From super-cool chiringuitos to slick cocktail joints, here’s our selection of the best bars in Tarifa, Andalusia.
Tarifa in southern Spain is legendary for its bohemian nightlife, so there’s plenty of choice if you’re looking for a bar to have a couple of drinks to start your evening. Read on for our pick of the best bars in this trendy surfing town.
Located in the centre of Tarifa’s bohemian old town is Surf Bar Tomatito, a popular start-of-the-night joint among locals and visiting surfers. The idea is that you come here at about 11pm to knock back cocktails or beers and play table football – Spain’s most popular bar game – before heading onto a club until breakfast calls. Surf Bar also stages live music every Thursday evening.
With a style somewhere between Mexican restaurant and chiringuito-chic, Taco Way is one of the hippest nightspots in Tarifa, never closing before 2am. It’s always packed between 8pm until 11pm, when all the cocktails are a bargain €3 each (don’t leave without sampling the daquiri or the mojito). Soak up the alternative vibe in the lively bar room or seated at one of the terrace’s multicoloured tables.
Often singled out as Tarifa’s best tapas bar, El Lola is the place to be in the early evening in old town. Out on the expansive terrace or in the classic-meets-contemporary interior, you can enjoy some of the best tuna (atún) dishes for miles around, from sashimi de atún to atún barbacoa. Super-friendly staff and live flamenco only add to the appeal of this Tarifa institution.
Enjoy classic Spanish tapas such as albondigas (meatballs) at El Francés
Vying with El Lola for the accolade of Tarifa’s best tapas bar is El Francés, a place so popular that getting a table after about 8pm is frequently impossible. As well as a lively ambience, people come here for the fish and seafood: must-trys are the tuna meatballs and rice with prawns, baby squid and seasonal vegetables. Arrive early to get a seat as telephone reservations aren’t taken.
For a real taste of Tarifa’s bohemian-chic nightlife, head to Teteria de Tarifa, an open-air lounge in the centre of the old quarter. All cocktails are €4 before midnight, then go up to around €7 each. Comfy outdoor seating areas and intimate corners make La Teteria a perfect date venue; and if all goes well, you can stroll over the road and carry on the night at Mombassa.
Los Melli is one of the best places to head for early-evening tapas for the opening stage of an epic Tarifa night out. Star snacks are the tuna meatballs (made with locally-caught fish), the cuttlefish croquetas and the patatas bravas, all of which can be enjoyed in a tiny bar room or on the outside tables. If you do want to sit down, though, arrive in good time, otherwise you might be in for an hour-plus wait.
Situated on the gorgeous Playa de Valdevaqueros, 10 kilomtres north of Tarifa, Tumbao is one of the coolest chiringuitos on the Costa de la Luz. It’s perfect any time of day, whether for lunch (try the burgers), a few afternoon beers or to lounge on one of the beanbags with a mojito as the sun sets. And even though the nearby beach is buffeted by strong winds, Tumbao is cosy and sheltered.
For a taste of Italy in Tarifa, head to La Burla, a welcoming tapas joint overlooking the port. The home-cooked menu features Italian staples such as lasagne as well as dishes in line with Tarifa’s beachside location, delicious octopus tart being a prime example. A flavour-packed seafood linguini combines both influences. With tapas from €2 and raciones from €5, it’s also one of Tarifa’s best-value tapas bars.
La Diosa is one of the old town’s chicest cocktail joints – a place where surfers from all over the world mingle after a day on the waves. Copas of the highest quality can be enjoyed in an interior of whitewashed walls, soft blue lighting and tropical-looking plants, or on a terrace that occupies one of Tarifa’s prettiest squares. Prices here are a little higher than elsewhere, but the stylish setting is worth it.
For many locals, tiny Bendito is the best cocktail bar in Tarifa. Along with tasty cocktails – the G&T is said to be outstanding – people come here for decent music and a friendly atmosphere; indeed, so cosy is the bar room that it’s practically inevitable that you’ll make new friends by the end of the night. There are also some high tables outside – perfect for those hot Tarifa evenings.