Firstly, you must have a full stomach if you are going to last the evening. Like in the rest of Spain, a night out doesn't start until after dinner. So knowing how to begin your night means knowing where to eat. For 'bar hopping', you can leave the romantic restaurants aside and get stuck into some pintxos (Northern Spain's very own tapas) which are usually eaten whilst standing up at the bar. You can do this at pretty much any and every bar on Calle Estafeta but the coolest place to be during any evening in the old town is by the Navarrería Fountain.
Around the fountain
This triangular-shaped area is always packed with locals who tend to sit down on the ground around the fountain, enjoying their pintxos and drinks bought from the surrounding bars. Not only is the vibe always friendly and buzzing but also, there is no pretentiousness in this part of the old town whatsoever. You can dress however you want, speak at the volume you choose, sit on the ground, stay standing, bring your own booze, drink from a can, and nobody there is going to judge you for it. It is Pamplona in its rawest, purest and finest form.
NavarreríaCalle Navarrería, 31001 Pamplona, Navarra, Spain
Mesón de la TortillaCalle Navarrería, 12, 31001 Pamplona, Navarra, Spain
Caldi is a must
Now that you've lined your stomach - hopefully at the Mesón de la Tortilla which is renowned locally for its delicious Spanish omelettes – you can now really begin to soak up the vibe around the fountain, mingling with local people and hopping in and out of the surrounding bars. But where to next? Around the corner to Calle Calderería.
Here you will find Toki Leza which feels like a cosy but modest pub, reminiscent of those you get in Northern Europe, only with its own Basque character and local idiosyncrasies. A drink here is enough before you move a little further down this quaint and charming cobbled street, which some locals affectionately refer to as 'Caldi' for short, and arrive at Garazi. This bar is probably the most popular on Caldi, playing a range of alternative music and hosting live bands from time to time. What's more is that it's directly opposite Terminal, which is perhaps the coolest rock bar in town. The best thing to do is drink in both Terminal and Garazi, popping in and out of the two as the night goes on. Everybody does it and besides, this is what bar hopping is all about.
Toki LezaCalle Calderería, 7, 31001 Pamplona, Navarra, Spain
Garazi barCalle Calderería, 36, 31001 Pamplona, Navarra, Spain
Bar TerminalCalle Calderería, 19, 31001 Pamplona, Navarra, Spain
Going to San Francisco?
At this point here are your options; You could stay put, go to the main square or even across the square to San Nicolás which is a slightly more upmarket option. But what you should really do is head straight to Calle San Francisco, to El Nebula. This 1970s themed bar, where the DJ still plays vinyl records, is a great late spot for that last round of drinks and intoxicated dance moves at some point in the early hours. So if you started at the fountain, went on to Caldi then finally made it here, you've done it like a pro.
“Don’t bother with churches, government buildings or city squares. If you want to know about a culture, spend a night in its bars.” - Ernest Hemingway (1899 - 1961)
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Adam L. Maloney
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