El Molino, a legend at the Parallel


The origin of El Molino is found in 1898 when the owner of a tavern located on Vila Vilà street called La Pajarera sold it for 100 pesetas. The new owner, an Andalusian, changed the name to La Pajarera Catalana and set up a small stage. In three years time there already was a stable musical programming, a restaurant and a free car service to facilitate the journey from the Ramblas to the place. In 1901, La Pajarera Catalana had found its place in the entertainment world at the Parallel.

After flirting with cinema for a brief period under the name of Gran Salón Siglo XX, in 1908 there was another ownership change and the place was renamed Petit Palais. The new business was designed to bring cabaret shows from Paris adapting them to the Spanish way. Those were the years of Music Hall and this soon took over the the Parallel, whose fame as the avenue that brought together the largest number of shows in Europe grew.

In 1910, the original wood construction was brought down and the modernist architect from Barcelona Manuel Joaquim Raspall (Domenech i Montaner’s disciple) carried out a major reform. He designed an interior configuration that one century later still remains the same. After the famous Moulin Rouge of Paris’ Montmartre district, the name changed once more to Petit Moulin Rouge. Three years later, with Antoni Alstell as owner, the theater name was shortened to Moulin Rouge. When the architect Josep Alemany i Juve put the rotating sails in the façade, in 1929, the Moulin Rouge became the icon of the Parallel.

The victory of the Nationalist side in the Spanish Civil War provoked the prohibition of all the French-like names and all those adjectives that referred to Communism, which forced to change the theater name for the last time to El Molino. The couple formed by Francisco Serrano, owner of the historic theater El Bataclan, and Vicenta Fernández bought the local and gave it back the atmosphere of music hall it had lost in the previous stage.

During the forties, El Molino emerged as the most singular theater at the Parallel, providing a constant lesson of freedom, sublimation of the popular, grandeur of neighborhood and healthy eroticism. Those were the years of the legendary Bella Dorita, the first great star at El Molino. For decades, the spinning of the façade mill’s arms beat the rhythm of the city and well-known artists such as Lander y Leanna, Mary Mistral, Mirko, Piper, Johnson, Escamillo, Christa Leem, La Maña and Merche Mar, among others, would act in its stage.

In 1976, El Molino won the first annual Sebastià Gasch FAD award of the paratheatrical arts, which distinguishes the different and innovative looks to entertainment. However, the greatest recognition that El Molino could never ever get has been the outpouring of love and support that the citizens of Barcelona have shown for the theater since its closure in 1997.

Aware of the huge historical and sentimental value of El Molino, the company Ociopuro buys the theater and starts the reconstruction project. The new company owner of El Molino hires all the professional teams that will participate in the new El Molino project: the company EGI is in charge of the Project Management and the architects BOPBAA will be the responsible to create the new El Molino.

After years of great efforts, major investments and a long and complex process of restoration, in 2010 El Molino reopen its doors, thus returning to Barcelona a local landmark and hope to its citizens.

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Phone Number
+34 93 205 51 11
E-mail: info@elmolinobcn.com
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Where we are

Vila i Vilà street, 99th
08004 - Barcelona
Underground Lines 2 and 3, “Paral·lel” station
Bus 21, 88, 91, 121, D20, H14, V11, N0 and N6
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© El Molino 2016

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