From traditional neighbourhood joints to lively beach bars and cosy tapas spots, the best bars in Melilla also offer a wonderful selection of snacks and meals to enjoy alongside your drinks.
Located on the northern tip of Africa, with the Alboran Sea on one side and Morocco on the other, the Spanish city of Melilla offers a true taste of Spain in Africa. Many of the bars here serve tapas, Andalusian specials such as fresh fried fish and Spanish wines. Whether you’d like to sit on a beachside terrace or in the historic centre, there are plenty of watering holes to suit all tastes.
Located on a quiet side street near Hernández park, Casa Marta is hugely popular among locals. With every beer, soft drink or glass of wine you order, you’ll receive a tapa (snack) to accompany it; and if you’re still hungry after your complementary nibble, you can choose from a tapas menu that includes Spanish classics such as gambas al pil pil (spicy prawns) or albóndigas (meatballs).
Cosy tapas joint D’Carlos is one of the friendliest bars in Melilla, with customers saying they’re treated more like family than paying clients. It’s at its best on the weekend, when the bar is packed with a voluble crowd enjoying both drinks and the superb meat and fish dishes on the menu for lunch or dinner. D’Carlos is also a great spot for a chilled tapa and caña (small beer) if you’re seeking a break from sightseeing.
Although situated about a half-hour walk from the centre of Melilla, this old-school favourite is well worth the trip. Whether you choose to sit in the traditionally decorated interior or out on the lively terrace, you’ll be served a free plate of tapa with every beer, glass of wine or soft drink you order. Must-tries are the migas (breadcrumbs fried with chorizo and green pepper) and the berenjenas con miel (fried aubergine slices drizzled with honey).
A Melilla classic, Bar Aragon is found close to Playa de los Cárabos, making it a great spot for a bite to eat after a day on the beach. It offers an extensive selection of traditional Andalusian cuisine, available as either tapas or raciones (main courses), plus decently priced wines and beers. House specialties include the pescadito frito (fried fish) and the pinchos (skewers, usually with pork or chicken).
Stylish El Rincón-Casa Sadia does some of the best Moroccan-style tapas in Melilla, its spicy meat skewers (pinchitos morunos) and couscous dishes being especially popular. There’s also a full menu featuring grilled meat and fish dishes and a good selection of Spanish wines. Speedy and friendly staff service an interior graced with Moorish arches and a buzzing terrace. Booking is recommended.
Interior of La Cervecería | Courtesy of CerveceriaMelilla
Opened by three friends in 1991 and designed to recreate the ambience of taverns from a bygone age, La Cervecería is a Melilla institution, and is particularly popular as a beginning-of-the-night joint. Prop yourself up at the wavy, marble-topped bar, between two grand columns, and feast on tapas and cañas to your heart’s content. Standouts are the mini-hamburgers and the montaditos (little sandwiches).
Melilla’s coolest beach bar boasts a spacious terrace with wonderful ocean views. It’s the ideal spot for some chilled drinks after a day on the sand, especially as there are regular live events, such as dramatic monologue performances and music from local bands. Good seafood and friendly service make hanging out here even more of a pleasure. Like most chiringuitos (beachfront bar-restaurants), it’s at its best during the summer months.
Tucked away in a residential area a 20-minute walk from Melilla’s centre, Mesón de la Hoya is a truly local hangout. It’s the place to go for home-cooked, cheap tapas in a space where you may well be the only foreign traveller. Mesón de la Hoya also known for the quality and variety of its wines – the perfect accompaniment to some of the best traditional cooking in Melilla.
Housed in a section of Melilla’s ancient defensive walls, Los Polillas is a must-visit bar during a wander around the old town. The interior is delightfully old school, and there’s also a shaded terrace, from which you can soak up the historical surroundings while enjoying tapas or fresh fish, the house specialty. Polillas is a little more pricey than nearby bars, but the picturesque setting makes it worth the extra money.
Since opening in 2006, EntreVinos has become one of the most popular tapas and drinking hangouts in central Melilla. Its menu is notable for a varied selection of perritos (miniature bocadillos or sandwiches), available with both vegetarian and meat fillings. A couple of these, accompanied by something from the extensive wine list, make for a perfect mid-sightseeing snack.