Any amount of time spent in Granada wouldn’t be complete without a proper night out in town, partying or tapa-hopping Grana’ino ‘tyle.
The options available for each pastime are numerous, especially as there are eight barrios neighbourhoods within the city, each with something to offer. El centro, el albaícin and el realejo draw the largest crowds for their bigger, busier and in most cases closer bars and clubs, though there are several high-quality haunts on the fringes of town, such as Ronda’s Sala El Tren (Carretera de Málaga, 136, nave, 7) – probably the best live music venue going in Granada.
Party time | Craig Morey
Top tapas bars are scattered all around the city, though again, the majority are found in the centre, meaning that you won’t have to wander very far. For more info on those check out the GranadaSpain Tapas 10.
Bars in El Centro
Calle Elvira is the beating heart of Granadino night life, thus, is continuously swamped with punters lurching from one buzzing tapa bar to the next. When the kitchens call it quits for the night, people – usually drunk – want to dance. This is nearly always possible at El Son (Calle Juaquin Costa, 13) with its upstairs bar, downstairs disco and late, late closing time. It is a brilliant example of how people in Granada will dance to practically anything; an old Lee Scratch Perry dub-plate followed by a thrashing Motorhead record wouldn’t be considered odd. Being blind drunk before entering isn’t an essential requirement, but it helps.
Down a side-street off the other end of Elvira are Miniclub (Calle de los Naranjos, 4) and Pata Palo (Calle de los Naranjos, 2), both nearly almost always filled to capacity. On a Friday night, you will doubtless spend a good twenty minutes shoving your way through the scrum before you are served at either bar, but the vibe inside both is as about as Spanish as it gets: think mass, screaming sing-alongs to wild, never-heard-of-before Spanish songs, some wobbly table dancing and a bottomless supply of chupitos shots.
Over the other side of Gran Vía de Colón – Granada’s main intersection – Entresuelo (Plaza San Augustin, 2) blares out hours of reggae and dancehall at the weekend and boasts one of the best atmospheres in town. Then there’s Plantabaja (Calle Horno de Abad, 11), a modern bar whose basement – la planta baja – regularly hosts some of Spain’s best, underground talents and tribute acts who are often almost as good as the real thing.
Another great fixture on the Granada scene is Booga Club (Calle Santa Barbara, 8), a blues, dub and reggae bar/club also renowned for its excellent live music, and Afrodisia (Calle de Almona del Boquerón, 10), a groovy, sixties-loving sort of place and Booga’s unofficial warm-up bar.
If cheap is what you’re after, head to Pedro Antonio de Alarcon, a long, straight, one-way street, which at its far end becomes inundated with busy, student packed bars, crowded kebab houses and chockfull chupiterías shot bars. Take La Marisma (Calle Pedro Antonio de Alarcón, 87) for example. Here, large jarras jugs are sold for €1.60, hence the unyielding glut of bodies in the room. Each beer is served with a small plastic cup of salty pipas, the shells of which are promptly bitten off and spat out, creating a swathe of crunchy carpet that has to be seen to be believed. But that isn’t actually possible until everybody leaves.
Alhambra – Granada’s favourite beer | Bachmont
Bars in El Realejo
Known as ‘la zona de los guiris’ by some of the locals, the nightlife in El Realejo is geared slightly more toward an international crowd. There are enough Spanish owned tapas bars around to ensure a traditional quality is preserved – Campo Principe, for example, is loaded with them – but a number of English and Irish run bars give the barrio a distinctly foreign or – as is the case for us guiris foreigners – pleasantly familiar feel.
The cosy Casa Lopez Correa (Calle Molinos, 5) does excellent food, wine, imported beer and regular expat events, such as intercambios language exchanges, in the evenings. Down the road, Paddy’s Pub (Calle Santa Escolastica, 15) is the perfect place to sink a proper pint, chat with expats and catch some live sport.
After hours, El Realejo isn’t as busy, but for those in the mood, gratification in the form of pounding techno music is available at late-night club Quilombo (Carril de San Cecilo, 21) – if you’re willing to stumble uphill to get there.
Granada lights | Ben30
Bars in El Albayzín
El Albaicín, Granada’s sloping, iconic barrio, faces the majestic Alhambra Palace. By day, the narrow, winding alleyways are swarming with tourists, but at night most descend to the city in search of some less physically exerting tapa hopping.
However, there are several tapas/live music bars well worth staying for. Café Bar Higuera (Calle Horno de Hoyo, 17), for instance, is full of beans on a Friday night, especially when things warm up in late spring. The intimate and garlanded beer garden is an excellent spot to chow down a tapa and clap along with hippies strumming/blowing woodwind instruments with no clear purpose. Other draws include Rincon de Pepe (Puenta Nueva, 1), where delicious wine and home-cooked tapas give the place a hearty feel, and Casa Torquato (Calle Pagés, 31) for something quintessentially Andaluz.
Ten minutes beyond El Albayzín – or Paseo de los Tristes if arriving from Plaza Nueva – is perhaps Granada’s most popular nightclub of all: El Camborio (Camino del Sacromonte, 47). The venue has established itself as a firm student favourite and is usually swamped on any given night of the week, but despite its auspicious location – facing the Alhambra – it leans heavily on the Erasmus student scene, meaning the DJs play little else other than Spanish pop and mind-numbingly repetitive reggaton. It is, however, considerably better than Granada 10 (Calle Cárcel Baja, 10) and Mae West (Calle Arabial, 45) – two glorified and unbelievably pretentious haunts, where what passes for music is genuinely upsetting.
Wherever you may choose to go, bear in mind that when it comes to drinking, there are rules to be followed.
* Looking your friend in the eye when saying cheers or salud! (lest you commit yourself to seven years of terrible sex).
* Not ordering Ron Negrita.
* Pacing yourself, however, is undeniably the most important of them, given that it is custom to stay out much later than what is considered normal going home time in most other European countries – and drinking tends to begin at the same time, if not earlier!