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Top 5 bars in… Seville, Spain

Seville, in southern Spain, enjoys baking temperatures in summer, but, luckily, boasts a plethora of bars to quench your thirst. By James Lawrence.

*This feature was originally published in the April 2018 issue of The Spirits Business

It takes a stony heart not to be captivated by Seville. Andalucía’s biggest and most exciting city has been seducing visitors for centuries; one of the first people recorded as falling in love with Seville was the 11th-­century Muslim poet­-King Al-­Mutamid. The place is working its enchantment every bit as well today – stylish, ancient and proud, but also fun-­loving and intimate, Seville has an incredible music scene, and is sacred ground for flamenco lovers.

But above all, Seville is famous for its atmosphere. Walking among its celebratory, happy crowds on a warm evening is an unforgettable experience. The city proudly presents a feast of night­time delights, from beer-­fuelled tapas bar crawls and steamy flamenco, to designer cocktails and live music. Bars usually stay open late at weekends – often past 4am – so be prepared to adjust to the Andalucían schedule, and expect most clubs to be graveyards before 1am. However, before you reach that point, the best way to catch the atmosphere of the city is to plunge straight into the Casco Antiguo (old town) and follow the winding trail that links scores of bars and bodegas.

There are a couple of provisos, though. Don’t expect a clean separation between café/bar and restaurant – Sevillanos are often seen munching small plates in chic lounge bars, and rarely head out to party if tapas isn’t involved. Indeed, tapas bar­hopping in Seville is a way of life that goes on from lunch till bedtime (whenever that may be). Moreover, don’t make the mistake of believing the famous barrio (district) of Santa Cruz is Seville’s nightlife hotspot. Yes, there are some enticing options here, but it’s very touristy, and good bars can be found all over the city, particularly in the districts of Arenal and Triana, a short hop from the centre on the western bank of the Guadalquivir. In summer, dozens of temporary open-­air late­night bars spring up along both banks of the river.

Finally, a few words about flamenco. Hotels tend to steer visitors towards tablaos (expensive, tourist­-orientated flamenco venues), which put on tacky nightly shows that lack atmosphere and class. You’ll have a far better time in one of the bars that stage regular nights of flamenco, usually with no admission charge. El Mundo is a great place to start.

Click through the following pages to discover the top five bars in Seville, Spain. 

Cafe Jazz Naima

Calle Conde de Barajas, 2

This charming (and tourist­-free) bar sways to the sound of mellow jazz and blues most nights. It’s certainly an intimate affair – you could easily find yourself squeezed in next to the drummer, with a hi­-hat crashing inches from your nose – but the drinks are excellent and very reasonably priced. A real find.

El Tejar

Calle San Jacinto, 68

El Tejar wears many faces; in the evening it may vibrate with the sound of clicking heels when the flamenco gets going, but during the day it’s a neighbourhood chill-­out zone, complete with good cocktails, tapas and friendly service.

El Corto Maltes

Alameda de Hércules, 66

El Corto Maltes is the best of a growing firmament of bohemian bars clustered at the northwestern end of Alameda de Hércules.

Another of Seville’s chameleons, El Corto is a laid­-back saloon by day and a boisterous drinking den at night. Its selection of vermouth and gin is particularly impressive.

Fizz Bar

Mercer Hoteles Sevilla, Calle Castelar, 26

Seville’s classiest address, Fizz Bar attracts a well-heeled international clientele looking for excellent cocktails, service and tapas in suitably chic surroundings.

Unlike the often frenetic atmosphere of Seville’s night­time haunts, Fizz Bar is all about serene enjoyment of your mixologist’s bespoke creations – a truly sophisticated experience.

El Tendido

Gran Meliá Colón, Calle Canalejas 1

Another upmarket hotel destination, El Tendido offers exquisite tapas and an extensive range of spirits in the most convivial of surroundings.

It’s the perfect antidote to the madness of Seville on a Saturday night – innovative cocktails, soothing soundtracks and slick service set the scene for a very relaxed evening.

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