Spain is known for its fantastic nightlife: staying out late, eating tapas, going to clubs and bars, socializing with friends until the early hours of the morning. Stores and businesses may close at a normal hour, but the rest of the city comes alive with an energetic vibe late at night. It doesn’t matter whether a tapas bar is situated on a large, busy road or a tiny, hidden cobblestone street, around 10 p.m. the crowds start pouring in and restaurants will be filled with a gentle rumble of voices and laughter for the rest of the night.
The nightlife in Spain is unlike any other and there are certain unique elements that make it an exciting and unforgettable experience.
There are many theories to how tapas were created. Stories range from people placing food across the top of their drink to keep the fruit fly out, to a time when King Alfonso X visited a small inn in the Cadiz province of Southern Spain. Legend states that when the king ordered a glass of sherry the innkeeper placed a slice of ham over the drink to keep the gusty Cadiz winds from blowing anything into the glass. Once he finished, King Alfonso X ordered another drink, but this time he specifically asked for a tapa (or “cover”) to come with it.
Although there may not be agreement on the origin of tapas, we can all agree on one thing: tapas are delicious. They can consist of almost any kind of food: fish, vegetables, bread, meat, cheese, olives… What makes tapas unique is their size, which is about a quarter of a regular meal size. Ranging between 2€ and 5€, these small meals are perfect to share over drinks with friends.
Music and flamenco
A night out in Spain isn’t complete without little music and flamenco. Whether you are walking down the street at night or standing in a tapas bar with friends, you will always hear Spanish guitar and singing in the distance. Flamenco music and dancing also makes the nightlife in Spain so unique and full of life. There are plenty of incredible professional performances to see, but sometimes the best experiences with flamenco are in a more traditional setting: a crowded bar, eating tapas, drinking and spending time with friends. Squeeze your way to the front of the stage and witness an unforgettable display of passion and creativity.
One of the greatest elements of the Spanish culture is the socialization. At night, many Spaniards go out to tapas bars with friends, family or co-workers. Sitting down and enjoying the night with others, rather than spending it hunched over a computer and working, is usually a priority in Spain. This healthy disconnect allows for the liveliness and spontaneity that is evident throughout Southern Spain. People talk, people listen, people laugh while savoring delicious tapas, tinto de verano and enjoying each other’s company. Another exciting element of Spanish nightlife is clubbing. On the weekends it is normal for some Spaniards to go to the clubs and discotheques around 2 or 3 a.m. and stay until 7 in the morning! What makes Spain unique is that some of the “nightlife” ends when other people are just starting their day.
Lindsey O’Connor is Chief Editor at Andalucia Inside.