Taking time out for a tapas in historic Malaga
Meandering through the narrow streets in the historical heart of Malaga should definitely be on the list of things to do and see for all visitors to the Costa del Sol. And when visitors have exhausted sightseeing and shopping, then it’s time to call in on Malaga’s tapas bars – as much a part of the fabric of the city as any of the famous landmarks.
From CLC World’s Costa del Sol resorts the simplest way into the city is to let the train take the strain from Fuengirola or Arroyo de la Miel. Get off at the end of the line, at the top of the Alameda Principal, and you are just a few minutes’ walk from the city centre.
Antigua Casa de Guardia
As you head in the direction of the port, along the tree-lined boulevard with its busy flower stalls, stop at Alameda Principal 18 and step into the Antigua Casa de Guardia, the oldest tavern in Malaga, founded in 1840. The bar stocks Malaga wines from its own vineyard in the little village of Olias, on the way to Comares, east of Malaga, as well as a fine selection of sherries and other wine varieties.
Sniff the air, redolent of more than a century of sherry fumes, and take your place at the long bar. The wines are all in casks behind the bar, which has changed little since the days of the horse and carriage on the Alameda, rather than today’s buses, taxis and cars. Be brave, order a tapas and point to a barrel – your order will be scribbled on the top of the bar in chalk…but the waiters never seem to get the bill wrong.
Bodega El Pimpi
It’s possible to stop every few metres for a drink and tapas as you stroll into the old quarter. But make sure that you include a visit to the famous Bar El Pimpi, which has been a meeting place for the young and not-so-young, the rich and famous, for poets, writers, flamenco dancers and bullfighters, for many years. The bar is hugely popular with locals and tourists alike. It is housed in a 200 year old former convent in Calle Granada, near the Cathedral and the Picasso Museum, and is a maze of charming rooms, patios and terraces.
The rooms are lined with barrels signed by famous folk including Antonio Banderas, members of the Picasso family and bullfighter El Cordobes. The walls are adorned with photographs of celebrity visitors – look out for a young, bearded Sean Connery and a fresh-faced Tony Blair – and beautiful original posters for ferias held in times past. If you prefer to sit outside in the sun then make for the terrace overlooking the excavated Roman amphitheatre. Antonio Banderas has been known to pop in when he is in his home city – there’s no guarantee you will bump into him, but who knows!
Café Concierto Puerta Oscura
For a complete change of mood search out Puerta Oscura at Calle Molino Larios 5. It’s just a couple of minutes’ walk from the Cathedral, and is the perfect place to unwind and sip a cava cocktail. The bar has the feel of a gentlemen’s club from yesteryear, with its 19th century style of comfy leather chairs and sofas, chandeliers and wood panelling. Classical music plays in the background and it’s an elegantly different experience to the hustle and bustle of many of the bars and cafés in the city.
But like all the bars, you are sure of a warm welcome.