Blink and you’ll miss it, as you’re walking away from the heavy traffic and commotion of Calle La Paz towards the relative tranquility of the Plaza del Colegio del Patriarca. In fact, even if you do see Bar Damas, tucked away on an nondescript little alley, you’d be forgiven for walking briskly by it. We encourage you, however, not to do so. This tiny bar is one of the area’s highlights — the leisure and comfort of a village pub, in a neighborhood otherwise too busy to rest.
Every morning this bar is packed full with people on their way to work. Everyone seems to know each other, and nobody minds the somewhat grimy ambiance of the alley. In the summer, you’ll be lucky to find a place to sit outside, even though Bar Damas offers no view apart from the brick building just a couple meters away.
As to why it’s so popular… it’s difficult to say! The coffee is extremely good, the breakfasts are cheap, the service is friendly. Maybe it’s the combination which encourages patrons to keep returning. It worked on us.
We recently went for lunch, for the first time. It was as delicious and simple as we expected it to be — paella, arroz del horno (rice from the oven), grilled chicken, wine — all the staples of a basic Valencian diet, present and accounted for. Bar Damas isn’t a restaurant of surprises, but of familiar, comfortable food in cozy surroundings. To find the dining room, you have to go into the bar, towards the back, and up a clandestine flight of stairs. Once on the second floor, you’d wonder whether you’ve walked into the proprietor’s living room, if not for the tables.
The menú del día is €9.50, and includes everything you’d probably expect — two plates, drink, bread, dessert and coffee. It’s an excellent escape for busy people, and highly recommended.