Chiringuitos – Barcelona

Location: All along the seafront.

Chiringuitos are those little beachside bars that materialize during late spring and early summer and disappear only once the summer is well and truly done and dusted.

Wherever you are in La Barceloneta or along the coast, if you can see the sea then you are never more than a few minutes away from a chiringuito.

The vibe and décor varies from chiringuito to chiringuito but the essence and the menu is much of a muchness: patatas bravas, a humble salad, nuts, olives, potato chips, cocktails, coffee, beer and granizados. It’s generally all about the drinks here. But mainly it’s about the location. It’s about watching the waves tickle the shore, it’s about letting the sun’s resplendent rays caress your skin, it’s about getting your sparkle back.

They are a great place to idle an afternoon in the company of a much loved tome, to slave in front of a hot laptop as you chip away at your magnum opus, or to relax and dribble on yourself as you watch people go by.

People watching in Barcelona is far more fun than in most other places in the world. You are likely to see the full spectrum of folk as they dawdle by. Athletes in training, loners and their dogs, disgruntled mothers trying to control their unruly brood, sunburned tourists and completely naked men with tattooed penises.

Barcelona is the only place in the world where I’ve ever seen naked men striding happily through a city centre. And I’m talking denuded entirely with the exception of a back pack. And I’m not talking about the ‘odd’ naked gentleman. There have been a few.

In the late spring / early summer people meet at the chiringuitos for afternoon coffees, wrapped in coats and scarves, they chatter at unrecognisable speeds and even if you fail to perceive what they are saying, either because you don’t understand castillano or catalan or because you do, but only when they speak at a normal speed, something about the way they are makes you think that they are enjoying their lives. It makes you wonder if English people would be happy too if the sun shone more often. Even wrapped in layers beneath a feeble spring sun, you can soak up vitamin D.

During the hot summers, the chiringuitos are a welcome respite from the scorching sun. Cool off with beer or granizados. Or my favourite, walk along the coast in the morning and drink green tea whilst losing yourself in the pages of a twisted novel.

The best food option in the area for vegetarians is Buenas Migas very close to Barceloneta where you can find veggie pizza, salads, brown toast and a great choice of herbal teas. They also have soya milk.


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