Zaragoza Guide to Partying
Zaragoza Guide to Partying Reviews
Apr 27, 2007
Living it up the Spanish Way
"We were just wondering what happened to you last night? Is everything all right? Why did you go in so early?" That was the phone call I received the morning after partying with my new Spanish friends for the fourth consecutive night. True, I had gone in early—early in the morning, that is. After starting the evening at 8pm, bar-hopping to practically every disco, pub, and club in Zaragoza, and finally hitting the pillow at 6:30am, I thought I'd done well for myself. Apparently not, according to Zaragoza standards.
You could live in Zaragoza most of your life and still not visit half of the bars, clubs, and discoteques hidden in the neverending, interlaced side streets of El Casco (literally meaning "the helmet"). From Thursday to Saturday, the city center absolutely explodes in a cheerful, drunken frenzy. Prior to 2006, the bars rarely, if ever, closed, but a recent law enforced a city-wide closing time of 4:30am, upsetting the predominant youth population of Zaragoza and rightfully so. A favorite pastime of Zaragoza students is staying out until breakfast, grabbing a bit to eat and sober up, then finally hitting the pillow at 9am or so. A few select discothèques have managed to stay open until morning, and the city's relentless partiers frequent these venues once the other bars and clubs close down for the night.
If the name alone doesn't draw you in, maybe the Bavarian style of this traditional German beerhall will. Right next to the university campus, you'll always find a student or two here grabbing a pint of the house specialties on tap like Augustijn or Franziskaner, or watching whatever sporting event is on at the moment. Just make this your first stop for the night, as it shuts down early. Native German dishes are also available if you skipped out on tapas earlier in the evening. Plaza de San Francisco 17. [tel] 976-560-603. Open daily noon-4pm and 8pm-midnight. Bus 30, 40, 45.
*Bis de Bez
This dimly-lit, swanky lounge looks like it belongs more in Manhattan than amidst the monotonous tapas bar of Calle Estébanes. It's more than a bit suggestive in its vaguely phallic art and décor, but if you're going upscale, it might be worth trying out. It's slogan is "No strangers, but friends you've not met yet," which in my opinion translates to "No strangers, but people you've not slept with yet." So if you're looking to sample the local, ahem, flavor, you just might get the opportunity at Bis de Bez. Estébanes 2. No phone. Bus 30, 33, 36, 45.
You didn't think I forgot about the cliché Irish bar, now did you? This cheerful pub remains a popular mid-town watering hole due to its two floors and immense volume, and like any other European city, you'll find your hodgepodge of nationalities here, though it is more a starting point for the evening than anything else. Cadíz 7. [tel] 976-225-016. Open Mon-Wed 9:30am-1am, Thurs 9:30am-2am, Fri-Sat 9:30am-2:30pm and 3pm-2:30am, Sun 3pm-2:30am. Bus 30, 33, 45.
For live music by talented professionals and not-so-talented crowd members, this lively bar is a good place to get your drink on. Camino de las Torres 42. [tel] 976-222-161. Open Tues-Sat 8pm-3:30am.
"With every pint, there's a lot of love." Such is the motto of the bartenders at the friendly bar near El Pilar. The best draw of this atypical Irish pub is its weekday happy hour from 7 to 9pm in which you can down all the Budweiser and Amstel your stomach can hold in two hours time for 1[eu] a bottle. Irish breakfasts and light snacks are also available. Alfonso I 39. [tel] 976-298-094. www.paddyflaherty.com. Open Mon-Fri 10am-4pm and 9pm-midnight, Sat and Sun 10am-4pm and 9pm-2:30am. Bus 30, 33, 36, 45.
This Asian-infused bar is extremely trendy and modern with a diverse assortment of world music and minimalist, yet colorful decor. If you prefer cocktails to pints, Gong (Zen) is your man. Popular with the gay crowd and those not so keen on pub atmosphere. Alfonso I 13. [tel] 976-392-590. www.gongzgz.com. Open Sun-Thurs 7am-2am, Fri-Sat 7am-4am. Bus 30, 33, 36, 45.
You enter the smoky establishment, and it doesn't take you long to figure out why its name literally translates to "the cockroach." Sketchy men grinding up next to you make it hard to penetrate (excuse the verbal selection) the sweaty masses, and "Tienes un novio?" ("Do you have a boyfriend?") will be thrown your way more than once. Yet, for some reason, this bar is always packed—especially with foreigners and those looking for one-night stands—though it remains a favorite of permanent Zaragoza inhabitants as well. El Temple 25. No phone. Open daily until 4:30am. Bus 30, 33, 36, 45.
The first thing I noticed about this eccentric place is its hot (mostly female, guys take note) waitstaff and animal print tables and chairs. The choice of music, which ranges from Doors favorites to American hip-hop, is a bit odd given the bar's ambience, but this colonial café is a suitable alternative to the bump-and-grind Spanish disco bar. It's also open on Mondays, while many other places in Zaragoza aren't, which is a definite plus if you're a seven-days-a-week type of socialite. Cuarto de Agosto 9. No phone. www.mombasacafe.com. Open Mon-Sat 2:30pm-3am. Bus 30, 33, 36 45.
If the roaches on the entryway and the eye-catching artwork behind the bar (naked women adorn the walls) aren't enough to draw you in, perhaps the music will—or the fact that this dance bar is roomier than its stuffy next-door neighbor La Cucharacha. Beers cost 3[eu], while the bar's specialty shots can be purchased for 2[eu]. The music's not bad with a wide range of hot Spanish tunes. El Temple 21-23. No Phone. Open Mon-Sat, no particular hours. Bus 30, 33, 36, 45.
**El Bar 66
Formerly a monastery, this Bat Cave of a music bar is worth a trip if you're up for a night of dancing and a suitable mix of native Spanish and popular American/English music. Drink prices are a bit steep (5[eu] for a cocktail) after enjoying cheap beer and tapas earlier in the evening, but the medieval feel of the stone-walled multi-levels of El Bar 66 is appealing and the dance floor more spacious than most. Entrances on both Calle Santa Isabel and Calle el Temple. Open daily until 4:30am. Bus 30, 33, 36, 45.
With three branches in town, the most popular located in Casco Histórico, La Tierra is your typical American dance bar with that familiar American music from the past three decades, typical English speakers, and your typical crowd of international students. The drinks are cheap, and if you're looking to speak in your native tongue, you can almost be guaranteed this is the place you'll excel. Mendez Nuñez 16-18. [tel] 976-232-030. www.latierra.org. Open daily at 8pm. Bus 30, 33, 36, 45.
**La Casa del Loco
Should you need another reason to visit one of the only places open till first light, the name of this most popular club in town translates to "The House of the Crazy." The late-night/early-morning hotspot really fills up beginning around 4:30am when all the other bars in the area begin to shut their doors, so head there a bit earlier to avoid the line that snakes its way all the way down the street and around the corner. Every Thursday features live concerts. Cover: 5-10[eu]; beers 2[eu], mixed drinks start at 4.50[eu]. Mayor 10. [tel] 976-396-771.www.lacasadelloco.com. Open Thurs 9:30pm-5:30am; Fri 11:30am-6:45am; Sat 11:30pm-7:15am. Bus 30, 33, 36, 45.
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