It took me three visits, but on my last night I was able to muscle my way up to the bar at one of Granada’s most popular tapas bar, Bodegas Castañeda. Located a stone’s throw away from the Cathedral, the joint was consistently packed during the bank holiday weekend. That’s a sign it’s popular among the tourist groups.
With hanging jamon from the ceilings and wood casks piled behind the bar, you know you’re at a place that’s old school before old school was old school. Also, the average age of the all-male bar staff had to be about 50.
Don’t expect smiling or speedy service. These gentleman are crusty and have seen it all. That’s why knowing a little Spanish helps. There’s English menus around so if you can’t be bothered to look up phrases, just point at the menu.
For drink, the house specialty is Vermouth or Vermut. Most of these old world tapas restaurants make their own or use a secret blend of wine. It’s cheap and good. That’s all that counts.
The food is fairly traditional tapas, lots of pork, seafood and croquettes. The people who sit outside or in the dining rooms are the tourists and old locals. It’s sacrilegious to stay at one place to eat all night, so standing at the bar and getting one of something is the best plan. I went with the bacon and cheese.
You’ll be struggling to keep your little real estate at the bar most of the time, so make it simple. Then, you can be on your way to the next tapas bar.