© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Why has the face veil become the centre of political debates about Islam in urban contexts? What kinds of experiences and ideas have animated its framing as a practice in need of regulation? Focusing on Spain, we argue that space and emotion are the key categories for explaining the micro-politics of face veil conflicts and that constitute face veiling as an object of contention “on the ground”. We suggest the notion of regimes of public space and highlight three central components: (1) understandings of ideal public space; (2) regimes of urban visibility; (3) emotional regimes. Taken together, these dimensions filter forms of inclusion and exclusion that emerge from regulatory practices and feed into graduated forms of urban citizenship and frame people’s sensibilities. The article also illustrates how the spatial analysis complicates the secular-religious dichotomy.