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Classic bars that offer an unforgettable experience

The town's oldest tavern, La Campana, is renowned for its selection of local wines and seafood tapas. TONY BRYANT
The town's oldest tavern, La Campana, is renowned for its selection of local wines and seafood tapas. TONY BRYANT
  • Torremolinos boasts numerous old taverns that serve Malaga's characteristic sweet dessert wines

Torremolinos has long been known for its excellent selection of traditional bars and eateries, several of which have enjoyed more than 50 years of service. Those seeking a more authentic experience will find the most traditional Andalusian style taverns and bodegas tucked away in the tranquil plazas and winding side streets, like La Campana in Calle La Cruz, the town's oldest and most iconic tavern.

Founded by Narciso Pérez Texeira in 1957, the bar was one of a franchise that bore the name of La Campana. Pérez Texeira, a former Malaga-based bodega, once owned 21 bars in the province of Malaga and two in Madrid, and they quickly gained a reputation for outstanding quality. Everything that was sold, with the exception of mixers and Victoria beer, was supplied by the Pérez Texeira winery in Malaga, but, like nearly all of the bars, the winery no longer exists. Today, only four of the bars survive: two in Malaga; one in Torre del Mar and one in Torremolinos, although they are all now privately owned.

One of the few bars left in the area that still chalks the bill on the counter-top, La Campana is renowned for the quality of its wines and sherries, and also for the variety of seafood tapas. Twelve oak barrels containing some of the most famous wines of the province line the eight-metre-long bar, and these include Pedro Ximénez, Abocado, and Pajarete, a wine that is unique and very popular in the province of Malaga.

Just a short stroll from here, in Plaza La Fuente, one will discover another of the town's old establishments. La Reja is a family run tapas bar that opened in 1969 and it is still run by the same family today. Decorated with the emblematic Andalusian tiles and walls adorned with images of the Semana Santa processions and local ferias, this little gem offers a wide selection of rustic tapas. The tapas menu offers a mixture of Iberian products, along with a variety of rice and pulse-based dishes or platos de cuchara, as they are known.

Boquerones (fresh anchovies) and calamaries (fried squid) are a speciality of the house, as is the homemade ajo blanco, (chilled almond soup).

Bodega Guerola, which clings to the corner Calle de las Mercedes and Calle San Miguel, is a beautiful and inviting old tavern that was founded in 1962. Mediterranean cuisine and variety of wines in a cozy atmosphere with a touch of distinction are what makes this bar popular. However, the large barrel-type tables outside are the best place to watch the world go by.

Scallops, stuffed mushrooms, asparagus with Serrano ham and sautéed artichokes are just a few of the mouthwatering tapas they offer, but their speciality is the king clams that come directly from the shores of Malaga.

There is also a good choice of Malaga's characteristic sweet wines produced from the Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel grape varieties.