Copywriter, social media enthusiast, travel aficionado, sports-person, linguist, et al.

Top tips for rocking Spanish bars

Category : Food & Drink, Spain, Travel · by May 27th, 2014

Don’t want to feel like a fish out of water in a Spanish bar? Take a look at this first-hand advice about Spanish etiquette, norms, and some insider hints.

spain restaurant menu, hermzz 620


Firstly, here are some well-known facts about Spanish bars/restaurants,

  1. No need for tipping.
  2. Pay after. Order your food, eat, and pay before you leave. (But don’t forget! If you leave without paying it’s called a sinpa, or sin pagar (without paying) and it’s a no-no.)

Now for the more exclusive advice:

  1. Don’t look at the menu. Chances are they’ll bring you some free treats but if you look like you’re going to order from the menu then they’ll just let you do that.
  2. Go to university bars, they’re subsidised, enough said… (You often have to pay at the same time as you order at these establishments.)
  3. Yes, you can throw your rubbish onto the floor
  4. Don’t try to go out for food before 2pm or between the hours of 4 and 8pm. (Although in larger cities food can be found at all hours)
  5. The word for menu is ‘carta’ not menu. If you ask for a menu you’ll get a three/four course meal brought to you…
  6. Tap water won’t be served, you’ll have to just accept that you’re going to pay for water.
  7. You won’t find pepper on the table, and don’t ask for it, you’ll get some weird looks.
  8. Salad dressing isn’t really  a thing in Spain. When you order a salad you merely aliñar it, meaning you dress it with olive oil, vinegar and salt.
  9. Out on a hot day? Order a tinto de verano, you’ll love it.
  10. Another great option for a refreshing drink, a clara. It’s a beer with just a bit of lemon Fanta (lemon soda). It’s deliciously refreshing!
  11. Spanish wait staff isn’t the most attentive, take a breath and wave them over.
  12. A good tortilla (Spanish omelette) is slightly undercooked in the centre and it’s delicious that way!
  13. Eggs aren’t a breakfast thing in Spain, although if you’re out for tapas I definitely recommend ordering a revuelto, essentially scrambled eggs mixed with some delicious ingredient.
  14. Manchego cheese, curado = hard (and delicious!)

Feel free to comment if you have any questions!

The following two tabs change content below.
Hi, I'm Hannah, a London-based copywriter and blogger. I am a Canadian ex-pat whose interests range from food and travel, to ultimate frisbee, and sailing. As an avid traveller, food enthusiast, and sports-person I seek to write cutting-edge articles about athletes and sporting events, as well as travel destinations, tips, and culinary havens. If you like my writing and want to get in touch about freelance work or other job opportunities, don't hesitate to contact me!