A chance to meet up with my well travelled childhood friend Rory. He always knows the best and worst places to go in the city and gives you the alternative tour, not so much focusing on the history aspects, but more – this is the best place to eat, don’t go in that bar I got thrown out of there, and here’s good to get shit faced.
San Sebastian is a great little “Basque” city. It’s basically the Spanish Biarritz, and if you’re looking for a weekend away San Sebastian would be perfect for a city/beach break. It’s nice to be back in a modern environment but where you can still witness all the regions old traditions. This city has a nice vibe and you can get caught up in the buzz but still has the feeling of a smaller surf town. The buildings and architecture are typically basque with large white building with the crimson wooden shutters, and the inner city is lined with tall skinny apartments towering over the back alleys and lanes, all with the intricate cast iron railings on their balconies.
We finally succumb to the pinchos concept. This is where a bar will be completely covered with plates of canape type foods ranging from squid and octopus to little meaty treats. Usually priced about 1.5 Euros each this is a great way to snack while you get sozzled on the local cider. You have to order at least one cider, even if you’re not too keen, just to have the bar staff pour the drink from above their heads into a glass held waist height. This process is to aerate the drink so you can release the real taste of the cider, and it also makes a good picture for the tourists.
Unusually one of the best bars to literally soak up these old traditions is Bar Sport. I would usually walk straight past sports bars in the UK as they are they are often your working mans drinking pub, but don’t let the name deceive you this is a hidden gem. If you’re feeling brave order the squid and also the octopus, it’s served as fresh as it comes, and if you can get past your squeamish reservations you will be rewarded with a taste sensation and a good story to tell when you get home.