At night it has become quiet on Palma’s promenade and nightlife mile Paseo Marítimo. The bars are closed. It is also quiet in Tito’s. No queues with dressed up party people wait in front of the entrance on the red carpet of the night club, which sticks to the old coastal rock.
On New Year’s Eve from 2019 to 2020, the last glittering party so far took place in the noble disco. In the spring of last year, a big opening party was to be celebrated after the winter break, but the corona pandemic thwarted the reopening of Tito’s and the entire afterlife on the island. “That makes me very sad. Many of our employees are now going through really difficult times financially, ”says Tito’s manager Jaime Lladó. He has been running the club for 20 years. The Cursach group of companies, to which the noble disco belongs, had not yet recovered from its scandal when the Covid 19 crisis came.
In mid-October 2020 it was announced that Tito’s is for sale for 16 million euros. But that doesn’t mean that this is the end of an era. As early as 2011, Grupo Cursach wanted to get rid of the disco and three other bars in order to focus on business in the coastal towns. Then as now a poker game.
“It is not easy to sell such a property, even if it is an emblematic disco,” says Jaime Lladó. “The group is trying to sell more properties. Because no income has been generated for a year. ”For example, the restaurants“ Asadito ”and“ 800 Degrees ”on Playa de Palma are on the market. With this offer, the Cursach Group wants to increase its chances that at least one deal will come about and thus ensure the survival of all parts of the company.
So does Tito’s continue? “We are ready and are already planning some events, but the Balearic Government has to make the decision when the nightlife on the island can start again,” says manager Jaime Lladó.
The club has been an exclusive address for night owls on Mallorca for almost 100 years and has become an institution. In the 1980s, the dance temple was given its current appearance. The glass elevators with a view of the bay of Palma are a trademark.
“Tito’s is more than a club for tourists,” says Julián Aguirre, society reporter for MM’s sister newspaper “Ultima Hora”, “Mallorcans from all over the islands came here to celebrate.” In summer the audience was international, in winter it was local. Aguirre also spent many hours – professionally and privately – in the disco. We had to write about beauty contests, New Year’s parties and of course the visits of the stars and starlets.
He remembered one night in particular: When it girl Paris Hilton played DJane at Tito’s in July 2017. “Back then, the king’s nephew Froilán really wanted a photo with her and got it in the disco,” says the journalist.
Jaime Lladó also remembers partying nights with Paris Hilton. The hotel heiress visited the club once in 2006 to raise the bar there. She promoted the first Prosecco from a can. “The next evening she came back with her friends to celebrate because she enjoyed it so much at Tito’s,” the club director says proudly. The soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo also met his ex-girlfriend Nereida Gallardo, a Mallorcan model, in the VIP area of the disco.
Lladó describes Tito’s recipe for success like this: Music for different tastes, fixed prices, lavish shows often with an erotic factor, well-known DJs and premium service for the affluent audience. “The VIPs like it when the other guests see that they have money and the other customers can enjoy the demonstrations.”
But not everything could be bought with money at Tito’s. Years ago, Lladó turned down a Russian millionaire who wanted to reserve a table because everyone was already booked. “Otherwise you will piss off regular customers,” he says.
In the recent past, Tito’s luster has dulled. At the beginning of 2017, the police began to scrutinize the Bartolomé Cursach group of companies as part of a corruption scandal within their own ranks. Cursach are accused of drug trafficking, bribery of police officers and death threats against competitors. Lladó was also arrested in March 2017, and was released a little later. He denied that the club on Paseo Marítimo sold drugs, paid prostitutes or organized private parties for police officers.
From March to May 2017, the city administration of Palma will close the dance temple. During an inspection of the building, inspectors discovered structural defects and criticized the fire protection measures. The operators had to make improvements, then the parties continued.
The foundation stone for Tito’s was laid back in 1923. At that time, the Italian Tito Cungi founded a restaurant on Plaça Gomila. The landlord himself sang “O Sole mio” on the piano and greeted his female guests with kisses and singing. Often it was so crowded that there was no table available, especially on the sea view terrace – at that time still without Paseo Marítimo.
When the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, the hustle and bustle was over for the time being. In 1957 Tito’s reopened. The then owner was the Russian Nikita Magaloff, Antonio Ferrer became the director.
Tito’s had a great time in the 1960s. At that time, world stars like Joséphine Baker, Marlene Dietrich, Ray Charles, Charles Aznavour, The Platters and Gilbert Bécaud stepped into the hand at gala appearances. The audience was elegant, the women in evening gowns, the men in suits or even tuxedos. There was a strict tie requirement and champagne was drunk.
“Marlene Dietrich is supposed to have said that Tito’s looks like a circus,” says Günter Stalter. The stage on the terrace was with its back to the sea, partly it was domed. At the end of the 60s and beginning of the 70s, Stalter sold excursions to tourists in the trendy pub as a tour guide. “That was the most expensive excursion we had on offer at the time. It cost 500 pesetas, ”says the long-time resident. The vacationers would have always liked to see the galas, and there was a glass of sparkling wine. “In 1973 after our son’s baptism, we went to Tito’s. That was something better there, the unobstructed view of the sea was great. “
In the 1970s the development towards the disco began, which finally led to the conversion of the elegant ballroom into a club in the 1980s. At that time, with the purchase of the elevators, access to the discotheque was moved to the Paseo Marítimo. Now it remains to be seen when it will open again.
(from MM 3/2021)