Becca Fogel, New Jersey, USA.
Bars in Alcala, and much of Spain, have a variety of functions. Ultimately, they are places of social reunion, to kickback and have some cañas and copas, or to enjoy a morning coffee and tostado with classmates. They are great places to meet up with friends, meet new people, and of course, stay well-nourished.
However, the concept of bars in Alcala doesn’t necessarily align with the American concept of “bars.” In fact, many bars in Alcala seem to serve the double function of bar and café (in the American sense). For instance, some bar venues that are perfect for relaxing with coffee and a book during the day attract rowdy sports crowds at night (go Real Madrid!). Plus, almost all venues you may be temped to call “cafés” in Alcala sell beer and wine, which is unlike the cafes in United States where liquor licenses are notoriously hard to acquire.
So to sum it up, the line between “bar” and “café” is a lot more fluid in Alcala and Spain in general than it is in the U.S.
Now that you have a sense of what it means to be a “bar” in Alcala, let’s get to the fun part…where are the best Alcalaino bars? No matter where you go, you are bound to meet lively people and enjoy excellent coffee, Mahou beer, and/or tapas. Just walk down Calle Mayor, the main street, and you’ll spot several charming venues.
But for a start, here’s a list of some of the most popular ones, close to the center: Indalo (mouth-watering tapas), Hemispherio (relaxing work environment with great coffee), Panaderia (60’s rock bar), Hanoi House (a lively nightlife spot), and La Española (fun place to watch the Real games, with very cheap tapas). Of course, each of these bars has a unique character, but it’s an Alcala character nonetheless.
So, give them all a shot, and enjoy!