I can’t decide which was the highlight of yesterday’s Benimaclet bar crawl: the superb bocadillo in El Chaval; or the little Chinese boy whipping his todger out and having a piss right in the middle of Molino III.
And, damn, someone better teach that kid that a tiny scrunched up serviette is not going to clean up his warm little puddles of filth – it just smears it around, if anything. Alternatively we could just teach him not to piss on the floor. But who are we to decide how he lives his life…
The bar crawl seems to be a typically British concept. Choose an area, choose your drinking team and choose your poison. However this notion does not translate well to a Spanish audience. Even the linguistic bible that is WordReference.com cannot provide a suitable translation for the phenomenon that often leaves fully grown men withered, moneyless and slurring in a dark corner of Wetherspoons. The closest thing in Spanish to describe the bar crawl is ir de bar en bar which, contrary to most Spanish translations, seems lacking in pizzazz for such a celebrated British rite of passage.
The bar crawl was planned in order to celebrate our housemate’s first work-free weekend. And how better to celebrate than a good ole daytime piss up? Our 8-man-strong team left the flat at 12:30 after having put €10 each into the collective stash. The aim? 15 minutes in each bar, one caña per person, per bar and finishing with some top nosh.
First stop – Gioconda – a small Italian bar in the “rough end” of Benimaclet. A pleasant little place with Italian TV on in the background. A good start.
7 cañas and 1 coke: €8
Free tapas: crisps with lemon and pepper, peanuts
Our next stop off wasn’t on the agenda. Molino III is “un bar de chinos en él que el morro está bueno” where the boys used to go to watch the football. We decided to pop in for a quick caña and a plate of morro (pork scratchings). Food: good. Beer: good. Décor: left much to be desired; looked like a poorly kept store room in a fallout shelter. Ambience: disconcerting; child piss.
C/ Benicarló 35
9 cañas, 1 clara
Free tapas: crisps
Other tapas: morro
Next up was Baltasar Seguí, a bodega with barrels of wine behind the counter and rows and rows of spirits and liqueurs lining the walls.
C/ Emilio Baró 17
7 cañas, 2 red wines, 2 vermouth, 1 white wine and 1 fanta naranja: €18.50
Free tapas: nothing
Other tapas: jamón (€2.95 for a tercio and a VERY SPARSE PLATE of Serrano ham)
Then it was on to Bulebar – another Chinese bar with very good prices, cheap and cheerful tapas and Chinese food. By this point the group had grown and spirits were running high.
C/ Vicente Zaragozá 3
10 tercios, 1 clara, 1 cerveza sin
Free tapas: nothing
Other tapas: 2 x bravas
It had been becoming painfully clear by this point that the “15 minute” rule was not being adhered to. It got to 3:15pm before we decided to go for lunch. El Chaval – the pre-agreed lunchtime destination – is a typical “old man” bar complete with mustachioed gentlemen drinking beers and smoking cigars. The trip to El Chaval had been a long time coming – how many times can you walk past chalkboards advertising their “famous” horsemeat bocadillos and not go in for a sample? It just so happened that it coincided with the Valencia vs. Barcelona football match. Woops and screams ensued both thanks to the excellent bocadillos and the Valencia CF victory.
C/San Esperit 3
8 litronas, 2 fanta limón, 12 bocadillos and 8 coffees
Free tapas: peanuts
By this point eyes were looking dreary, legs wobbly and mouths slack. To finish our Benimaclet tour we opted for some pretentious postureo: un gintonic. G&Ts have been experiencing somewhat of a boom in popularity recently in Spain. Once the drink of choice of grandmas, a gintonic is now regularly enjoyed by the Spanish youth. My mum even jumped on the bandwagon and was drinking them on holiday in Lanzarote last week – culo veo, culo quiero eh! Despite initially heading to Chico Ostra – a self-proclaimed “cool” bar named after Tim Burton’s Oyster Boy character – we opted for the comfy sofas and yah ambience of Café Cronopio, which was filled with 20 and 30-somethings jotting poetry down in Moleskins and “working” on their Macbook Airs. Nevertheless the conversation flowed (despite the shushes and occasional protest from a Macbook wanker) and the gintonics sufficiently quenched. A great end to An Unconventional Saturday.
Café Cronopio – C/Barón de San Petrillo 46
4 gintonics, 1 rum coke
Free tapas: nothing
Well, what have we learned from this experience? We have learned that Benimaclet is home to a plethora of fine bars and restaurants. We have learned who can and who cannot handle their ale. We have learned that Alhambra is nicer than Cruzcampo. And we have learned that one serviette is by far the least effective means of cleaning up a puddle of piss.
We managed only a handful of the bars on the list which only means one thing: round two is imminent.
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