Sunday 18 January 2009

A Year Of Speaking Englishly

By Richard Morley.

It’s nice to be part of something successful!

In January 2008 a friend of mine, Mike Monroy, started a series of Friday evening meetings in which anyone from anywhere with a will to improve their conversational English could come and meet with native speakers and do just that. By the end of the month he had roped me into helping him (he’s very good at that!), and later the team expanded to include a number of wonderful people. A year later we have just celebrated our first birthday.

What you get is what it says on the box. Speaking English.

We meet in a bar in the Calle Santa Cruz de Marcenado called the Restaurante Salmantino.

On a typical evening this is what happens. Meetings begin at 8pm (that’s 20:00 in Spanish!) and people start to drift in from 7:30 onwards. From 8 we will talk, play silly games, tell stories, have quizzes and more than anything else, it seems, we laugh.

We finish around 9:30, but no one goes home. In the bar the conversation continues and continues. Some people have boasted that they were still there at 2am – still talking English.

A year ago an average evening consisted of no more than seven or eight people. We celebrated our anniversary by trying to find more chairs for people to sit on. Last Friday we had almost forty people.

We don’t do anything really special, except provide a comfortable place for people to meet. There is no charge. Except for the official hour and a half, we don’t even insist that the language of conversation is English – but it is.

Those who come tell me that the Friday evenings are very necessary for them to continue practising their English. Some do have to use the language at work, but many others do not, and for them the old adage of “Use it or Lose it” is particularly true.

Like everywhere else in the world at the moment, there is an economic crisis. This means jobs are on the line. Spain is no different and jobs are tenuous if you have one and difficult to find if you haven’t. One industry that does not seem to have been affected by “La Crisis” is that of teaching English. Speaking the language is seen very much as an important qualification. So perhaps that is why we are so popular. It is certainly not my bad jokes.

Whatever the reason, the English Speaking Group typifies Madrid. They have to be the nicest and friendliest group of people I have ever met. If you are visiting the city and want to meet instant friends, then come. If you are Spanish and want to practise your English, then come. Right then, that means no one has any excuses. See you there. You will be very welcome.


Meets every Friday evening in the Madrid city centre (8:00pm-9:30pm)
Restaurante Salmantino,
C/Santa Crus de Marcenado, 13,
Metros San Bernado(L2), Bilbao (L1 & L4)  Parking: Glorieta Bilbao
Point of contact: Richard Morley
Address updated in in June 2010 due to a change of venue.


  1. I had a great evening when I popped in to the ESG last time I was in Madrid, I can recommend the experience to everyone - good beer, good tapas but most of all great company,

  2. Hi! Looking in google for “English Speaking Group Locandita” I found this page. And I found myself in one of the pictures! That was my first day in Locandita and yesterday I went for third time. You are doing a great job.

  3. Thank you. We do our best. Keep coming!!

  4. It is indeed an excellent program that works through you and your efforts.
    Congrats on your first of many birthdays Im sure ;)

  5. Thanks Dade. That is indeed praise for an amateur from a professional. We do our best.

  6. It´s a fun way to spend an evening, I can vouch for that. Or so far for me, 4 Friday evenings in a row.
    Thanks for keeping it going! Here´s to year 2.