The Tablaos: Temples of Flamenco


Since their appearance in the early 20th century, tablaos have served as temples for flamenco artists and enthusiasts in Spain, preserving the essence of this enigmatic and impassioned art form. Named after the wooden boards (“tablas” in Spanish) that make up the stage for dancing, singing, and playing, tablaos are distinguished by their emphasis on dance as the central element.

The most iconic tablaos in the history of flamenco have always been concentrated in three cities: Barcelona, Madrid, and Seville. In the Catalan capital, alongside the Tablao de Carmen—which we opened in 1988 to honor the Barcelona-born dancer Carmen Amaya—another historic venue is the Tablao Cordobés. Located on Las Ramblas, it was founded in 1970 by the artistic duo Luis Adame and Irene Alba. The venue quickly became a mecca for flamenco legends of the past century, with artists like Camarón, Farruco, Pansequito, Bambino, and Lole and Manuel gracing its stage in its early years. A few meters from Cordobés, in Plaza Real, is Tablao Los Tarantos, which with 60 years of history is the oldest in the city, offering the best of local and national flamenco every week.

Madrid and Seville, Capitals of Flamenco Tablaos

In Seville, the birthplace of flamenco alongside Cádiz, you’ll find Tablao Los Gallos. Founded in 1966 in the heart of the Santa Cruz neighborhood, it hosted the unmatched voices of La Paquera de Jerez and Antonio Mairena in its early days. Near Los Gallos, nestled between La Giralda, the La Maestranza bullring, and the Torre del Oro, is tablao El Arenal. In 1995, the New York Times described it as the corner with the most authentic flamenco in Spain.

Madrid also hosts a large number of tablaos, , including El Corral de la Morería, the only tablao in the world with a Michelin star. It is also the only venue to have been awarded the title of Best Tablao in the World by the Prado Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, and the Reina Sofía Museum. It is one of the oldest in the capital, having opened in 1956, alongside other longstanding venues like Torres Bermejas and Tablao 1911 (formerly Villa Rosa). These historic tablaos coexist with newer establishments such as Tablao de la Villa (located at the former Café de Chinitas) and Flamenco de Leones, both of which opened in 2022.

Sacred spaces for the Artists

In 2020, due to the difficulties brought by the pandemic, 16 tablaos from across Spain joined forces to found the National Association of Flamenco Tablaos of Spain (ANTFES), the first in history. The association’s initial objectives focused on addressing the obstacles posed by the closure of venues due to COVID-19. Shortly after its creation, singer Rosalía—trained in singing at ESMUC and the Taller de Músics in Barcelona, and deeply rooted in the city’s flamenco circles—made a video for the ANTFES account expressing her support. This endorsement significantly boosted the association’s visibility and impact. “All the tablaos in Spain are temples for flamenco artists, sacred spaces that help keep this music alive. From here, I want to send them all my support,” she said on her Instagram account.

Tablao: synonym for Flamenco

Rosalia, before the boom that catapulted her to stardom, showcased her talent at several of Spain’s historic tablaos, including Tablao de Carmen and Casa Patas. During the TVE program “Caminos del flamenco,” she confided in Miguel Poveda, expressing that her 2016 concert at Casa Patas was the moment in her career when she felt most connected to herself. “At first, I was so intimidated to sing in a place like that, that I said to myself, ‘Okay, I’m going to forget it.’ For a moment, I forgot, and then I felt,” the Catalan explained. Despite the closure of Casa Patas, an emblematic venue, in 2020, tablaos are far from fading away. On the contrary, they are thriving and multiplying. In April 2024, Tablao Cordobés inaugurated a new establishment on the same Rambla: Tablao El Duende.

The Association also acted as a catalyst for the Ministry of Culture, urging the inclusion of flamenco in school curricula and advocating for the formal recognition of tablaos as “Intangible Cultural Heritage of General Interest for Our Country.” This call recognizes the pivotal role these venues play as homes of singing, guitar playing, and dancing, essential elements of our national music. As the ANTFES motto aptly states, few words are more intimately connected to flamenco than the word “tablao.