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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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Eden, San Antoni, Ibiza

Superstar DJ Pete Tong's move to Eden from Pacha in summer 2008 has turned around the fortunes of this nightspot, where Tong now headlines on Friday nights with...more

see the Ibiza + Mallorca guide
Editors' Pick
Dry Martini, Barcelona

In a city that has nearly as many bars as it does people, choosing a favorite is next to impossible. But for many, this emblematic cocktail bar comes close....more

see the Barcelona guide
Editors' Pick
Depintxos, Madrid

Pintxos are Basque-style tapas, bites atop slices of French bread, and they represent one of the most fun little traditional corners of Spanish cuisine....more

see the Madrid guide
Editors' Pick
Del Diego, Madrid

Dapper in his dark suit, distinguished in his courtly manner, and wrinkled with cocktail wisdom, Fernando del Diego presides over his warmly lit zinc bar with a...more

see the Madrid guide
Editors' Pick
Cotton Club, Bilbao

Harlem it ain't, but this Cotton Club is still a great place to dance. On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, a clientele of twenty- and thirtysomethings comes...more

see the Bilbao + Basque Country guide
Editors' Pick
Corto Maltés, Bilbao

A cozy sliver of a bar, with a faintly nautical decor and a sound system piping in rock hits from the '70s and '80s, Corto Maltés packs in a diverse...more

see the Bilbao + Basque Country guide
Editors' Pick
Corral de Moreíra

Taking in a flamenco show in Madrid can be a fantastic experience, but beware cheesy imitations—tourist traps abound. Moreíra is the real deal, the...more

see the Madrid guide
Editors' Pick
Club Mix

The Born area of Barcelona—a ten-minute walk from the Ramblas and Barri Gòtic—is a magnet for night owls. Bars from the insalubrious to the...more

see the Barcelona guide
Editors' Pick
Citra, Madrid

Architect Ignacio García de Vinuesa has created a memorable visual experience at this tapas and cocktail bar: Recessed lamps emit a warm, romantic light...more

see the Madrid guide
Editors' Pick
Casa de la Memoria del Andalus

This plant-filled 19th-century patio offers one of the most authentic flamenco experiences if—like most people—you'd rather not stand around in a...more

see the Seville 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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