Dinners are late affairs in Spain, with many Spaniards not sitting down to eat their final meal of the day until around 10pm. This means that the country’s nightlife begins and ends later as well, but in Santiago de Compostela, this practice is taken to the extreme, with many bars not closing until 4am or later. Here are the best watering holes in the city for all you night owls out there.
Live music Courtesy of Borriquita de Belém
Borriquita de Belém
Borriquita de Belém, as a member of Santiago de Compostela’s Old Town Cultural Association, hosts many live bands throughout the year. Pictures of jazz legends like John Coltrane hang on the wall, this is a jazz joint, but reggae, flamenco, blues, and rock can also be heard within. Cocktails, whiskey, rum, and wine from the barrel are served to keep the party flowing. ‘The Little Donkey of Bethlehem’ also has outside seating on one of the city’s picturesque streets. Address & telephone number: 22 Rúa de San Paio de Antealtares, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, +34 653 47 15 51
This pub’s decoration (including a working traffic light) is full of character, being inspired by Michael Ende’s novel Momo, but being a fan of the book is certainly not a prerequisite for having a good time here. Its spacious terrace has an ambiance all its own, with ample greenery, a bubbling fountain, and spectacular views of the city and its monuments. Inside or out, Momo is a great place to kick back and relax while listening to whatever traveling troubadour may be passing through.
The proprietors drew upon the history of workers’ cooperatives when establishing O Ateneo 30, and the importance placed upon collaboration has resulted in a warm and friendly atmosphere at this bar. Here you can drink tea or coffee and dine on tapas at lunch, meet with friends in the evening for a beer or a glass of wine, or have a dance to soul, funk, Motown, and ska in the early hours of the morning. The interior is stylish, its walls of exposed brick adorned with artwork and a mounted bicycle.
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The design of this bar is as enticing as its name. Stone walls are illuminated by LEDs and candles lend an additional glow to the space. A range of specialty cocktails (all made with chocolate, of course) are available at the bar, as are gins, whiskeys, rums, and an impressive selection of wines. Accompaniments to the drinks include charcuterie, nuts, and olives. If an escape out into the night air is needed, Chocolate’s terrace is found on one of the Old Town’s charming streets.
Located in what was once the stables of an 18th-century country house, Modus Vivendi is said to be the oldest pub in Galicia, they’ve been serving drinks and hosting live music here since 1971. Descend the stairs, pass through the stone arches and you’ll emerge into the ‘cave’ that contains an exhibition area and a reading room. Cocktails, coffee liqueurs, spirits, and Galician beer are sold at the two bars, while funk, soul, and groove bands are regular users of the stage, which has in the past been graced by Galician band Berrogüetto and Mick Taylor of the Rolling Stones.
With its founders hailing from Brazil, a visit to Garoa wouldn’t be complete without sampling the national cocktail, the caipirinha, made with the sugarcane liquor cachaça, sugar, and lime. Their award-winning bartenders will also be happy to serve you strawberry daiquiris or their own twist on the standard mojito, with ginger and melon. Their well-stocked bar also contains a selection of other spirits like gin, rum, vodka, whiskey, and tequila. Thankfully these drinks can be enjoyed in an elegant environment of soft lighting and leather seating booths.
Billed as a meeting place of artists, filmmakers, and other cultured types, Pub Atlántico is Santiago de Compostela’s bohemian hotspot. Featured on the long drinks list are such favorites as the White Russian, Rum Collins, Tequila Sunrise, and Piña Colada, as well as iced tea, frappé coffee, strawberry mojitos, and champagne cocktails. Plenty of craft and skill goes into the creation of these beverages, and they even have their own signature cocktail, Flowers from Another World, an inventive combination of gin, lime, violet syrup, and natural flowers.
Santiago de Compostela’s premier jazz club, Dado Dadá, has been operating since 1980. They are the self-styled pioneers of jazz in Galicia, and they have the pedigree to prove it: aside from running their own record label, the club has also played host to Barry Harris and Javier Krahe over the years, while Pedro Iturralde once recorded an album here. As well as jazz, Dado Dadá frequently opens its doors to blues, flamenco, folk, and classical musicians. Magic shows, lectures, and film screenings are also held here at times. Address & telephone number: 19 Rúa de Alfredo Brañas, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, +34 636 75 33 74
Casa das Crechas
The hub of Santiago de Compostela’s Galician folk music scene is Casa das Crechas, located in the heart of the city’s Old Town. Artists from across the world have visited the venue, including Irish piper Davy Spillane, Chilean singer-songwriter Pascuala Ilabaca, and Portuguese folk singer Antonio Zambujo. Add some more international flavor when listening to the latest musician by sampling a Zanfonha Fukishima, a cocktail made up of the Japanese liquor Midori, lime juice, melon syrup, and a beer finish. Address & telephone number: 3 Vía Sacra, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, +34 981 57 61 08
This colorful spot has something for everyone. Esteemed Spanish wine-producing regions like Ribeira Sacra, Ribera del Duero, and Rías Baixas are all represented here, and an untold number of corks are incorporated into the bar’s decoration. Craft beers from BrewDog and Brooklyn Brewery are available in bottles or cans while Warsteiner and Grimbergen are on tap. And if you work up an appetite, Galopín Cantina has you covered: their menu features miniature pizzas, fajitas, salads, scallops, and tapas.