Bars play a big part in many peoples holiday itinerary when visiting Cartagena. That's not to say we think you're all a bunch of drunks! Rather the fact that they offer a friendly social scene, the chance to do a bit of people watching, listen to occasional live music, and of course offer a choice of welcoming refreshments on those scorching summer days. The choice of bars in Cartagena is varied. Being a predominantly Spanish working city, tapas bars feature highly. A small selection of British and Irish theme bars offer some holidaymakers a taste of home. And then you have the lively bars along the marina promenade, and the beach bars in the surrounding resort areas.
These range from tiny ‘hole in the wall' establishments to large restaurants featuring a superb selection of these tasty little treats. A tapas tour is a good way to explore the city while enjoying a variety of Mediterranean fare. They're also great for visitors who don't have a very adventurous palate, as most tour guides will take you to places offering ‘tourist friendly' tapas. Favourite tapa dishes among visitors include meatballs in sauce, patatas bravas, tortilla, grilled sardines, olives, sizzling garlic prawns, various stews and a selection of meats or cheeses on crusty bread. For the more adventurous try grilled pigs ears, snails, sea snails, tripe, lambs liver or octopus tentacles.
Suggested Tapas Bars
Sabor Andaluz – Located on Calle Jabonerías, this place is a local favourite and receives rave reviews. Try the delicious mini burgers or tasty anchovies.
A La Barra Gastrobar – This has a lovely park setting on the aptly named Calle del Parque. They are well known for their seafood dishes such as super fresh tuna tartar.
Cafes Celdrán – With its central location on Calle Sta. Florentina, this place is great to visit when exploring the city's historical attractions. They do a good Russian salad and tasty desserts.
El Pasillo Tapas y Mas – Located opposite the Plaza de la Merced, inventive sandwiches come highly recommended and the staff are friendly and attentive.
La Teja Tapas Bar – Another favourite with the locals located on Alameda de San Antón. Great tapas, cheap breakfast and a choice of 5 set lunch menus including a drink for 10€.
Throughout Cartagena city centre are bars where you can catch an impromptu live music act. These are often just single acts, sometimes the owner or regular patrons strumming away on a guitar. However, the city does have a few establishments where regular bands and solo artists perform. Some of these are predominantly Latino performances, but hey you're in Spain so get on the dance floor and kick up your heels. Others tend to cater more for visiting holidaymakers.
Suggested Music Bars
D'Lio Bar Cartagena – Located on Calle Villamartin, this is a lively bar with a great atmosphere. They play music from the 80's, 90's and present as well as featuring live performances.
Radio Bar – This is the place to head for if you enjoy a selection of craft beers with your music. The beat is mainly rock and they also have pool and darts. Located on Calle Arena.
Roses Bar – Located on Calle Cuesta de la Baronesa, wonderful neon lit decor adds to the festive atmosphere here. The venue is always full and the music genre a great mix of modern and rock.
El Cuervo Jazz Bar – This is a venue for the more discerning visitor located on Calle Poeta Miguel Hernandez. Great jazz, ice cold beers, a tasty food menu and terrace seating overlooking a park.
Angvs Rock Centre – This is a large venue located on Calle Alfonso X el Sabio. A good atmosphere for rockers where they often hold alternative rock concerts.
Due to the fact that much of Cartagena's bay is taken up by the shipping port and marinas, the closest noteworthy beach is Cala Cortina. It lies a couple of kilometres from the city centre along the N-343. Further beaches that boast beach bars can be found in Puerto de Mazarrón to the west. A short drive southeast takes you to the famous La Manga Strip and the Mar Menor Lagoon. Here you will find numerous lively beach bars and a whole host of thrilling water activities.
Suggested Beach Bars
Restaurante Mares Braves – Located near the shores of Cala Cortina, this is a firm family favourite with a good selection of drinks and superb seafood.
Cafeteria & Heladeria El Faro – Located near the end of Av. Moro Santo in Puerto de Mazarrón, this place receives rave reviews. Fantastic views, a swimming pool, live music and inventive cocktails all add to the experience. Further watering holes surround the lively marina.
Chiringuito El Salao – This is located right on the beach along Ctra. a Mazarrón when heading towards Cartagena. Ice cold beer for 1€, need I say more 🙂
Palmito Beach – Located on the popular Cala Reona beach at the end of Camino Cala Reona, great views and delicious fish and seafood is what this place is known for.
Chiringuito Verano Azul – This venue boasts a fantastic location next to the lighthouse at Cape Palos. Again, seafood features highly here although prices are rather steep.
Chiringuito Dosmares Beach – This is located further along the La Manga Strip on Gran Via Isla del Ciervo. You couldn't do better for a fun family day out as the bar forms part of an activity centre and children's amusement park.
Beach Bar El Refugio – Located on the shores of the Mar Menor Lagoon, this is one of Honda Beach's favourite bars. Great for sports fans with 3 flat screen Tv's.