Grab your toothpick and select a delicious range of traditional tapas for a pre-lunch snack: XXL olives, anchovies, potato omelette, cured meats... Enjoy a cone of fries with Espinaler spicy sauce, a glass of vermouth or a small beer - all at great prices - and let yourself absorb the authentic atmosphere of a neighbourhood social centre. At El Vermutet de Can Gombau almost everybody knows everybody else, and it's not unusual to see friends bring the wooden tables and stools together to make an even bigger group get-together. This is a place with character where spontaneous soirées regularly happen, one of those spots where a real sense of community still exists.
The pleasure of the first sip ('el primer glop' in Catalan) of beer. The foam, those bubbles, the perfect temperature... You can almost taste it, right? Well the range of beers at El primer glop will give you the chance to try pale and red ales, toasted varieties and any number of other types of beer. The barrels are regularly changed, which means you can try beer from around a dozen taps (IPA, Pilsner, Porter...) and a long list of more than 200 bottles both from Catalonia and elsewhere (Belgian, American, Danish, German, Norwegian, etc.). Take a look at the blackboard for the recommendations of the day, or ask for advice - the staff are bound to suggest something with just the kind of malt or hops you like. With so much beer around, it's likely that you'll want a bite to eat to go with it, so why not true their house tapas: 'chistorra' (spicy sausage), potato omelette and toasted sandwiches. It's a real beer lover's paradise in the heart of the Old Town.
Ever since it opened its doors in 1983, Cu-cut has been a favourite among generations of Girona locals as a place for getting together. Café by day and bar for drinks by night, it's hidden down a passageway off Plaça de la Independència, the same way that you used to get to the now-closed Coliseu Imperial cinema. Presided over by an old upright piano, this place will remind you of dozens of roadside bars that you've seen in B-series films, but don't worry – at Cu-cut you'll find a great atmosphere, and an authentic selection of pop, rock and reggae playing. Among the wide range of drinks are rums and whiskies as well as house cocktails such as mojitos, caipirinhas and caipiroskas.
Do you want to have an Irish pub experience without leaving Girona? Head to McKiernans, a bar situated close to La Rambla, and you'll feel as though you've landed in Dublin without having to go anywhere near an airplane. The authenticity of the decor is so spot-on that they even have furniture made with wood from Wexford Cathedral. And the range of beers isn't exactly small: you can choose a traditional pint of Guinness, or something from the selection of bottled beers (Duvel, Foster's, Magners and Leffe, among others). If you want to get even further into Irish culture, then make sure you go to McKiernans on Saint Patrick's Day (March 17), when green top hats and shamrocks fill the pub as part of the celebration for this national party.
'It's the only café with a cathedral in its backyard,' is what they say at L'Arc. And it's true that you won't find any other place with a location and such amazing views as this café, which has been open for more than 50 years. Popular among artists, students and tourists from all over the world, it's a place full of life and splendid decoration, such as the bench made from a beam from the Cathedral. You can also sit on the paved terrace and enjoy looking at Girona's main landmark while drinking a coffee made with fresh organic milk, or, if you fancy something stronger, a snowball, the popular cocktail created in the '60s. And if you're feeling up to it, you could work up an appetite by running up and down the Cathedral's numerous steps, then reward yourself at the end of your exercise at L'Arc with some excellent bread with tomato ('pa amb tomaquet', a speciality Catalan dish), a plate of 'jamón' or cheese, and some patates braves (fried potatoes served with spicy sauce).
There are many kinds of lapses ('lapsus' in Catalan), but this one is a partiuclar kind: a café by day and bar by night that opened in 2002 and will doubtless remain etched on your memory. Its exceptional terrace - on the corner of Plaça de la Independència where the Correus (Post Office) is - is difficult to forget, and any excuse is allowed for enjoying a coffee, beer or soft drink there. At night, it's an ideal place to start the night with a gin and tonic, mixer drink, beer... All accompanied by ambient music during the day and different tunes at night. Forget your routine and enjoy a lapse!
The location of El Sol is a ready-made stop on a tourist route – under the arches of Plaça del Vi with privileged views of the City Hall balcony, just opposite the historical bookshop Les Voltes and easily walkable from La Rambla. But regardless of whether you're a tourist or local, at El Sol you'll find a traditional, unpretentious café that's an ideal place for a coffee, juice, soft drink or beer, and something to eat. The best part? The terrace on the cobblestones, from where you'll have a unique position for watching the main events that take place in the square throughout the year, or can just enjoy a break from the busy city life.
We're living through a new gold rush, albeit a liquid one. Who among us hasn't bought one of those home brewing kits for experimenting in the privacy of our own kitchen? But if you're one of those who basically ended up with sparkling water, don't worry - head to AvBeure, and with just a glance at the menu, your frustration will disappear. They serve all kinds of craft beers, both sweet and bitter varieties. Try flavours with varied tastes coming out of six different taps (Pale Ale, Weissbier, Bianca Mango...), as well as more than 50 bottles of local and international including the likes of Gironese creation Moska and the Belgian Orval. To go with the drinks, they serve 'pinxos' (tapas served on small slices of bread) and tapas created specially to complement the beer. And the aftertaste? It's one of love at first sight.
Café and book. Beer and concert. Glass of wine and poetry recital. Choose whichever combination you like, you'll find it at the Llibreria Cafè Context and much more besides. Since it opened, this venue has established a place for itself not only in the old 'Barri Xino' of the city but also in the diaries of many locals, who go there for a top-quality cultural space with gastronomy, presentations, exhibitions, poetry, small concerts and many other activities. It has a well-chosen selection of wines, beers and liquors, and you can also try plates of cured meats ('embotits') and cheeses, 'pinxos' (tapas served on slices of bread) and salads, among other options. The warm ambience and friendly welcome is all part of the service, as is the magnificent terrace that gives onto the Plaça del Pou Rodó. It's unmissable!
Enter La Terra and you'll instantly feel like getting out your Moleskine notebook and start drawing sketches, writing poetry or jotting down some chords of that song you've been composing. Stories bloom in bars like this one on C/Ballesteries, a place full of creativity and charm. Sit down on the cushions by the windowsill and look at the houses that back on to the river Onyar. If the day's not great, take your time, enjoy a tea, a fresh juice (check out their juice of the day, you might be surprised by a new combination), a craft beer or a home-made hamburger. Even for just walking on the mosaic floor and checking out the decor, it's worth spending some time there.
Just its location is enough to make a visit to The River Café worth it - situated in front of one of the most famous bottoms in Girona (the sculpture known as 'the bottom of the lioness', or 'el cul de la lleona') and the basilica of Sant Fèlix. However, if we add that you can go there for something to eat or drink from 9am until the early hours of the day, that they play great music and that they have a various menus of food and drink, you'll doubtless already be on your way. The kitchen stays open throughout the day, so you can try their famous kebabs ('fletxes' or arrows) at any time, and you'll also find a menu of food suitable for celiacs. If you just want to have a drink you can choose between more than 60 types of beer and around 30 gins. Oh, and if you want, you can go there with your best friend, because they also welcome pets!