Down On The Beach: Chiringuitos, Bars & Clubs
The much-loved chiringuito is every bit a part of Spanish culture as flamenco, Cervantes and staying up all night partying. Essentially little more than a shack in the sand that sells food and cold beverages, the best way to translate them into English would simply be 'beach bars'. But despite their garden shed appearance, and overall lack of bells and whistles, they remain fiercely popular with locals and tourists throughout summer. After all what could be better than sitting on a lovely wooden terrace by the sea with a bit of shade over your head and a sexy senor/ita serving you up ice-cold mojitos and cerveza?
You can find chiringuitos up and down Spain's scorching coastlines, and fortunately Barcelona has it's fair share of beach bars too, starting on Barceloneta Beach itself, and running all the way North via Platja de Bogatell and Platja de Marbella (the home of two gay chiringuitos). When the sun goes down these tropical-style havens don't pack up their bags, but DJs often turn up and impromptu beach parties get everyone in the Spanish fiesta mood.
Unfortunately, due to some such nonsense as noise regulations or planning permission, or some other tedious administrative issue that only an exceptionally boring person in a suit could possibly care about, the chiringuito is under threat of closure. Which as far as Barcelona Life is concerned would be a disaster far worse than a piffling economic crisis... We'll keep you updated with any news, not to mention spearhead any 'Save Our Chiringuitos' campaign if necessary. In the meantime order yourself another jug of sangria and an ice cream and enjoy the views! (Update: they still seem to be going strong! Although wild parties may be a thing of the past).
As well as these kiosk-esque watering holes thus described, naturally Barcelona also has plenty of more upmarket, lounge-style beach bars and clubs for drinking overpriced cocktails in, and flashing your designer labels. Most are positioned in a singular strip of decadent terraces on the end of Barceloneta beach, just under the two towers in the Port Olimpic area, and form an integral part of the city's nocturnal scene. See below for more...
Above: Sipping sangria in the shade...
A small selection of our favourite chiringuitos...
Princesa 23 Beach Bar
Occupying a prime perch on Barceloneta beach, Princesa 23 is rarely less than packed. Drinks promos seem to take place throughout the day, encouraging sun-starved tourists to dehydrate themselves silly. Cheerful and affordable.
Two of Barcelona's best beach huts are run by the Mochimo crew, one on Mar Bella the other on Nova Mar Bella. Further away from the madding crowd the clientele is a more concentrated cross section of cool local customers, taking a break from bronzing their buff bods. Great places to unwind with an iced-sangria or five as the sun goes down.
La Guingueta de la Barceloneta
Proof that the humble chiringuito is going upmarket, this little sand crawler is the baby of celebrity chefs Carles Abellán and Joan Escribà - so don't expect burger and chips on the menu. Rather designer sandwiches, Catalan hot dogs and avante garde tapas. It's easily found by "the cubes" sculpture on Barceloneta.
Other Beach Bars & Beach Clubs
On top of the homely charms of the chiringuito, the Catalan capital also boasts some more glamorous and upmarket choices for those who fancy the appeal of a beach club but don't want to get sand in their stilettos. Most are centred around the nightlife strip on the Olympic Port.
The world's only ice bar on the beach, Ice Barcelona is the number one place to cool off in the city... so if you feel the Spanish sunshine going to your head climb inside for a glacial night out. You'll be given a sleek winter coat and a pair of mittens, then it's time to plunge into the ice chamber and drink a couple of vodkas from a frozen glass. Definitely one of the more unique things to do in Barcelona.
Opium Beach Club
If clubbing on the coast is what you're all about don't miss this place, widely regarded as the number one nightlife spot in the city. Dressed up dolls and divas brave the queues at night, whilst by day the lounge overlooking Barceloneta beach (Port Olimpic side) is a great place to kick back with a cocktail.
El Boo Beach Club
Arguably the classiest spot on the beach right now, El Boo is nicely removed from the overcrowded sands of Barceloneta and occupies a rocky pier in between the locally-frequented Mar Bella and Nova Marbella beaches. With a cocktail bar on the rooftop, a covered lounge and a terrace beach club, replete with hammocks and sun loungers, this is a prime spot for soaking up some rays with Barcelona's A-listers and artists.
For an in-depth guide to other great bars throughout the city, with our editorial brief and public opinion, go to our drink section.
I love Princesa 23. Great drinks, totally crazy staff and the wole atmosphere. I'll be back for sure!
reviewed by Zaneta from Poland on Aug.16.2013
The Las Vegas beach hut is a joke!
We had two sallads and orange juice. The sallads where the cheapest feta cheese you find in the store I honestly think the food they serve is food that fell of a truck, If they would make food from the other beach huts garbage they would be better off.
When we complained about the food the waiter was talking in my mouth and said hear me out cause he wanted to explain to me, when I was asking him for a minute he wouldn't let me finish my sentence. We even complained about the fresh orange juice for 5.50€ because there was nothing fresh about it, it was made from a concentrate. But the rude waiter kept arguing and he was really trying to convince us that it was fresh. Instead of taking it off the check he charged us for water because he said that we drank to much of it if it was that bad. (I had about 1/3 of it)
Worst place in Barcelona without a doubt!
reviewed by Pelw from Sweden on Jul.13.2013
@BB Thanks, corrected.
reviewed by Editor from Spain on Aug.02.2011
"When the sun goes down these tropical-style havens don't pack up -there- bags, but DJs..."
The correct word would be -their-
reviewed by BB from Spain on Jul.28.2011
I ate at the Las Vegas Beach bar and had one of the BEST salads I have ever had. The staff was nice, considering how crowded it was. I have no complaints. Maybe the person who wrote the other review should know that leaving a place without paying for your drinks is not accepted in most cultures...
reviewed by Lauren from United States on Jul.07.2011
Beware the ‘Las Vegas’beach bar right on the sand. the drinks we had were truly revolting. Cheap dark rum, a nasty brown mint leaf, a couple of ice cubes and soda was passed off as a Mojito. The ‘service’ was completely impersonal – we signaled to one of the staff that we would not be drinking the stuff and were leaving and he nodded an ‘ok’ to us ….then we were chased down the beach by the waiter who’d served us demanding payment and telling us we had a bad attitude because we didn’t like the appalling drinks and had told the wrong person we were leaving!!! He even told us we were thieves and challenged us to converse in English with the guy who’d ok’d us leaving , because apparently he didn’t understand English …. Even though we used sign language! !! As we argued the point, a group of male staff got closer and closer which was horribly intimidating – so we paid to escape the argument and nastiness. Disgusting way to treat a custeomr. He even said he didn’t care if he saw us again.! Horrible and upsetting. DO NOT VISIT THE’ LAS VEGAS’ BEACH HUT BAR !!!
reviewed by Lissy from United Kingdom on Jun.22.2011