According to a study done by a research group for the Cervecerias of Spain, the most popular aperitif of Valencians is a glass of cold beer and patatas bravas. Excellent — that just happens to be Hola Valencia’s choice, too.
Beer (70%) was followed by cola (50%), vermouth (24%), wine (19%) and sangria (17%). I’m surprised to see wine so far down the list — Valencians drink it all the time. Just last week I was at a restaurant, where a burly crew of construction workers were sharing a bottle … at 8am!
Patatas bravas (49%) beat out olives (46%), nuts & dried fruits (34%), cheese (29%) and calamari (27%) as the perfect accompaniment for a drink.
Valencians commonly congregate after work for a drink or two around 7 or 8pm. The bars in the city center can get full, especially on the outside terraces. So, where should you go for your beer & bravas? Here are a couple recommendations:
El Gau del Rall – for ambiance
Close to the city center, El Gau del Rall is tucked away in a small courtyard on Calle del Mar and serves up both great bravas and the perfect combination of tourists and locals. The terrace seating merges with that of another bar, Sol i Lluna, which doesn’t serve warm tapas — so make sure to sit at the right table!
El Café del Mar – for taste
This small bar is a little on the grimy side, but it’s got the best bravas we’ve eaten thus far in the city. It’s located right on the back side of Santa Catalina. Make sure to bring an ambivalent tolerance for loud, drunk regulars.
Valencia Plaza – for convenience
Despite its location at Tourist Ground Zero, Plaza de la Reina, this bar is worth a stop for its tasty, cheap bravas and beer. The staff is super friendly, and multi-lingual.
Cafe Almar – when at the beach
After a long day of swimming and sunning, what tastes better than a huge, cold beer and spicy bravas? Nothing. At the end of the Malvarrosa beach, restaurante Almar serves cheap bocadillos and the spiciest bravas we’ve had. It’s good value, given the beach-side location.