Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Barcelona's Beachside Chiringuitos

By Javier Castillo - September/30/2014

Chiringuito: m. Quiosco o puesto de bebidas y comidas sencillas al aire libre: chiringuito de playa.

Ah summer, so pleasant yet so short-lived. In Barcelona there are many types of bars and 'beach clubs', yet when I wan to have my feet in the sand and an eye toward the magnificent Mediterranean Sea, a beach bar (a.k.a. chiringuito) is what I yearn for. And there are plenty, about twenty or so in roughly five miles of beach - dotting the Barcelona coastline, jam-packed with tourists and locals alike, and always buzzing. They are inviting to anyone looking to get an affordable nice summer beverage or a quick and simple bite to eat. And for those people watching aficionados, well this is the golden nugget of spots. These beauties are (sadly) only temporary, sprouting up each spring around April and taken down towards the end of November. And this procedure is yearly. At the beginning of it all is an arduous process involving various groups engaging in a tight auction where whomever puts more money on the table gets a lot. Some of the bidding can reach up to 400.000€ per chiringuito for the entire 8 month season. But to their advantage is the ever growing number of tourists that visit Barcelona each year, over 7 million, with many coming for the weather and the beach. From the new batch of chiriguitos present this year, here are my impromptu top 3 worth checking out:

1. La Guingueta de Bogatell is the most recent chiringuito, established last year (2013) and has the backing of well known Catalan chefs Carles Abellan and Joan EscribĂ . Besides being an open and pleasant space, they have a wide variety of eats - ranging from gaspacho to grilled sardines to satisfy any sophisticated palate. Check out their menu here.
Located at W Barcelona
Passeig Mare Nostrum, 19-21, 08039, Barcelona
Telephone: (+34) 93 295 2819
Email: reservas.salt@whotels.com
2. Vai Moana - one of many chiringuitos that Pantea Group owns, is a more laid back spot with a Polynesian vibe. Easter Island statues, tiki torches and other tropical ornament abound. Their family-friendly philosophy makes it a must-go for parents travelling with children and the menu options offer surprisingly tasty dishes like Tikki Masala and authentic chili con carne. See the menu here.
Playa Bogatell, 08001, Barcelona
Telephone: (+34) 93 310 0286
Email: info@comerc24.com
3. Salt is a relatively new chiringuito at the foot of the W Hotel in Barcelona. It is a little more of an elegant and upscale option (think less tank tops and board shorts and more Bermudas and dress shirts with the sleeves rolled up). And when the sun goes down, local DJs spin wonderful ear candy. Their culinary offerings are varied and include, among other things, mini baguette sandwiches (a.k.a flautas), nachos a-la-California, hamburgers and salads. Check out their menu here.
Av. Litoral, s/n 08005, Barcelona
Telephone: (+34) 608 324 350
Email: hola@panteagroup.es