It’s almost a national institution. The chiringuito, or Spanish beach bar, can really make your holiday that extra bit special. Equipped with young, energetic individuals, music into the night and the cocktails and spirits to match, they are a key feature of most beaches in Spain.
Although many people choose to take their own picnic, it’s good to have another alternative that means you’re not having to leave the beach at lunchtime for something to eat. The chiringuito also serves other purposes. They often sell beach equipment, carry the keys to a toilet and hire out sunbeds. Everything designed to make your day on the beach in Spain just a little more comfortable.
Some Spanish beach bars go even further and are involved in the organisation of volleyball matches, fiestas and flamenca shows. In these cases they can become a focus for groups of young (and older) people who want to make the most of their holiday.
The chiringuito does not stay open all winter and is dismantled at the end of the summer season. Winter storms would reduce some of the wooden shacks to drift wood and the fact that every year they are rebuilt means they should be clean and fit for purpose come the summer. You will perhaps recognise their foundations during the winter months but there may be little else to hint that they’ve been there at all.
Missing chiringuitos on the Orihuela Costa
So why isn’t ours open yet? There is an absence on the Orihuela Costa of the slightest sign of a chiringuito. Without them it just isn’t the same. La Verdad, Spanish newspaper, is one daily which explains what’s happened.
The chiringuitos in this part of the coast are run by a business. They are not individual beach bars but part of a chain. So far, at the time of writing this article, one company hasn’t yet been agreed on to run them this year.
Four companies have been interested but none have sealed the necessary contract in spite of the bids being submitted in February. Whoever is successful is expected to contribute a substantial amount to the city’s coffers and must have the correct quality certificate. Not everyone is happy that these conditions are being fairly applied and the whole process is being held up in the interim.
Whilst the contract hasn’t been awarded, these Spanish beach bars remain closed. A serious blow to the local tourist trade and those using the beaches. In the meantime, time is running out. The chiringuitos won’t appear on the beach overnight. Valuable business is being lost whilst beach goers are missing their regular watering holes. A lose, lose situation really.
It’s to be hoped that the town council soon gets its act together if the holidaymakers aren’t to be left washed-up and thirsty at the beach this year.