Bars, Restaurants and Nightlife in Granada
Bars and Restaurants
Planta Baja Calle Horno de Abad Granada (closed from mid June till September)
Since its opening in 1982 Planta Baja is more than just one venue. Its layout allows for simultaneous activities in separate spaces: hall a (upstairs) hosts small parties and offers every night a musical cocktail open to all fronts, as long as they stimulate relaxed conversation: from underground sounds to bossa nova, from subtle selections of tomorrows’ pop to careful cool jazz or neo bop sessions. Hall b (downstairs) is itself twofold: on the one hand, after midnight, it is a perfect place for dancing, but before, normally at 10 pm, it has always welcomed lovers of live music.
Planta Baja is a club of conceptual sessions: Thursdays is lounge sounds, Fridays, electronicoclam, Saturdays, groovy funkclub. The mix of resident and guest dj’s generates a musical stream as plural as well defined. While avoiding the most extreme electronic tendencies, one can enjoy within the same night, rhythm & blues and raggamuffin’; jazz-funk and deep-house; acid-jazz and jungle. Prestigious national and international dj’s and bands have given their best: Dj Vadim, Dj Food, Chema AMA, Dj Professor Angel Dust, Dj Clandestino , Watch TV, Kid Koala, Ramón Santana , Richard Thair , Baby G, Lord Aswood , Buscemi, Dj Kosmos , Malente, Death Cab For Cutie, Piano Magic, The Silos, Will Oldham, Françoiz Breut, Jon Auer, Experience, The Toasters, Vive la Fête, Mazarin, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, Lali Puna, Dave Gibbs, Ladybug Transistor, The Chevelles, Big Soul, The Sneetches, Elliott Murphy, The Last Poets, Paul Collins, Jonathan Richman, The Bevis Frond, Los Planetas, Australian Blonde, Vancouvers, Sôber, Sidonie, La Buena Vida, Astrud, Ellos, Cooper, Atom Rhumba, Telephunken, Sex Museum, Nacho Vegas, Chucho, Solo Los Solo.
Following a trip compiled by Javier Guerrero and Enrique Novi (the former sound and light technician; the music programmer of the club)
The snow tinted Sierra Nevada screen gives Granada its characteristic light, together with the contrast among the red colours of the town, the deep blue of the sky and the silvery mirror of the hills; the result is a rare picture of beauty, the first of a list that will follow. For this purpose, winter would be most advisable, since this magical combination of colours will be accompanied by a mixture of sounds, scents and flavours. Once accommodated, we should forget about using our car; the intricate urban design calls for the relaxed strolling around. A useful alternative for the laziest ones would be the microbus. We first take you to is the Albaicin area, representing the old Arab quarter of Medieval Granada, recently declared as Mankind Patrimony by Unesco.
Bar Aixa Plaza Larga
In one of its busiest plazas, this is one of the most charismatic tapas and breakfast bars. The facilities include a unique terrace which allows you to spend hours contemplating the itinerant crucible of the local characters. There is Pepe and Salva, extremely kind and welcoming the former, a bit more surrealistic the latter. We recommend breakfast, with the olive oil and tomato toasts. After noon, you shouldn’t miss the tapas and the house wine, home grown in the Lecrín valley, popular prices.
Casa Pasteles Plaza Larga
This coffee bar is well known for its delicious desserts, pies, and ice-creams. Try not to spend a long time there and avoid getting too friendly with the waiters, unless you want to catch a real bite of the malafollá.(arrogant, bad tempered) Its owners used to think that “if you want to piss, go out or go home”. The toilet was always out of work, until the local authorities urged them to be a little more civilized. Such peculiarities are also a part of the underestimated charm of this town.
Restaurante Kiki Plaza San Nicolás
This terrace-restaurant is a must when the weather is mild, either in the winter or in summer. We would recommend the migas(fried crumbs served with sausages or fish),rabo de torro (bull tail), plato alpujarreño (eggs, potatoes, green peppers, chorizo, jamón and black pudding), and the mozarabe style rump steak. Mr. Kiki, the owner, will look at you the way Vito Corleone looked the day his son Santino was murdered.
Mr. Kiki is a genuine owner of that mentioned notorious local attitude known as malafollá. Yet that deeply rooted essence of the granadino personality is something you will have to discover by yourselves…
Casa Juanillo Camino Bajo del Sacromonte, s/n, Sacromonte
The walls are decorated with pictures of the owner with artists such as Camarón de la Isla, Tomatito, José Menese… The house specials include the Sacromonte omelette, aubergines, garlic flavoured pork meat. Juanillo and his family share a passion for flamenco. In this spot you can actually breathe the scent of unforgettable nights of authentic flamenco art. At present, Juan also owns a cave for flamenco shows called Venta del Gallo, next to the restaurant. For tea or coffee, you can go to Los Faroles, another gypsy cave, managed by a rather suggestive “sailor”.
Peña Flamenca “El Niño de las Almendras” Calle Tiña down, at the bottom of Albaicín area
Let us introduce you to our friend Pepe Ferrer, aka“El Niño”, a real aficionado, fully dedicated to flamenco who owns one of the most unusual bars of the neighbourhood. This is a late night, after hours bar, or rather we should say a portion of his own house with the sole purpose of night entertainment. Under the right circumstances our friend will start out singing bulerías, soleá, malagueñas,.., gifted with a high pitched voice, his singing is really unorthodox, and altogether he is a most peculiar artist. His picture gallery deserves all praise, all the big names hang there. New comers are usually welcome, especially if they show good manners; even better if the group includes women, El Niño’s second passion after flamenco.
El Rincón de San Pedro Carrera del Darro, 8, 18010, Albaicín Bajo
This night bar with holds an amazing balcony that looks onto the river. Around an elegant and impeccable selection of electronic music, a comfortable and modern atmosphere of sexual freedom is created.
Upsetter Bar Carrera del Darro, 7 Albaicín Bajo
Once known as the Upsetter Reggae Club, it has gradually opened up to other “roots” styles; thus the flamenco Mondays by Dj Vinagre, exotic swing Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays reggae, soul and Northern soul on Fridays … An alternative music offer, far away from mainstream fashions, good reflex of the spirit of Enrique Bonggo, the manager. If you ask to see him he will be delighted to take care of you; he might treat you, at least to whatever is among his fingers.
Bar La Estrella / Estrellados Pza. de Cuchilleros / Marqués de Falces, Centre
Two servers of the same concept: fun-bar-mighty-musical. Managed by Mr. Mauri
let’s add him to the freak gallery, this is an inescapable spot for any outsider revel. The original one ,La Estrella, has lived through many a night, for many years it has been the ideal place for rhythm & blues on weekdays. Both Estrellas are places to glide down from above, forget about time and go all the way. If you are into funk-jazz, electronic bossa, sheer rock, or flamenco, this is definitely the place to be. Open all days, try to avoid the weekends in order to catch a more human-like, more Mauri-ish feel. Do not forget that both of them are narrow places, propitious to the touch.
And now let’s go for a long stroll, get some physical exercise in order to get rid of the night toxins. Starting at the Plaza Nueva, we take the Carrera del Darro and before reaching the Museo Arqueológico, a most remarkable building with the finest art collections inside, you will find the Clarisas Nuns Convent; it is cloistered and not open to visit, yet we can buy some of their delicious cakes and pastry . Further on you will reach the Paseo de los Tristes. It is usually packed and is particularly charming on cool summer nights, by the light of the candles, we would recommend bar Rabo de Nube
Hotel Casa Morisca Paseo de los Tristes
Designed under the inspiration of an utter respect to the authentic history of house-building of this ancient town. The is the project of an architect who was sensitive enough to rebuild one of the many Arab period mansions which suffered from total abandon and neglect. www.hotelcasamorisca.com.
Turning right, you cross over the bridge to start the exciting climbing to the Alhambra along the Cuesta de los Chinos. It is comforting to enjoy its peace and quiet, together with the constant rumour of water. Almost at the end of the slope, on the right we will come across an exuberant gardened area, filled with a romantic air. The traveller will do well to explore the area: Carmen de los Mártires, Views of the Vega, Casa Museo Manuel de Falla, Alhambra Palace Hotel ,views of the Albaicín from the Alhambra,
We cannot finish this tour around the Alhambra without mentioning two spots which carry an intense emotional meaning for us: one of them is La Fuente del Avellano, a spring of delicious water that you can reach by following a path on the right side of the river Daro from where it is easy to contemplate the magic stillness of the Sacromonte Abbey. For a long time, the path leading to the fountain had kept a wild appearance, yet recently it has been taken care of by the City Council which has even put up a series of engravings of famous poems along its course. The other spot still preserves its ancient magic, for La Silla del Moro (The Moor Chair), named like that for having been a place of retreat for the Nazarí kings, has remained as a ruin for quite long, untouched and disregarded by the authorities. There is even a fence which prevents from trespassing, but you shouldn’t hesitate to look for some hole to get inside if you want to enjoy one of the most spectacular views not only of the Alhambra, but also of the entire city at its feet. If you want to freak out watching the sun set behind the mountain pass of La Malahá, follow the road to the cemetery and you will reach this fantastic spot.
El Realejo is meant to be the old Jewish quarter where one find convents and traditional bakeries in the most unexpected places. It is sited on the south slope of the Alhambra.
Puerta del Sol Puerta del Sol
This tiny square that enjoys, due to its location, the sun from dawn until dusk, hence its name. This undiscovered jewel reminds one of the hilly villages in the Alpujarras.
Centro de interpretación del Sacromonte Barranco de los Negros, Sacromonte
The Sacromonte is full of zambras (caves) where you can enjoy flamenco. Here in this centre you can also listen to other kinds of music, theatre plays, films, exhibitions. One of its main charms is to contemplate the Alhambra from a very unique perspective. Beautiful plants and flowers remind us of the long gone splendour of the Arab gardens such as the Generalife. More info at www.sacromontegranada.com
Altramuces Campo del Príncipe
A very wide square surrounded by beer gardens and restaurants where the locals love to go for tapas, especially during the summer. We recommend this vintage bar that, XXXXXX specialities, such a quails and hearts of lettuce with the perfect toping.
Café-Bar Fernando Calle Molinos 2
When it comes to vintage, the winner is the family bar Fernando, an establishment where good tapas compete with good set meals. Anchovies, migas, orpaella can be the perfect partner for the traditional caña (small beer) The walls are a mosaic of photographs of the city starting at the end of the 19th Century.
Candela Santa Escolástica , Oposite Plaza de loXXXXX Girones
A minuscule tapas bar, own by Miguel and África, from the Basque country and Madrid, proud of their good wines, exquisite tapas and full of cordiality. They have managed to create a wonderful meeting point for all kinds of people: painters, student passing by, journalist and bohemians in general find each other without needing to make arrangements,… and the best is you never know when you’ll leave.
Restaurante Hícuri Santa Escolástica
Modern Mediterranean cuisine and decoration, try the tofu and the seaweed croquettes.
Helados Los Italianos Gran Vía, 4
Some of the best ice-cream in the country,even Michelle Obama was there. One of the most beloved and talked about businesses in the city where you can read inside the counter of this old ice cream shop, “There is no better gentleman than the one who serves well”, a philosophy that works.
La Sabanilla Beside Plaza Bib Rambla
The decoration of a highwaymen tavern gives home to a mostly female group of costumers. Some good wines can be drank amongst the old wood of this bar.
Bar Aliatar Beside Plaza Bib-Rambla
A bar that seems to have always been there with the fastest and most efficient team one can imagine. No sane person would argue regarding the best place to eat sandwiches in the city, whether medium or large. Try their perritos(hotdog) Not to be confused with another Aliatar, in Albaicín, also popular but this time due to its snails.
Los Diamantes Calle Navas
Offering great quality products: fresh fish from Motril and vegetables from La Vega, all cooked with no nonsense.
Bar Provincias Calle Provincias, near the catedral XXXXX
If you can find it, its tapas won´t disappoint you. Also of interest, its collection of photographs of bullfighters and flamenco singers.
Bar Soria Plaza de la Trinidad
Friendly bar tendering and generous tapas, fish and natural products from the mountain town of our friend, Mingo, the guy who always knows what’s going on in his bar.
Bohemia Jazz Café Calle Santa Teresa 17
Good and original cocktails, attractive milkshakes and combinations of fruit, liqueurs and coffees, the best reason to visit this place is its excellent collection of naturally roasted varieties of coffee. For the coffee junky our city can be disappointing; if you are one of us, this is your place. The strange floor arrangement of the shop invites to take a walk and glance at the impressive collection of photographs on its walls and the endless sight of little objects occupying any free corner. The whole thing is the product of Antonio Cantudo’s pathological obsession with miniatures and antiques. Jazz makes up the rest of the atmosphere and, at night, live piano and theatre monologues.
Discos Mal Gusto. Calle Horno de Abad 4
Right opposite club Planta Baja, this is your shop if you like the roughest sounds in rock and roll history. From ’77 punk to the Crypt catalogue to Las Vegas striptease music compilations. Also, a good selection of comics and alternative press.
Librería Flash. Plaza de la Trinidad
One of the few bookshops in Granada where you can buy music and cinema literature and a wide offer of comics.
Stereo Discos Plaza de los Lobos
A small and quite record shop where you can buy international pop and art-rock.
We will finish our tour recommending late night bars that resist falling victims of the dictatorship of commercial music.
Ruido Rosa Calle So1
A small place that has been filling the city with vintage pop and rock and roll. Many of us in Granada would not know what to do without it.
El Son Calle Joaquín Costa, near Plaza Nueva
A more grown up atmosphere, El Son combines warm latin music (Brazil, Salsa, Son…) in its first floor with more updated music in its dungeons. A hot night is assured.
Segunda Edición Plaza de los Lobos
Almost a temple for pop fans; 60’s cloths and plenty of Peter Pan complex, two floors.
Peatón Calle Sócrates 6
A meeting place for the musicians of the Granada scene, its decoration leaves no room for doubts. A sanctuary for those who want to preserve alternative rock against all odds.
We don’t want to depart without mentioning an area to which we are emotionally attached: El Salón, a boulevard and a park that runs parallel to the river Genil that oozes romanticism and will grasp melancholy spirit any time of the year. But, beware of the crepuscule, then, its romanticism turns colourful and veterans of the oldest job in the world and transvestites get together to offer their best, only for some money in return.