As is very well-known, you can’t legally drink in the United States until you’re 21 years old. Also, it is very common for states to have laws against selling alcohol past a certain hour, in Michigan it is 2am. However, in Spain that is anything but the case. There is such a large culture surrounding the nightlife, and there are so many different ways to enjoy a few, or more, beers with your friends. There are tapas bars, pubs, and clubs, and each place adds its own thing to the nightlife culture.
Tapas bars are bars, obviously, that sell tapas, which are like little appetizers and alcohol. These places are often frequented by families who want to have a couple of beers together and snack. Normally, there are a few beer options, a few wine options, and a few cocktails. There are also tapas, which are normally shared between everyone at the table. Some of my favorite tapas are patatas bravas and croquets.
Of course, there are also your normal bars and pubs. These places normally don’t serve food. Although, some places do serve little snack mixes or nuts. A bar or pub also will normally have a larger drink selection and some type of music playing in the background, much louder than the music at a tapas bar. Another weird thing is that Spaniards will often frequent a bar with their kids, which is something we would never see in the US. However, for the most part, you go to a bar or pub with friends and have a few mixed drinks and maybe a shot or two.
Lastly, there are the clubs here. The clubs in Spain are world renown. It is very normal to go to a club at around 1am and leave the club at 7am. Normally, I would say the clubs also don’t have food, but I have been to a few that have some bread options. The main objective of a club is to get drunk with your friends and dance to insanely loud music. However, be careful. Spanish guys are much more direct than American guys. I have had friends who have had their butts and worse grabbed while in the club. Clubs often have whatever drink you could imagine, and depending on where you are they are pretty cheap. In Valencia, it’s also common to receive a free drink with your entry ticket, which is very nice. While you can normally go to a tapas bar or a pub by yourself and be fine. I would recommend you go to the club with a group to be safe.
Overall, I never went to the bars in the US despite being 21. I never thought I would enjoy such a loud scene, but I surprised myself on this trip. I actually had a lot of fun going out to the bars and clubs with my new friends. If you ever find yourself in Spain and want a fun night out, I highly recommend trying any of these three places. They all have their ups and downs, but they’re all very fun places to socialize and wind down.