10 chiringuitos on the sand
Sporting the style we've come to expect from the Tragaluz group, coupled with an incomparable seafront setting and simple cuisine built around fresh, grilled fish, rice dishes and salads, this deluxe 'chiringuito' or beach bar sits at the foot of the massive W hotel. It seems to pay tribute to the authentic beach bars of the pre-Olympic days, giving rise to the question whether things were better in the past or simply have to change. High cool factor in terms of the crowd and music.
At the Plaza del Mar in La Barceloneta you'll find the Chiringuito del Mar, which stands out for its wide variety of mid-morning snacks and lunches (the coffee machine starts running at nine in the morning). Menu highlights include quesadillas, classic sandwiches and tapas. Their nachos are a big hit, and they also have good hummus, artichokes and spicy chorizo.
This chiringuito is a joint effort by Carles Abellán and Jordi Escribà, who wish to bring up the culinary level of the Barcelona beach: regular and designer sandwiches, salads, tapas and ice cream. Great quality without paying more than you would at any of the other chiringuitos. For example: great 'patatas bravas' (potatoes with spicy sauce) for €3.50. The ice cream is from the shop run by the Roca brothers, Rocambolesc.
After passing the two towers, we reach Dockers, the second chiringuito on Nova Icària Beach, which has been around since 2001. The look of the place and the service are very pleasant, two things we definitely appreciate. The prices are comparable to other beach bars (the average price of a salad, for example, is 8 euros), and the menu includes pizzas, nachos, hamburgers, prawns and seafood, as well as pasta, rice dishes, gazpacho and desserts beyond the usual pre-packaged ice cream. They also do interesting promotions from time to time. Try their frape, icy cold coffee or coffee with milk topped by a layer of soft foam.
Who says a family of pastry chefs can't make a good paella? At the chiringuito run by the Escribà family, you can dig into all kinds of rice dishes, seasonal seafood and excellent appetisers (the cured Spanish ham 'airbags' are a definite highlight). Make sure to leave room for dessert, because you can't leave the table without having tried one of the cakes or sweets prepared by the family's bakeries. This summer, they're also moving on to the sand with a second chiringuito, Guingueta de la Barceloneta, a joint endeavour with Carles Abellán.
The Moais of Easter Island greet us at the chiringuito Vai Moana, which means 'blue sea' in the language of this Polynesian island. The Moai aesthetic is present throughout the décor, and the cocktail selection is generous: caipirinha, cosmopolitan, Mai Tai and sangría, of course. We're talking about beach bars, after all, and even if the chiringuito has grown up with the times, some classics must be maintained. Vai Moana is one of the few places to have a menu specifically designed for children with choices like macaroni or mini hamburgers, because Bogatell Beach is popular with families. This season, the menu has been updated to feature an 'Espinaler' (a brand of vermouth) platter with cockles, mussels, crisps and olives, in addition to cheese plates, 'patatas bravas' (potatoes with spicy sauce), shrimp cocktail and meat or fish done on the grill or baked, because at Vai Moana nothing is fried.
The chiringuito was once the beach's lesbian bar, but a while back it changed management and was taken over by the Relevant BCN group, who publish the online magazine of the same name. Much like the publication, which focuses on urban art, the chiringuito wants to provide a platform for cultural projects. It draws a diverse crowd, which changes depending on the activity taking place.
After spending a few years on Bogatell Beach, El Chiringuito moved to Nova Mar Bella where it has established a strong presence. They are the earliest risers, opening at seven and closing at two in the morning, and opt for healthy, natural food. In addition to the typical beach bar fare (combination plates, skewers, cold and hot sandwiches), they serve a variety of breakfast options for about 7 euros. The French breakfast; the natural choice with soy milk; or the English version with coffee, fresh juice, bacon and toast. The fruit salad is also popular as a breakfast option amongst the foreign clientele, the bulk of beach bar customers. The bar uses organic products and offers yoga and relaxation classes. The beverage selection is impressive: in addition to the cocktails it serves all day, the bar also makes shakes, fresh juices, carrot and melon smoothies and lays claim to the best mojitos in the area.
Located on Llevant Beach, very close to the Fòrum, the Chiringuito Bambú offers the majority of summer classics: vermouth with a side of anchovies and olives, salads, seafood and prawn skewers, big hamburgers or tomato and ham sandwiches on good bread. During the day, they rent parasols and sun loungers, and in the evening the bar becomes a popular cocktail spot. You can even rent the whole chiringuito for your own party, with your own catering and music. A great option if you want to organise an outdoor party.
The most popular and oldest gay chiringuito on the beach. The bar is next to the small hill that shields the nude beach, now stripped of its characteristic bushes and reeds where more than a few would go for a little fun. The 'Chiringay' usually organises a variety of parties during the summer months.
Far from the beach, 2 chiringuitos in the city
An ideal place for breakfast, aperitifs and lunches in the sun or in the shade in summer, with dishes that are a little more than just a tapa. Perfect meeting place for weekends and weekdays in summer. Beef tagliat with foie and Mallorcan sobrassada with honey are just a couple of their delicacies.
The bar is known as one of the best places in the city to watch the sunset, which is reason enough to check it out. And if you're also looking to have dinner, you can do so for about €15 and try their BBQ combination plate ('butifarra' sausage, chicken, salad, toasted slices of bread, corn on the cob...) or, if you ordered it beforehand, their paella, in addition to other tasty dishes. If you haven't been here before, you're in for a treat!