the place last May and it is flourishing.


Alicur property company owns 80 % of the bullring and it was claimed they had plans to replace it with four new blocks, one commercial and the others housing, but the latest suggestion is that they are looking for ideas from a panel of experts in commerce and development.

Outside, the small leafy terrace of El Burladero, hardly prepares you for the cosy and intimate restaurant inside that wraps around the inner curve of the building, and is adorned with posters from old fights that took place just a few yards away.

My interest must have impressed Kike (or he thought I looked like a losing matador, Entrancegored, chewed and spat out) he got the keys and took me through to the bullring itself. I was expecting a cascade of cockroaches to fall through the door and to have to wade knee deep in rubbish, but it was in surprisingly good nick, even the chandeliers were hanging in the entrance way, and the tunnels where the bulls charged out were clear.

It must have been an imposing sight full up but bullfights stopped in 1983 when they were banned in all the Canary Islands, and since then the auditorium has staged many events like Canarian wrestling, boxing and Carnaval pageants, even soul legend James Brown got down there, feeling good, well he knew that he would, but it has been allowed to fall into disrepair as the arguments roll on.

Kike remembers the heady Saturday nights of regular bullfights with 8,000 packed crowds and sighed as he surveyed the forlorn scene now. The stage is still visible and the raised central pavilion stands proud, although you wouldn’t want to climb it. Whatever you think of bullfighting, it was a big part of Santa Cruz culture and it would be nice to see this iconic building restored and put to good use.

Bullring inside

There are just memories left behind, no ghosts, but when you slice into one of El Buraderos juicy steaks, you could be forgiven for hearing the stamping of hoofs and the snort of fiery nostrils.