Cafebars

© Michelle Chaplow Cups

 

One of the delights of living in Andalucía or, indeed, anywhere in Spain is the many excellent pavement cafés and bars and in particular, their delicious coffee and inexpensive prices. Few countries (if any) can match Spain for the variety, quality and economy of its watering holes. Drinking habits vary considerably from region to region, although it isn't uncommon to see Spaniards drinking wine or beer at breakfast time or taking a brandy with their morning coffee (a common continental habit).

Bars

Spain's cities and resort areas contain a wealth of bars and pubs and Malaga is known as having more bars per square metre than any other city in Europe! The bars you can find throughout the cities and resorts of Andalucía include cocktail bars, piano bars, disco bars, live music bars, bar-cafeterias, bar-restaurants, cabaret bars, casino bars, beach bars, bodegas, tavern, mesónes (a bar specialising in serving wine and tapas), tascas, cervecerías (a bar specialising in beer), gay bars, roof top bars and a huge variety of foreign bars and pubs.

For homesick Britons there are numerous pseudo British bars in the Costa resorts, almost always equipped with huge satellite television systems showing English football, cricket and other sports events.

Television can be even noisier in Spanish bars, where customers are fed a constant diet of soccer, bullfights, game show and dubbed foreign films. Note that it's cheaper to drink while standing at the bar; sitting at a table may be 50% more expensive and a table on a pavement terrace can double the bar price. You may not be allowed to buy a drink at the bar and take it to a seat outside. Eating at a bar is also cheaper than at a table.

Closing time is usually when the owner decides to shut up shop or when the last customer goes home, which is generally in the early hours of the morning, however depending on local (noise) regulations terraces may close earlier.

Cafés

Traditional café life can still be found in Spain, where a café is rarely simply somewhere to grab a cup of coffee and a pastry. Its myriad roles include a locale in which to read the newspaper, a convenient place to make a telephone call or somewhere simply to pass the time and watch the world go by. To attract the attention of a waiter (camerero) or waitress (camarera) in a busy bar or café, it's customary to call out "attention please", although it seems pretty rude until you get used to it! In Spanish this is "oiga, por favor". In small cafes and family bars you will usually be served by the landlord or landlady who won't accept tips. Tipping is, however, common in bars, although minimal when compared to other countries and often consist of the small change left in the saucer.

Coffee

Spain is a mecca for coffee lovers and Spanish coffee is invariably superb and the best value in Europe. Read more  >

Tea

Black tea is not nearly as popular among Spaniards as it is among the Brits and will generally consist of a cup of hot water and a tea bag. A better option are herbal teas such as camomile, mint and linden blossom which are widely available.

Soft Drinks

A wide variety of non-alcoholic soft drinks - refrescos, are available in Spain, including ubiquitous international brands, such as Pepsi, Coca-Cola and Seven-up. Other common drinks include sweetened fruit juice, fresh juice, iced fruit juices made from fruit syrups and bitter kas. Mineral water is sold either sparkling (con gas) or still (sin gas). A popular thirst-quenching drink is a horchata de chufa, which is made from the tuberous root of the chufa and served with crushed ice.

Beer

Beer is very popular in Spain and many Spaniards prefer it to wine - somewhat surprisingly. In general, a bar serves one brand of local draught beer and possibly a few different bottled beers. A cerveceria is a bar that specialises in beer and usually has several brands on tap and a wider range of imported bottled beer than is normally found. Draught beer is generally cheaper than bottled beer and costs around 1,2 € for a small glass (caña) slightly more for a larger tube shaped glass (tubo) More>

Wine

Wine (vino) is sold by the glass (copa) in bars and cafés and is ordered by simply asking for a glass of red, white or rosé. If you don't specify the colour, you will usually be served red. It's very cheap by northern European standards, costing as little as 1,5 €  for a glass of house wine. Table wine is often drunk mixed with sparkling mineral water, called tinto de verano. Sherry (jerez) is popular throughout Andalucía, particularly at the annual ferias held in virtually all the villages and towns. More>