|The Blue Cockerel (foto:gentedejerez)|
Monday, 19 October 2015
The Gallo Azul
Anyone who has visited Jerez will have seen this iconic building “the Blue Cockerel” right in the beating heart of the city. It was completed in 1929 and was a gift to the people of Jerez from Pedro Domecq to mark the Exposición Iberoamericana in Sevilla of that year, and has always been a bar and restaurant which could promote the products of the Domecq Bodegas.
The city council had wanted to improve the awkward corner of Calle Larga and Calle Santa María to provide more public space and demolished Calle Larga No. 2, a rectangular building. At a plenary council meeting on the 27th March 1927 it was agreed that building permission on this site should be granted by competition to whichever person or company could produce an important building in terms of its design and construction within a year. The price of the site was 6,000 pesetas.
The competition was won by Domecq who appointed Aníbal González Álvarez Ossorio from Sevilla as their architect. He was famous for the beautiful Plaza de España in Sevilla, built in 1928 for the Exposición, and was also involved in the Jerez railway station façade of 1927, both designed in a mix of Neo-Mudéjar and Art Deco styles with abundant tilework from the famous factory Mensaque & Rodriguez of Triana (Sevilla). The Gallo Azul, on the other hand, is constructed in brick and its design has a wonderfully simple classical Neo-Mudéjar elegance which fits beautifully on the site, yet the only tilework is the name of Pedro Domecq along with his coat of arms on a sort of cupola at the very top.
The name of the building refers to a painting by local artist José Luís Torres as part of the decoration, and it still hangs above the bar counter. There are three semi-circular storeys but only the lower two are used for catering, the ground floor with its ionic marble columns being for drinks and tapas while the first is more of a restaurant, where from a window seat you can watch Jerez go by.
In 1934, five years after the Gallo Azul was erected, the council held another competition for a signpost to stand outside. Pedro Domecq again submitted the winning idea which was a tall twin-faced clock which you can’t miss, resembling a lamp post fitted with signs and three lights. After Pernod Ricard took over Allied Domecq they sold the Gallo Azul in 2008 to local man, Carmelo López who owns it to this day.