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Sun’s Out: The Beach Bars To Visit Now

From Barcelona to beyond, why the chiringuito is the best place to spend your summer holiday

  • View from Xiringuito de la Mei, Platja de Ses Oliveres, Cadaqués, Spain. Photograph by Mr Adrian Morris

As summer edges ever nearer, there must be few of us who don’t long to be beachside, cocktail in hand, enjoying the cooling effect of a sea breeze. Of course, the Spanish, experts at long, hot summers, have already come up with the perfect solution to the languor of endless warm days: chiringuitos. These are beachside bars with a relaxed attitude, hybrid day-to-night spaces that open with breakfast and roll all the way into late-night music, cocktails and dancing. Some are no more than beach shacks with plastic chairs and a come-as-you-are dress code offering laid-back brunches and chilled-out afternoon drinking for those not minded to move far from the beach. Others are more sophisticated, with smart terraces and highbrow culture on offer alongside the sangria.

Popularised in Barcelona, the casual all-day approach to beach life has also spread to places such as DubaiRio de Janeiro and even landlocked London. What they all have in common is a commitment to informality. We’ve found five hot spots, below, where you can choose to lounge languidly in the sun or dance in your swim shorts until dawn.

Vai Moana, Playa del Bogatell, Barcelona

  • Photograph by Mr Adrian Morris

  • Mussels and croquettes at Vai Moana. Photographs by Mr Adrian Morris

There are a lot of chiringuitos to choose from in Barcelona. Rather than stumbling into the first one you find, head slightly further away from the busy Barceloneta Beach to Vai Moana on Bogatell beach. It’s a little chiringuito (or as it is locally known, xiringuito), that takes inspiration from Easter Island. The restaurant rolls right down to the beach, with a “nothing is fried” menu, so the health-conscious (and the not-so conscious) can dine guilt-free any time of day.

What to wear

  • Loewe + Paula's Ibiza Wide-Leg Printed Linen Shorts

  • Álvaro Antonio Suede Sandals

Xiringuito de la Mei, Platja de Ses Oliveres, Cadaqués

  • Photograph by Mr Adrian Morris

  • Grilled skate at Xiringuito de la Mei. Photographs by Mr Adrian Morris

Further up the coast in Girona, looking over azure-blue seas, which famously drew Mr Salvador Dalí to the region, this busy chiringuito sits on the sand, serving beautifully plated fish dishes made fresh with the day’s catch and a selection of well-crafted tapas. At night, check with the bar to find out whether it’s salsa music, a performance of acoustic guitar, or if something else entirely will be your soundtrack to the night.

What to wear

  • Mollusk Sinking Sunset Printed Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt

  • Missoni Mid-Length Printed Swim Shorts

Chiringuito Blue, Santa Eulalia, Ibiza

  • Photograph by Ms Ana Lui, courtesy of Chiringuito Blue

  • Frozen yoghurt at Chiringuito Blue, Ibiza. Photograph by Ms Ana Lui, courtesy of Chiringuito Blue

Opened last summer in Santa Eulalia, on the quieter side of the White Isle, Chiringuito Blue boasts a tasty menu curated by one of Tel Aviv’s most respected chefs, Mr Haim Cohen. Expect sustainably and locally sourced Middle Eastern-inspired Mediterranean dishes at this buzzworthy beachside bar. Sun loungers, scatter cushions and a smoke-free beach set the scene for a tranquil place to spend the day, idly watching boats sailing back and forth to Formentera, cocktail in hand.

What to wear

  • Jacquemus Slim-Fit Striped Knitted Linen Shirt

  • Persol Round-Frame Tortoiseshell Acetate and Rose Gold-Tone Sunglasses

Chiringuito, Bethnal Green, London

  • House salad at Chiringuito. Photograph courtesy of Chiringuito

  • Photograph courtesy of Chiringuito

The last time we checked, there was no beach in east London. Nevertheless, that hasn't deterred restaurateur Mr Alex Dehayen from taking inspiration from chiringuitos around the world and opening his own version. His Spanish-inspired beach bar has been converted from a former public restroom, with a rooftop overlooking gardens. Still, you can expect the same lazy ethos and all-day opening, with tapas (try roast pork belly in a chilli pisco sauce), cocktails and sangria, just as you’d find in Spain. With the addition of locally brewed beer, of course.

What to wear

  • visvim Camp-Collar Printed Silk and Cotton-Blend Shirt

  • Mr P. Slim-Fit Grey Stretch Wool and Cotton-Blend Drawstring Trousers

Waikiki, Playa de Los Lances, Tarifa

  • Photograph courtesy of Waikiki

  • Ceviche at Waikiki Tarifa. Photograph courtesy of Waikiki

Meanwhile, in southern Spain, on Costa de la Luz in breezy Tarifa sits Waikiki, which opens very early for breakfast and stays that way until late. On Fridays and Saturdays, there’s a comprehensive programme of live music including hip-hop, funk, jazz and soul from musicians from all over the world. In high summer, it’s a very popular spot, perfect for sitting on the deck with a drink to watch the sunset, so do reserve a space. Be sure to try the calamari while you’re there.

What to wear

  • Aimé Leon Dore Block Party Camp-Collar Printed Cotton Shirt

  • Beams Plus + Kaptain Sunshine Cotton-Twill Shorts

A sea change

  • Bottega Veneta Intrecciato Cotton-Terry Beach Towel

  • Thom Browne 412 Square-Frame Tortoiseshell Acetate Sunglasses

  • Hampton Sun Hydrating Aloe Continuous Mist, 141g

  • Loro Piana Mid-Length Printed Swim Shorts

  • Master & Dynamic MW60 Leather Wireless Over-Ear Headphones

  • Anderson & Sheppard Grosgrain-Trimmed Straw Panama Hat