There’s no shortage of bars in Seville, the beautiful capital of Andalusia. Whether you’re looking for a sleek cocktail joint, a cosy tapas bar or a riverside terrace, this Spanish city has something to suit every type of traveller.
Over recent years, the bar scene in Seville has diversified considerably, with new establishments now offering vibrant alternatives to the city’s much-loved institutions. From its oldest taberna, still going strong after 250 years of business, to romantic riverside terraces, these are the 10 best bars in Seville.
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Situated in the historic barrio (neighborhood) of Santa Cruz, El Rinconcillo is Seville’s oldest taberna. Its decor hasn’t changed much since the doors opened in 1670, with traditional tiled walls and a wooden bar where your bill is written on a chalkboard under hanging legs of cured jamon (ham). Even the waiters make you feel like you have stepped back in time, as they are attired in old-fashioned black-and-white uniforms. Rinconcillo’s tapas are Andalusia on a plate and the menu centres around stewed meats. Be sure to try the carrillada (braised pork cheek) and the fried fish and accompany your snack with a vermouth, the sweet house tipple.
Found close to two of Seville’s architectural landmarks – the Gothic cathedral and 18th century bullring – Bodeguita Romero has been serving hungry and thirsty Sevillanos for over 70 years. In its cosy interior, try a full range of Andalusian tapas, from sumptuous stewed oxtail (rabo de toro) to moreish espinaca con garbanzos (an Arabic infusion of spinach, chickpeas and spices). The bar is small with little space to sit inside or outside, so arriving before Seville’s residents is essential: aim for 1pm for lunch and 8.30pm for dinner. If it’s your first foray into Andalusian cuisine, staff are happy to make food and wine recommendations.
Situated just over the road from the cathedral, Casa Morales is one of Seville’s classic tapas joints. Its exterior resembles one of those grand tobacconists or pharmacies commonly found in Spain (in fact, the building was originally a shop). It’s just as venerable inside, with giant barrels of wine behind the bar and elegant floor-to-ceiling columns. Be sure to sample some Andalusian sherry, from dry, white finos to dark, sweet olorosos. Service is speedy, even at peak times, and prices are competitive given Morales’s location and history.
In the former gypsy quarter of Triana, the other side of the river from the historic centre, is Casa Remesal. Situated on the barrio’s main drag, halfway between Seville’s two most historic bridges, Remesal’s terrace faces the 18th-century Dos Marineros chapel, where residents head in their finest attire on Sunday mornings. In its tiny traditional interior, yellowing walls are plastered with Catholic memorabilia and bullfighting photos. Hustle your way to the bar and order a caña (small beer) and a tapa of the house speciality – caracoles (snails), which are served in a strong garlic sauce with bread for dipping.
Close to the stately City Hall on Plaza Nueva, Ovejas Negras is one of Seville’s most innovative and popular tapas bars. One of several establishments in the Andalusian capital owned by the same company (Torres y Garcia is also worth a visit), it offers freshly-made Spanish and Asian-style dishes, from patatas bravas (potatoes in spicy sauce) and carrillada (braised cheek) to stir fry and a Japanese omelette. There’s not much space inside, seating is around several tables or at the bar, so arrive when it opens or wait for 10 or 15 minutes; it’ll be worth it. Best of all, you receive a complimentary glass of sherry with your bill.
Possibly Seville’s best venue for a date, El Embarcadero is located on the riverside, opposite the 13th-century Torre de Oro, one of the city’s most iconic structures. Its lively terrace is the perfect place for escaping the summer heat and relaxing with a cerveza (beer), vino (wine) or the obligatory Saturday-and-Sunday afternoon copas (drinks). After sundown, it’s one of the most romantic spots in the Andalusian capital, with the lights of central Seville and the Oro reflected in the river’s dark waters. Drinks are a little more expensive here than elsewhere in the centre, but then not every place in Seville has a terrace like Embarcadero’s.
Found just up the road from the cathedral, El Tenderete is one of Santa Cruz’s best-kept secrets. Given the interior’s limited space (there’s room for about 30 people, at a push), you’ll find most of the clientele outside, smoking and drinking on the street into the early hours. Owner Pepe treats Tenderete like an extension of his home, so the bar is packed with his friends at the weekends, and if you’re lucky, a couple of them will sit down at one of the tables at the back, get out their guitars and start an impromptu flamenco concert. That’s usually when the shots (chupitos) start flowing.
The characterful Casa Ricardo is situated near the Alameda de Hercules, Seville’s trendiest nightspot. After marvelling at the traditional Sevillano mosaic on the outside, wedge yourself into the cosy interior, where the walls are plastered with images of the Virgin Mary and historic Semana Santa celebrations. There’s no menu here; instead, the staff explain what’s on offer and are happy to make recommendations. The homemade croquetas are some of the best you’ll taste, and everything at Ricardo’s is freshly-prepared. Vegetarian dishes are available upon request (soy vegetariano/a is a useful phrase when in Andalusia).
If you love cocktails, look no further. Centrally located between the cathedral and City Hall, The Second Room offers not one but two happy hours, from 5pm to 6pm and 9pm to 10pm. The staff are serious about their copas and make an exceptional margarita, mojito and piña colada, to name just three. The Second Room also does an excellent version of the infamous sangria, which all too often in Spain is substituted with tinto de verano – a refreshing but somewhat bland mix of red wine and lemonade. You can enjoy your expertly made drink in the chic interior, or while people watching from one of the tables on the street.
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