Throughout a frantic year, “things” occurred in each of the months of 2017.
We want to pay homage to 2017 and all the activities that were carried out.
Needless to say, 4 Gats, historically, has always been linked to art culture.
For this reason, it was impossible to enjoy a birthday without art being present and so it was.
There were exhibitions of both paintings and photography during 2017 in our dining room. There was one every month and many of the artists, like Picasso in 1900, were also exhibiting for the first time.
The activities to celebrate these 120 years would not be complete without a solidarity activity and we wanted to connect with the youngest in the house, the children.
When 4 gats first opened, its hot chocolate with churros breakfasts were very typical. For this reason, we wanted to recover them and not only that, to give them an added value.
With this intention, and thinking of those families who are looking for a fun activity to do together on Sunday mornings in the city, came the idea for La Hora del Cuento Solidario (the Solidarity Story Hour), when a popular Spanish figure would tell a series of stories while both the young and the old could enjoy the typical breakfast of 120 years ago.
We thought that surely the benefits of this activity could help some entity that is dedicated to children and so it was decided to give 100% of each Sunday’s takings to the COMTAL FOUNDATION, which works with children at risk of social exclusion in the same Gothic quarter.
Needless to say, the experience was a success in all aspects and the popular figures gave their best.
There was a Sunday morning story hour each month, except for in August, and celebrities from many different fields took part.
We really wanted one of the stories to explain the history of the restaurant, the story of Els Quatre Gats.
Evidently, we couldn’t entrust this to just anybody and so we contacted two great artists, the writer Begoña García Carteron and the illustrator Pilar Vallés, who together came up with La Petita Historia de 4 Gats, a story where the authentic life of our house is explained from that magical 12 June 1897 until now.
For this presentation, we chose Sunday, 14 January 2018, and we held a special Solidarity Story Hour during which the writer read the story while the illustrator drew each one of the characters. The children and the parents listened attentively to each and every one of the words the writer read from the book and there was a look of surprise on all their faces when Pilarín showed what she had drawn in that short space of time.
The morning ended with a book signing session for all those who wanted, with a personalised drawing by Pilarín for each boy, girl, dad or mum who asked.
Carles Gaig, gastronomic and historical reference of Barcelona
With the year of our 120th anniversary about to come to a close, we decided once again to give a nod to art.
This time we thought that within the setting of 4 gats it was and is frequent to see people who, as they have something to eat or drink, take out their sketchbook and draw, sketching what they see around them, and they capture it with spectacularly beautiful drawings. This has a name, “sketching”.
After thinking over and over how to find the right formula to pay a small tribute to these urban artists, we came up with holding the first 4 Gats Sketching Contest. Yes, you have read correctly, the first one. What was to be one more anniversary act was so successful that it will be done again and we hope that it will be repeated year after year with the same success.
The gala dinner was held on 12 June 2017, exactly 120 years to the day since Pere Romeu first opened Els Quatre Gats.
The guests were from very different fields – politics, art, music, science, culture, entertainment, journalism and gastronomy, among others.
Throughout the dinner, we enjoyed the presence of the “reincarnation” of Pere Romeu who welcomed all the guests to his establishment and explained each and every one of the dishes of the tasting menu created especially for the occasion. Jazz and blues filled the room all night until the emotional moment of the speeches, when the owner and person who recovered 4 Gats for the city of Barcelona, Josep Mª Ferré Catasús, visibly moved, thanked all those present for coming and then gave way, of course, to the fantastic commemorative cake.
It was a grand finale to the party and to a magical night that we definitely expect to repeat on 12 June 2022 when this mythical place in our city will be 125 years old.
In 2017, so many things happened but if we have to single out one, it was undoubtedly the presentation of the Civic Medal of Merit of the City of Barcelona that was granted to us by the City Council in honour of the work done during the 120 years of life of 4 Gats for the good of Barcelona.
The act began at 6 pm in the Salón de Ciento of the “Casa Grande”, and family, staff, friends and customers did not want to miss this important moment in the life of 4 Gats and of Mr. Ferré.
Because Mayor Colau was on maternity leave, the ceremony was chaired by First Deputy Mayor Gerardo Pisarelo who dedicated a few words praising the work of 4 Gats in promoting Catalan cuisine. The PSC Councilor responsible for trade, Montserrat Ballarín, made a very nice and heartfelt speech about what 4 Gats has represented in the history, culture and art of the city of Barcelona. A speech full of feeling and emotion. But without a doubt the high point and goosebump moment was when the graphic designer David Navarro, a good friend of the family and resident of Carrer de Montsió, went up to read the blesa, written by him, remembering point by point what 4 Gats really is and means for the Gothic quarter and for the dignity of a neighbourhood struggling between its past and present and striving to find its future, a future that will be reflected in the 125th anniversary of our restaurant and where they will be welcome!!!
In this 3rd edition of what is already beginning to be a classic in literary competitions and coinciding with the 120th Anniversary, we introduced for the first time two categories, a “Junior” category for young writers (18 to 30 years old) and a “Senior” category for older writers (over 30 years old).
In the Senior category, Elena Olivella won with El Préstamo (The Loan) a story about a character with a curious profession, “professional borer.”
Participation was overwhelming with 140 originals submitted by amateur authors of legal age.
The awards ceremony was on 31 May, and was attended by the winners and finalists.
In the Junior category, Sebastián, Ciudad Abierta (Sebastian, Open City) by the young writer Raúl Sánchez won first prize. It recounts the life and memories of Sebastián as he wanders around the city of Barcelona.