Bar culture in Spain (I)

Hello everyone, good morning, afternoon, evening or night wherever you are. Spanish correspondent here, reporting from Poland, which may sound kind of ironic but well, as long as the Mighty Admins don’t decide I don’t fulfill the requirements to do this, it’s fine.

Today’s topic is an easily likeable one: bars. Don’t you have that one bar in your hometown where things work a bit differently, like they’ll give you an extra something if you ask for something else? Or maybe a whole town in your country where bar culture is different? What is “different” anyway? How does bar culture normally work in your country? Well, I’m going to give you a very quick introduction of how things work in several Spanish towns.

San Sebastián

San Sebastián

What I’m going to say now doesn’t apply only to San Sebastián (Donostia in basque language), but also to the Basque Country and some other nearby areas. However, I’d say San Sebastián is the best known town when it comes to pintxos. What is a pintxo, you ask? Easy peasy, a pintxo is a slice of bread with pretty much whatever which has a toothpick nailed to it. Pintxos are getting more and more sophisticated, although you can also find traditional ones. Basque people love to go for pintxos when they want to socialize, and there’s nothing better for your stomach and worse for your wallet than having a few pintxos in San Sebastián’s old town.

Yummy yummy pintxos. Photo source:

Yummy yummy pintxos (photo source:

There is also a new habit forming in many villages across the Basque Country: the pintxo-pote. It often takes place every Thursday and it consists in paying around one and a half euro for a drink (pote) and a pintxo. Considering the Basque Country is a quite expensive area compared to the rest of Spain, it’s a really good offer.




It is not very common to start the night drinking in bars, as the price for drinks and the weather often lead young people to drink in the street or at home. Valencian bars are well known for their lunches or “esmorsarots” in the local language.

For an affordable price, you can have a sandwich with every possible ingredient you can imagine, followed by a typical dish like grilled sepionet (cuttlefish), fried potatoes, peanuts or olives. Lunch culture is important in Valencia; proof of this is the twitter account @esmorzarpopular.

Grilled sepionet doesn't look bad either. Photo source:

Grilled sepionet doesn’t look bad either (photo source:



As in many other Spanish towns, it’s very common to meet your friends in the street and eat some tapas (which are basically small portions). Life in Barcelona cannot be understood without having some aioli potatoes and a caña (small beer) with your friends in some lost little square in the picturesque district of Gracia. The variety of tapas may not be as wide as in, for example, San Sebastián, but sitting in a terrace and having a beer is something everyone must do in Barcelona.

Chilling in Gracia. Photo source:

Chilling in Gracia (photo source:

There are obviously more towns I’d like to eventually talk about (Granada! You don’t want to miss that one) but the article would be too long for you to enjoy it.

… That’s the official version. What really happens is that I’m keeping that as an ace under my sleeve for the day I’m too lazy to think of a topic to write about. I’m quite the Spaniard, ain’t I?

P.S: thanks a lot to Jon and Pablo for the information and to Tina for correcting my mistakes.

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Cult Spain correspondent
Juan - Madrid

Born and raised in beautiful Sevilla, I now live in Madrid. I'm a huge music lover (I started writing a music blog in January 2014). Travelling, learning about different cultures, walking around (and getting lost), reading and having meaningful conversations are some of ...

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