The tabancos, centuries-old places, flamenco spaces and the occasional racket, are now gastronomic venues with live shows.

El Pasaje Tabanco
The tabancos offer live flamenco.

El Pasaje ofrece espectáculos de flamenco.

Tabancos were born in the area of Jerez de la Frontera. but for some historians, Sanlúcar could dispute the territory of origin. After all, these are two wine-growing areas par excellence. There is more consensus on the date of appearance: the 17th century. They were small bodeguitas that sold wine in bulk in butts and also tobacco, a product that had just arrived from America and which was already controlled by the state. This mixture of tobacconist and tavern is the origin of the word tabanco.

They were not just a sales site and that was the end of it. The men would come to the tabancos after their working days to have a glass of sherry (manzanilla, moscatel…), but they would also get together in social gatherings until it was time to go back to work or home. And of course, as good people from Jerez, they sang and played flamenco.

Juan de la Plata, a Jerez historian who wrote about tabancos in Tabancos y ventas de Jerez, says that in these places women could enter only to buy wine, but not to stay. Moreover, some tabancos even made windows through which wine was sold to women so that they did not have to enter.


Not that they cared much about decoration, they were more about practicality. They had their wooden bar, the wineskins with the different types on the back, and the barrels as a table. Tapas would come later, with a few exceptions. Tapas would come later, with a few exceptions.

The nineteenth century led them to the crisis due to the liberalization of tobacco; the 20th brought them to the brink of extinction. The 1868 census of the Jerez Town Hall counted some 97 tabancos in the city. At the beginning of this century, they numbered less than 25.

The oldest tabanco to date, El Pasaje, opened in 1925; La Pandilla, the second oldest, in 1936. Both are still in operation, although El Pasaje closed in 2020 and did not have a new owner to reopen until two years later. Something similar happened to La Pandilla.

El Pasaje in Jerez

El Pasaje en sus orígenes.

Tabanco El Pasaje, the doyen of Jerez

Tabanco El Pasaje, el decano de Jerez

La Pandilla reopened in 2013, it is one of the first tabancos.

La Pandilla reabrió en 2013.

The revival of tabancos

When tobacco ceased to be their business, the tabancos became taverns with more or less tradition and changed the epicentre of their business to being places of worship in which to enjoy Jerez wines (amontillado, palo cortado, fino…). Some tabancos are now prestigious “sherry bars”.

And tourists’ search for authentic experiences and some support (perhaps not enough, say the owners of these establishments) within attractive wine routes, has brought them back to life.

El Pasaje has received the title of Espacio de la Cultura Tradicional Jerez from the Junta de Andalucía.This is part of this strategy to promote these places as spaces for socialization. Because in them you can immerse yourself in the essence of Jerez, its customs and character. Going from tabanco to tabanco is what the so-called Ruta de los Tabancos proposes, which includes La Casa de Viña El Correjidor, El Pasaje, San Pablo, Casa San Cayetano, Viña El Carmen and the Mostos Domi and Tejero.