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Spain nightlife

Spanish nightlife is legendary, and for good reason. This is the country that brought the world Ibiza-style house music and the international nightclub group Pacha. Yet not every night has to pulse with the beats of electronic and house music. Sophisticated cocktail bars are more popular than ever in Spain, as are theme bars (ever hear of Spanish country music?). Bohemian bars like Barcelona's Tinta Roja, with poetry readings, comedy nights, and classic film screenings, abound in the artsy districts of the big cities.

City dwellers tend to hit the first bar of the night after dinner ends (around 1 am), and then migrate to thediscotecas, or nightclubs, by 3 am, dancing till dawn. Cover charges vary widely, but you should expect to pay upward of 20 euros in classy venues. Dress to impress; trendy nightspots have strict dress codes and only allow those who look the part to cross their thresholds.

The Spaniards' deeply ingrained love for fiestas means that any city or town can host a good party, but a few stand out. Madrid residents are known as gatos (cats) for their late-night prowling; the city is famous for 3 am traffic jams caused by throngs of partiers. Seaside resorts, especially on the islands of Ibiza, Mallorca, and Gran Canaria, are also known for their nightlife.

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Abaco, Palma, Mallorca

Behind an unassuming wooden door in Palma's old town lies the island's most unique cocktail bar. The only distinguishing mark is a sign warning that taking...more

see the Ibiza + Mallorca guide
Editors' Pick
Abraxas, Palma, Mallorca

Located at the far end of Palma's Paseo Marítimo in a rambling house cut into the side of a cliff, Abraxas is a classic on the city's night scene. Inside,...more

see the Ibiza + Mallorca guide
Editors' Pick
Altxerri Bar & Jazz, San Sebastián

The street level is an art gallery featuring the work of up-and-coming painters, sculptors, and photographers, but the lower level is one of San...more

see the Bilbao + Basque Country guide
Editors' Pick
Arola Madrid, Madrid

The restaurant in the Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid's most avant-garde museum, is everything you'd expect. A shimmering red ceiling ripples and then soars...more

see the Madrid guide
Editors' Pick
Aura, Sant Llorenç, Ibiza

Aura kicks off the evening with cocktails and gourmet tapas, segueing gently into what is arguably the hottest nightspot for grown-ups on the island. While it's...more

see the Ibiza + Mallorca guide
Editors' Pick
Bar Txepetxa, San Sebastián

There's a variety of pintxos at this wonderful little Casco Viejo bar, but the real reason to come is to sample the ones made with anchovies. You may think you...more

see the Bilbao + Basque Country guide
Editors' Pick
Bar XIX, Barcelona

This converted granja (dairy), with soothing black and white marble tiles and a carved white marble bar is a real find in a Sant Antoni neighborhood filled with...more

see the Barcelona guide
Editors' Pick
Bataplán, San Sebastián

Locals describe Bataplán as "de toda la vida"—a classic that's been around their whole lives—and the younger ones, at least, are right....more

see the Bilbao + Basque Country guide
Editors' Pick
Bergara, San Sebastián

The almost rococo display of pintxos at this bar can be overwhelming—but luckily, you can pretty much close your eyes and point; every dish here is a...more

see the Bilbao + Basque Country guide
Editors' Pick
Blue Marlin, Cala Jondal, Ibiza

All set to be one of 2007's hot spots, long-time Ibiza-philes will probably know this sophisticated beach bar as the high-class Jockey Club. With many of the...more

see the Ibiza + Mallorca guide
Editors' Pick
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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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