Leisure in Malaga
The typically Andalucian tapas bars are without doubt the focal point for the city’s night owls – locals and tourists alike – who leave home around midnight and cruise the bars and clubs till dawn.
The bars take their name from the “tapa” or small plate which local people traditionally used to protect their drinks from insects and evaporation. There’s a long history of bar tenders placing a small snack on the tapa – maybe some fried fish, local sausage, cheese or olives.
It’s a tradition which has long since died out in many parts of Spain due to the pressures of modern tourism. But it survives today in Andalucia and is particularly evident in the warm and welcoming bars which proliferate in Malaga’s bewildering labyrinth of narrow Moorish streets.
Spanish proprietors have never heard of licensing hours and tend to close their doors when the last customer is ready to leave. It’s not uncommon to find the locals leaving the bars and clubs at dawn to stop off for a bite of breakfast on their way home.
Here’s some great tapas bars to try:
- Rincón de Mata, No. 8 Esparteros – tucked away in a corner, tapas here are incredibly cheap. They include habas con jamon (broad beans with ham), gambas al pil-pil (spicy fresh prawns) and caracoles (snails).
- Taperia Siglo XX1 in the Plaza de la Merced, 12 – a wonderful old-fashioned tapas bar in the square where Picasso was born. It specialises in local cheeses and Serrano ham.
- Café con Libros in Calle Granada – a popular student hang-out coffee bar with books and backgammon.
- Bar Logueño in Calle Maria Garcia – popular with the locals which means it offers good quality food and represents excellent value for money. There are 75 different types of tapa including wild mushrooms and deep fried peppers. Be prepared for noise, hustle and bustle and don’t bank on a seat!
- Gibralfaro Bar in the Pasaje de Chinitas – a Bohemian-style bar and café with impromptu live flamenco located in the historic passageway leading to Cathedral. The tapas selection may not be as extensive as other bars but there’s a great atmosphere.
You’ll find live jazz on Thursdays at El Cantor de Jazz in Calle Lazcano; for draught Guinness accompanied by Irish music head for the young and trendy O’Neill’s Irish Pub in Calle Luis del Velazquez.
At the Miguel Cervantes Municipal Theatre behind Plaza de la Merced there are regular concerts, theatre and dance shows with some big name performers.
For good seafood restaurants head for the beach suburbs of El Palo or Pedregalejo, to the east of the town where the day’s catch will be prepared to perfection.
Two popular dance bars are Saloma in Calle Luis de Velazquez and Cosa Nuestra in Calle Las Lazcano. They may not be in full swing until 1am but once the party starts be prepared for it to keep going until sun up.
If your visit coincides with the Easter holiday you’ll witness the city coming alive for Holy Week when the streets become a riot of colour, music and processions until the early hours.