«If you haven't been to the Costa, you haven't been to Ibiza». | Toni Planells

There is no specific date to measure the age of Bar Costa in Santa Gertrudis. «My father would have been around 100 years old by now, and he always told me that, for as long as he could remember, the Costa had always been a bar», explains Pep Roig, son of Vicent de Can Pi Roig, who took over the establishment in 1963.

Before the arrival of the family from Can Pi Roig, it was the Costa family who had been in charge of the bar, with the living quarters upstairs. Miquel was born there in 1959, «my parents, Toni de Can Costa sa Font and Maria de Can Tarba, had already been married for eight years, but the house was already there before that, so I estimate that it was built between the end of the 1940s and the beginning of the 1950s», explains Costa. «At that time there was no electricity in Santa Gertrudis and the school was next to the house», Costa recalls of his childhood when «everything that is now the bar rooms were farmyards and orchards».

«At that time the bar did not reach beyond the bar, the wooden fridges were on a wall where now is the passage to where they make sandwiches,» says Joan 'Senyora' one of the oldest neighbours of the establishment.

«I've been coming all my life and I'm about to turn 75», explains the resident of Santa Gertrudis who remembers that «I knew well that time when Toniet Costa and his brother-in-law Miquel Tarba were still there, there were only four more houses around, Cas Ferrer, Can Lluqueta, Can Escandell and Can Alcaria as well as the church». From that time, Senyora describes the space as a place «full of smoke, with the floor full of cigarette butts, there weren't even any glasses!» and where «there were only men, while the women were at mass, the men were at the bar having a cognac, every now and then they would look out to check that they had not yet left the church and see if they had time to have another one».


At that time, Can Costa only opened its doors at weekends and «when there was a funeral», recalls Pepe, who describes the clientele as «peasant people from the village, who worked from sunrise to sunset and who, when the weather was bad and they couldn't work, would gather in the bar, by the fire that was built on the floor, to play burret, raer or manilla while they smoked a little and drank cognac». «At Christmas, when I was a child, there was 'vi espumos' (champagne), but rather than drinking it, what they did was to smash the bottles on the floor. The next day my father had to pick up the pile of glass with a wheelbarrow», recalls Pep, while Senyora adds that «when they threw the bottle up the ass, it bounced all the way up, to break it you had to throw it 'de panxa'».

Pep grew up in the Costa «from the age of six, when my father bought 'sa clau' (a kind of transfer for which a modest monthly fee was paid) of the house and the bar until they bought the building for good a few years later».

After years in charge, Toni Costa rented the establishment to Toni and Jaume from Can Simón, «who took over the bar, especially Jaume, as Toni also worked elsewhere, for four or five years», as Roig explains.

«Jaume had had an accident and I was a 15-year-old kid who had been working at the Barbacoa, where I had seen that you could earn money, see women and listen to good music working in a bar», recalls Pepe, explaining that «then I told my father that I wanted to take over the bar. He told me I was crazy, but I was convinced of exporting what I had known at the Barbacoa».

From that moment on «we did the work to extend the bar, the whole family started to work here: my mother, my father and my sister Maria, and we started to open every day».

We are talking about 1975, «and then the bar was full of hippies in a very short time, the peasants of all times smoking 'pota' at one table and, next to it, another one with the 'peluts' smoking marijuana at the other», as Pep explains with humour.

«I think it was then that the first women started to enter the bar, who were looked at with surprise and who were usually foreigners», says the Costa's owner.

One of those women was Marlise, who arrived in Ibiza 45 years ago and who remembers that «Wednesdays were the day when many of us Germans got together, played backgammon tournaments and drank 'café loco'». Pep explains that «my father used to make café caleta on Wednesdays, which was the day of the Punta Arabí street market, and the 'peluts' would come with money and a lot of partying. I played my records for them and everyone danced as if Santa Gertrudis was a discotheque».

The butanos

Amidst laughter and memories of the time with Pep and Senyora, Marlise recalls another 'species' of visitors to the Costa in the 70s, «there were also a lot of butanos». The Santa Gertrudis resident refers to «a commune or sect of Osho followers, who were on a farm next door for a long time», as Pep explains while pointing to a framed drawing next to the bar, «this drawing by Fulljames shows all the types of customers from that time, the only ones with colour are the 'butanos', who were dressed in an orange tunic and wore a medallion. Monreal also painted them in the painting next to the fireplace».

The Costa's sandwiches are one of the signs of identity of the establishment.

Music, art and sandwiches

In 1976 a French photographer, Jean Paul, and his partner, a Basque woman called Ana, «took a fancy to the bar and rented it with me included», explains Pep. Of that period, Pep gratefully recalls that «it was the one that started to bring in good music, I was a teenager and I loved it».

Over the years, many of the musicians that Pep met at that time ended up becoming clients of the Costa, «Ian Guillian (singer of Deep Purple) was coming and I only found out it was him when he had already left» admits Roig, who has regular customers «like Robert Plant, who still comes here from time to time».

«At that time a German lady suggested we make 'croc mesieur' sandwiches and they were a big hit. Over time we ended up replacing them with the sandwiches that we still make today,» explains the owner of the Costa.

Jean Paul and Ana were barely in charge of the Costa for a year, but they left a mark, beyond their musical taste, that still remains to this day: art. And, as Pep explains, «Monreal was a friend of theirs and he started coming at that time».

As «one of the peluts», the Chilean artist continued as a client of the Costa. «He liked to drink a lot and come with women», recalls Pep, who explains that «he offered my father to paint a mural for him in exchange for the drinks».

That mural, «which caused quite a stir in the village», was the first of many payments in the form of art that Vicent, «who had a gift for identifying things of value», accepted from the artist. «If he sold a painting, with the money he bought him a few more», explains Roig, who stresses that «today he wouldn't sell any of the paintings, they have become part of our identity, many people come for the art, not for the ham or the sandwiches».


«I used to come to play pool and once I had a scare with the cue and the paintings», explains David, one of the Costa's regular customers «since I had the Mobilette and started to be able to come with my friends, at a time when Santa Gertrudis was still 'very far away'». «If you haven't been to the Costa you haven't been to Ibiza», says David, quoting «one of those lists that appear on social networks and that hit the nail on the head with the Costa».

Like David, Víctor is also from Vila and «I've always come here at weekends, although now I come every day for breakfast since I work in Santa Gertrudis».

Vicent and Amparo are from Valencia and come to Ibiza «a couple of times a year to visit our son». The couple, who live in Sant Antoni, say that «we come every day when we are in Ibiza, as there is nowhere else here».

Helena got to know Ibiza in her youth when she came on holiday with her mother. Today she has breakfast regularly with her daughter and granddaughter, Sílvia and Telma. «It is one of the most emblematic places on the island», Sílvia stresses, while Helena adds that «Santa Gertrudis is one of the most beautiful villages on Ibiza».