going out for tapas

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If you enjoy meeting friends for a few drinks but don’t have unlimited funds, Spain is definitely the place to be.  I have been horrified by prices in London recently – even when meeting friends for a coffee – never mind the cost of a glass of wine!  No wonder so many fellow Brits have decided to retire to Spain, where they can still afford to have an active social life.

The best value for money is having a menú del día in a Spanish bar or restaurant, but sometimes you want to go out in the evening just for a change.  Spain again has to be the winner, especially as many places give you a free tapa with your glass of wine or beer.

Here, in no particular order, are some of the best bars in Jumilla if you fancy going out for some tapas with your friends.  Although free tapas are rare here, prices are so low that we don’t mind paying a bit extra: two euros for a drink and tapa isn’t exactly going to break the bank!

1.  Cervecería Borneo Avenida de la Libertad

Our dog Lisa recommends this bar.  There are tables outside, so she can sit with us while we enjoy our coffees, or a glass of wine in the evening.  The owner always makes a fuss of her too, so it is no 1 on Lisa’s list. Although they don’t do a menú del día here, the food is very good and reasonably priced.  We tried their hamburgers (in my case it was a fishburger) and can confirm that it made a very tasty and filling snack for less than 3€, and they always have a good selection of tapas on display, which we all enjoy sampling.

Borneo – recommended by Lisa

2.  Bar La Casa Avenida de Reyes Católicos 13

If you want to bump into lots of expats come here on Tuesday mornings at around 12 noon, and especially on the first Tuesday of the month when we have our English book swap from 11.00 to 13.00.  If you want to avoid your fellow Brits, then give it a miss on Tuesdays!

Although the bar is tiny, there is a dining area behind where you can sit if the bar is full and – even better – a lovely walled patio at the back where we sit in the summer months, though sadly Lisa isn’t allowed in there.  Cristina and her parents always give us a warm welcome – and in the winter months, when the wood fire is burning, it is lovely and warm in the dining area too!

Bar La Casa

3.  Bar Central Plaza Alcoholero de Menor

This is a recent addition, situated in the Roque Baños Centre, although we understand that there was a Bar Central on Calle Canovas during the 60s.  Their tapas are very good and their prices are very cheap, so not surprisingly it has become a favourite haunt, especially after our Spanish lessons in the nearby Adult Education Centre twice a week. Lisa also enjoys sitting outside this bar, watching the world go by, though she doesn’t find it quite as relaxing as Borneo.

4. Cafetería de Estacion de Autobuses Avenida de la Libertad

This is another venue with the Lisa seal of approval, especially during fiestas.  We sat outside with friends, plus Lisa, after watching one of the processions during the Fiesta de la Vendimia and had the best sepia y champiñones ever. We realised that Lisa liked this bar when we tried to walk past it last week, and she pulled on her lead until we walked over to one of the tables and sat down to order coffee!

5. Nuestro Bar Los Milanos

Incredible food at incredible prices: if we only lived closer to Nuestro Bar it would be our regular haunt.  Faustino had a well-deserved excellent write-up onTripAdvisor, after two American visitors had eaten there a couple of times.  Having shared the paella with Cathy and Ed on their second visit to Nuestro Bar, we can wholeheartedly agree with her comments!

Whenever we are near Nuestro Bar we pop in for coffee or wine and tapas, and always receive a warm welcome and very good service: the one time we thought they were being a teeny bit slow, we discovered when we left that dozens of people were sitting outside enjoying drinks and tapas as well!

Faustino joined us for the photo call in Nuestro Bar

6. Bar La Tapa “Rincon de Pedro” Calle Marchante, 8

A typical Spanish bar: small, always busy, usually noisy and with a good selection of tapas as befits its name.  It used to be a regular haunt when we first moved here and were renting a flat in the centre of Jumilla.  The biggest smile we have ever seen on Pedro’s face was reserved for John’s grandsons when they came to visit us: Pedro presented them with Kinder eggs and bags of crisps.  Pedro enjoys good music and has been known to increase the volume when his favourite tracks are playing, drowning out all conversation.

7.  Bar California Calle Canovas de Castillo

This is the exception to the unwritten rule that the floors of the best bars are always covered in litter.  Whenever we go into Bar California it is busy, however the floor is always spotless, and it is renowned for being the cleanest bar in Jumilla.  Their tapas are good and it is very popular with the locals – presumably because of the tapas rather than its clean floors!

8. Bar Canarias C/Jesús Sánchez Carrillo, 4

In our neighbourhood, and near the local market, Bar Canarias is one of our favourites.  Lisa enjoys visiting it during the summer when tables are outside, and is always made to feel welcome.  The owner speaks good English, though we always try to speak to him in Spanish.  Depending on his mood, he will greet us in English, Spanish or a mixture of both!  We took friends here for wine and tapas after going to a carol concert last year and they were impressed by both the food and the prices.

Bar Canarias

9.  Bar Chaparral Avenida de Yecla, 75

A good place to go to with friends when you are very hungry but don’t want to spend a fortune: its tapas are excellent and unbelievably cheap, so you can afford to buy loads.  Our best Christmas party ever was upstairs in Bar Chaparral, which the Adult Education Centre had booked for its students.  The amount of dishes they produced was amazing, and all of them were delicious.  Fingers crossed that we go there again this year!

10. Bar Gatico Negro Calle San Roque

Apparently the original bar wasn’t very salubrious, however it had closed down before we moved to Jumilla.  After being completely renovated, it re-opened under new management about six months ago.  It is a small, friendly bar with good tapas, plus they have a room upstairs for larger groups.

11.  Cafetería Los Angeles Plaza Pablo Picasso

Recently opened and conveniently close to home, so we often stop here with Lisa for a coffee on the way back from the shops.  She has her favourite table and looks very annoyed if somebody else is sitting there!  Although they don’t do tapas here, if we stop for a glass of wine in the evening we ask for olives or almonds with our drinks.  I don’t think I have ever seen local people have an alcoholic drink without something to nibble on, which is a healthy habit we have adopted since moving to Spain.

Cafetería Los Angeles

12.  Heladería Cinema C/ Canovas del Castillo, 67

I know that strictly speaking ice-cream doesn’t come under the heading of tapas, but on a hot summer’s day, when you really fancy an ice-cream, this is the best place to go for one in Jumilla.  All their ice-cream is home-made, there is a huge selection to choose from, and they are all absolutely delicious.  Sadly they don’t sell ice-cream during the winter months, so John’s daughter-in-law Katy was bitterly disappointed when she visited us in February and couldn’t sample their ice-creams!

13.  Restaurante San Agustín Avenida de la Asunción, 64

A long-term favourite of ours for their menú del día, we also enjoy going to San Agustín for tapas in the bar, though unfortunately they don’t have tables outside so Lisa has to stay at home.  Popular with the locals, which isn’t surprising considering how good the food is, and there is always a lively atmosphere.

14.  Bar las Delicias C/Lope de Vega-C/Hernando de Nuño

This is a comparatively new bar in our local barrio of San Juan.  In recent years, sadly, we have seen many businesses close down or change hands, however we are confident that Bar las Delicias will be here to stay because of their good tapas and cheap prices.  I am always on the look out for special offers on the facebook page of the manager, Ester Delgado Rodríguez.

Of course these aren’t the only places in Jumilla where you can find tasty tapas, and the following bars and restaurants are also good places to visit on your tapas trail:   Restaurante Reyes Católicos; Bar Paraíso; Restaurante Monasterio; Duque de Lerma; Meson Jumillano; Bar Ave: Cervecería Castillo; Cervecería Levante.  Plus many, many more!

Before you visit Jumilla, why not print out the street map to help you find the recommended places?  Otherwise, just pop into any bar that takes your fancy: you are sure to have a good time.  ¡Aproveche!

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