Pamplona, or Iruña in the Basque language, is the capital of Spain
’s northern Navarre region. It has the third largest bullring in the world and is world-famous for the Running of the Bulls (encierro) that is the centrepiece of the San Fermin festival. At this time the entire city is involved in one massive party, but during the rest of the year there are still places to go for a drink and here are the best.
Bar, Pub, Japanese
The Gallipot is a popular haunt in view of Pamplona’s Yamaguchi Park (which was designed by Japanese architects) while its interior decoration is reminiscent of a traditional Irish pub. Guinness is on draft here, as are a number of other imported beers. The bar is still recognizably Spanish in spite of these international influences, with a good wine selection and tasty pintxos, which are small bar snacks eaten in Navarre and the Basque country. Examples are pulpo a la brasa (grilled octopus) and pimientos del piquillo (sweet, chargrilled red peppers).
Address & telephone number: 2 Calle de Ermitagaña, Pamplona, Spain, +34 948 19 64 94
The selection of craft beer here is unmatched anywhere else in Pamplona, with over 200 varieties in stock. Nine taps are operated, six of them rotating, with a new brew added each week. Producers represented among the vast swathe of bottled beers include Sesma Brewing from nearby Sesma in Navarre, BrewDog from Scotland, and HaandBryggeriet from Norway. Manneken Beer’s knowledgeable staff will be able to guide you through their range while you eat your fill of nachos, chorizo, and other treats.
Address & telephone number: 9 Calle Iñigo Arista, Pamplona, Spain, +34 948 25 81 04
Bar, Spanish, $$$
Since it opened in 2008, Infernu Taberna has been Pamplona’s go-to spot for rock and metal nights. The venue hosts live bands on Fridays and Saturdays, many of them local. The bar extends its regional pride to its beer too, providing its patrons with the latest from Navarre breweries Mitika, Naparbier, and Biribil (who are based in Aizoáin, Noáin, and Pamplona respectively). Your eardrums aren’t at risk every night of the week though, as regular jazz jam sessions are held on Thursdays.
Address: 4 Calle San Agustín, Pamplona, Spain
El Rincón de Hemingway
Bar, European, Vegetarian, $$$
El Rincón de Hemingway
This bar honors the memory of legendary writer Ernest Hemingway, who frequented the adjacent Café Iruña during his time in Pamplona. El Rincón De Hemingway isn’t quite as extravagant as its sister establishment, but it incorporates the same art deco fixtures and décor to create a setting so authentic you may expect the man himself to walk in at any moment, were it not for the life-size bronze statue that has stood propped against the bar for over 50 years. Take the opportunity to order a glass of wine or champagne and raise a toast to this literary figurehead.
Address & telephone number: 44 Plaza del Castillo, Pamplona, Spain, +34 948 22 20 64
Established in 1980 by the Wine Guild of Navarre’s first president, Luis Fernandez Olaverri, La Vinoteca now operates two locations in Pamplona. Both shops stock a diverse collection of domestic and imported wines and are the city’s premier spots for wine culture and oenological activities. The clubs Vinarte Club Joven del Vino and La Cata Club Del Vino meet respectively at the Calle Chapitela and Calle Esquiroz branches to host wine tastings, presentations, contests, and talks by professionals. They also run courses for amateurs wanting to take their first steps in the world of wine.
Addresses & telephone numbers: 15 Calle Chapitela, Pamplona, Spain, +34 948 22 10 92, 22 Calle Esquiroz, Pamplona, Spain, +34 948 27 80 06