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BarcoBar is tiki-style spot that floats on the water off Marbella SUR
Bars floating on water or hidden in caves: are these the Costa del Sol's most quirky places to grab a drink?

Bars floating on water or hidden in caves: are these the Costa del Sol's most quirky places to grab a drink?

Summer isn't going anywhere, for now, so here are some places to get a refreshing cocktail while the sun's still out, but don't expect a typical bar

Anthony Piovesan

Malaga

Thursday, 14 September 2023, 20:01

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As a destination known for its natural beauty, with kilometres of picturesque coastline and rolling Andalusian hills, the Costa del Sol is home to more than a few spectacular spots to have a drink and take it all in. But some bars go the extra mile to have an edge over their rival watering holes, offering a bit more than a stunning view to go with your cocktail of choice.

BarcoBar Marbella

This bar, for instance, isn’t even on land and offers people a drinking experience like no other along the coast. The tiki-style spot claims to be the first floating sea bar on the Costa del Sol.

As the BarcoBar does not charter craft people, you'll need your own means of transportation to visit such as a jet-ski, water taxi, boat, paddle board, water bicycle or anything else that floats. But your efforts are rewarded with a freshly made cocktail awaiting you on arrival. The location of the bar depends on the day and the weather. It's mainly between Puerto Banus and Elviria, of which the exact coordinates you'll find on the BarcoBar's WhatsApp and social media.

BarcoBar, Marbella SUR
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Owners Eva and Jan Meenhorst, mother and son originally from The Netherlands but living in Marbella, took the plunge with the radical idea and opened the bar just this summer. It’s new on the Costa del Sol, so drop in, dock your floaty onto the bar island, hop aboard and cheers the summer away.

More details about BarcoBar at: www.barcobar.es 

The Pharmacy, Malaga

There’s no better medicine sometimes than a good old fashioned cocktail, and if you’ve managed to find this quirky venue in the narrow Calle García Briz of Malaga city, then you’ve stumbled across the right place. Whether it's a Spanish sour or Singapore sling, or perhaps you’re undecided, the talented mixologists here will know exactly what drink you need.

In 2018, Elías Bentolila’s watering hole was deemed the best new cocktail bar in Spain. The Pharmacy won the top gong at Diageo's prestigious World Class Competition. Boasting a long list of liquid prescriptions, be prepared to spend a generous portion of time here until you walk out later on, a bit happy and back into the labyrinth of Malaga city’s historical centre, feeling much better than before.

You can find this gem on Calle García Briz, 3, 29005 Malaga

Billy’s Piano Bar, Torremolinos

There’s a few stars of the show that make this funky lounge bar, just a stone’s throw away from La Nogalera, a memorable place to have a drink. Every night from Thursday to Sunday, you can expect live music and entertainment. The bar features local performers, visiting artists, and even the occasional Broadway or West End star. And while you’re enjoying some jazz music, sipping on a creative craft cocktail and enjoying the 1920’s inspired decor, you might get the pleasure of seeing Billy, who the bar is named after.

Billy’s Piano Bar, Torremolinos
Billy’s Piano Bar, Torremolinos SUR

Billy is the beloved cat of the bar owners, Daniel and Sean Philpott-Jones, and they sometimes bring him in to make a guest appearance. The couple from New York opened the bar just last year and have combined their talents in music and hospitality to create this gem in the heart of Torremolinos.

Billy's Piano Bar is on Calle Casablanca, 22, 29620 Torremolinos and their website is www.billiespianobar.com

Cave Bar, Nerja

Enjoy an ice-cool drink and pub feed at this quirky space, tucked away inside a cave in the hills of the charming resort village of Nerja. If you’re tall then you may want to duck your head as you enter the cosy dimly-lit bar with its classic Andalusian whitewashed bar top and stone ceiling, barely a metre above your head.

Cave Bar, Nerja SUR
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There’s plenty for owners, Aaron Elias and Nigel Jones, to boast about the bar, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year, but perhaps their go-to is how the cult board game Trivial Pursuit came to be invented at the venue. The creators of the game ventured into the bar one night and brainstormed the idea, which has now resulted in more than 100 million sales worldwide in 17 languages.

Cave Bar can be found at: Capistrano Village, C. los Gladiolos, Local 1, 29780 Nerja

Buddha Bar, Benalmádena

Find inner-peace with a cocktail, and the Buddha, at this bar in Benalmádena. Everywhere you look there is something to see here, but you definitely can’t look past the huge Buddha right by the bar. Elvis Presley will greet you in the men’s bathroom, and Marilyn Monroe in the ladies.

The bar owner has gone to an impressive effort to collect a wide range of different ornaments, cushions, chairs, mirrors and paintings to give people a reason to remember the venue, and Benalmádena by. Don’t forget to rub the Buddha’s belly before you leave for good luck!

This bar is located at: Plaza Olé, 3, 29630 Benalmádena

Pastrami Bar, Malaga

You might find this bar a few steps from the popular Plaza de La Merced and think it’s just a small fast-food stand where pastrami snacks are served, but if you open the bathroom door, that all changes. The space is inspired by speakeasies that were prevalent in 1920s New York due to the era of alcohol prohibition, deliberately making passersby clueless about what’s really happening.

Pastrami Bar, Malaga SUR
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Beyond the bathroom door, everything is upside down, yes that’s right, the toilets and sink attached to the ceiling. Then you get to the lounge and are greeted by a unique play of lights. There’s also an exclusive pink room to enjoy a cocktail. So, fair to say, you can’t just get a sandwich here.

Pastrami Bar is on instagram at: @pastramimalaga

Arxiduna restaurant

In the heart of Archidona, a small village near Antequera, you'll be forgiven if you missed the Arxiduna restaurant, but you'll probably regret it. It's in La Plaza Ochavada but tucked away inside one of the village's historical caves. The interior of the restaurant are excavated natural caves, which in the 9th century constituted a Mozarabic church before the Plaza Ochavada square existed. Once inside, you'll notice that you're not just in a single cave, but at a point where four caves join together. Not a bad place for some tapas or a drink, and to escape the blistering heat in summer.

Details on how to find this restaurant are at: www.restaurantearxiduna.com

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