The Best Bars in Malaga, Spain

Málaga is the vibrant, cosmopolitan capital of Spain's Costa del Sol
Málaga is the vibrant, cosmopolitan capital of Spain's Costa del Sol | © Arco Images GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

Malaga claims a glorious stretch of the Costa del Sol for its own – anointing it with leafy promenades, a bustling port and golden sand beaches – and crowning the seaside peak of Gibralfaro with a Moorish Castle. As you can imagine, there are some spectacular views to be had in Malaga, never prettier than with a drink in hand.

La Tranca

Bar, Spanish, Tapas
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La Tranca – one of Málaga’s best local bars
© Encarni Novillo

If you’re wondering where to start a night out in Malaga, look no further than La Tranca, which is tough to beat on atmosphere. The small space is filled with the sound of Spanish pop music: both modern and from days gone by. Often, even the waiters sing. On top of this service with a song, there are excellent drinks options, with the house specialty here being the homemade vermouth.

Antigua Casa de Guardia

Bar, Pub, Wine Bar, Nightclub, Bodega, Spanish
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Antigua Casa de Guardia, wine bar
© Peter Forsberg / Europe / Alamy Stock Photo

On entry to this antiquated tavern, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve stumbled into a warehouse. Huge oak casks commandeer one side of the room, with a row of tiled, wooden-top benches down the middle serving as a bar, of sorts. There is only a single beer tap here, because most people come for the local sweet wines and sherries poured directly from the barrel. The bill is chalked onto the bar where you stand and amended every time you order something new.

Los Patios de Beatas

Restaurant, Wine Bar, Spanish, $$$
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Wine making in Malaga was first documented in the Roman era. There are two local wine regions – known as D.O. Sierras de Málaga and D.O. Málaga – and Los Patios de Beatas is the type of wine bar where you can try plenty of them from among the hundreds of wines available. The traditional type of Malaga wine is a sweet white produced from moscatel and Pedro Ximénez grapes, of which they have a number of options you can order by the glass, alongside classic seafood tapas such as anchovies.

Chiringuito El Cachalote

Bar, Spanish, $$$
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Sardines grilled on a stick.. Image shot 04/2013. Exact date unknown.
Courtesy of MURILLO LARA MARIA LUISA / Alamy

An important word you should note if you’re planning to spend a healthy amount of time by the beach anywhere in Spain is chiringuito. These beach shacks are glorified by their purveyance of chilled beverages and hearty tapas which, particularly in summer, act as the perfect counterpoint to the heat. Chiringuito El Cachalote, on the central Playa de la Malagueta, has a large, covered beach terrace and serves up plates of grilled boquerones (anchovies – a Malaga specialty) with condensation-covered glasses of chilled beer.

La Terrazita Gibralfaro

Bar, Spanish, $$$
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La Terrazita Gibralfaro_0c88e258
Courtesy of Hotel Parador de Málaga Gibralfaro / Expedia

The special thing about La Terrazita is its location, in the middle of Gibralfaro Castle, which sits atop a hill with expansive views over Malaga and the Mediterranean. The walk up can be tiring, particularly in the summer heat, making La Terrazita a very welcome place to grab a cold drink on arrival. The terrace itself is shaded and surrounded by trees, but you can still get a partial view of the city from there.

La Terraza de Valeria

Bar, Spanish, $$$
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If you want a bar with a view that doesn’t require the climb first, La Terraza de Valeria, atop the Room Mate Valeria hotel, is open to non-guests and enjoys a commanding position over the waterfront. Fruit smoothies and classic ice-based cocktails such as daiquiris and mojitos are popular choices during the day on the al fresco terrace. In the evening, when the city lights glisten on the waters of the port, take it up a notch with a passionfruit martini.

El Rincón del Cervecero

Bar, Spanish
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Light Refreshing Summer Craft Beer in a Pint Glass
© Brent Hofacker / Alamy

Malaga’s very own Soho neighbourhood is the city’s hub for modern art, underground culture and trendy nightlife. As such, you’ll find the best craft beer here at various sites, although none can quite top the choice available at El Rincón del Cervecero. There are around eight draught beers at any time, four of which are selected from Malagueñan breweries (occasionally including their own collaborations) and a few hundred bottled or canned beers, listed using a top-rate classification system to help you find your new favourite tipple.

CalYCanto

Bar, Restaurant, Spanish, $$$
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CalYCanto_PARA VENDER LA FUERZA DEL FLAMENCO
Courtesy of Espectáculo Flamenco en Vivo en Málaga - Flamenco CalYCanto.

Malaga is one of the best cities in Spain to catch a flamenco show and the exterior of CalYCanto sets the scene immediately. Old flamenco and bullfighting posters are rendered in tile on the facade whilst within, the entire bar is transformed by the passionate energy of two flamenco shows a night from Thursday to Saturday. Food and drink are supplied as part of the ticket price. The boquerones en vinagre are served literally swimming in vinegar sauce.

Sala Premier Centro

Bar, Spanish, $$$
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Having a drink at the bizarre pub, Sala Premier Centro, is like being part of an interactive movie set. Interior partitions of thick, carved wood, a large fake tree, larger-than-life statues of fantasy knights and booths shaped like classic cars are just some of the creative interior features that nod to Hollywood films such as Lord of the Rings and Tombstone. The drinks list is vast, particularly when it comes to gin and whisky.

Chester & Punk

Bar, Spanish, $$$
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Mixology is an art form at Chester & Punk, in more ways than one. There are original concoctions such as pepinaso! which includes, among other things, lime juice, melon and cucumber syrup and white rum. Even the classic cocktails have a Chester & Punk twist; the mai tai Nutella speaks for itself. On top of that, each cocktail has its own backstory outlining its inspiration. Live music adds another dimension to this bar on most nights of the week.

Looking for somewhere to stay? Book into one the best family-friendly hotels in Malaga, or treat yourself to one of the top wellness and spa stays nearby. From things to do at night to the best day trips, we’ve got your itinerary covered.

These recommendations were updated on August 30, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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