Throughout the peninsula there are hundreds of old casinos, places so unlike the idea we have today of the casino such as those of Las Vegas. We refer to these elegant buildings that were also called art circles, scientific circles, forums and theatres. In Águilas, in the province of Murcia, on the shores of the East Coast, the old building is not only still standing, but has become the centre of nightlife at the weekends.
Built over a hundred years ago, in the afternoon the association opens its doors and offers sessions of cultural activities in beautiful rooms with wide ceilings. With names from another time (the hall of mirrors, the cellar) and a white marble staircase with elegant stone balustrade, the ghosts of the former bourgeois lords of the village might be horrified when night falls, because the casino then comes to life and there is no longer a place for dusty shadows, nostalgia or the rancid stench of the past.
In the evening the cellar begins to bustle to the sound of fine music by anything from the Who to Adam Green. We often see local writers taking notes or groups of friends having a cup of coffee, but obviously it is six in the evening and the avalanche hasn't arrived yet.
As the lights dim in the sky, those in the bar come on and the first night goers come to get warmed up. The other part also opens in the evening, the Café Casino with much more noise and madness. A visit to this carnival leaves you with the most amusing images; in La Bodeguilla cellar you feel at home, but in the Café Casino there's a lot more movement. No few people, they say, went up the stairs alone and came down in company.
These are the waves of youngsters flooding the casino in the evenings in search of good music, tired of the habitual rowdiness of most pubs. And although some other places for night goers and vampires have prospered, the Casino, this old shell full of charm and stories, is the only place where you can dance Pop in the 19th century.