As you drive up towards the tiny village of Montejaque, nestling in the shelter of El Hacho, the mountain that dominates the top end of the Guadiaro valley, little do you imagine that this pueblo blanco of fewer than 1000 inhabitants, boasts 12 bars and restaurants distributed around its narrow streets.
Approaching Montejaque up the Avenida de Knittlingen, named after the German partner town of Montejaque and nearby Benaoján, you first come across Pub 31, which is open afternoons and evenings.
It is popular with younger locals and offers pizzas and bocatas. Around the corner on the road out towards Sevilla, you find Bar Restaurante La Terraza. This place, run by a trio of young men from the village, has earned a reputation for excellent food at reasonable prices.
Further on is the Chiringuito La Terraza, an open air bar catering mainly for youngsters Same owners as Bar La Terraza. This is a chill-out bar serving drinks, tapas and raciones till late. Using a couple of old shipping containers as bar and kitchen, the décor recycles dozens of old pallets. On two levels with a bar restaurant area and a dance floor the view of the mountains is spectacular. Just be aware that because of COVID-19 you must book a table in advance. Closed in winter.
Rejoining the main street, Avenida de Andalucía, which leads up to the original Arab settlement, you find Mesón El Altillo on the right. Juan and his wife offer tapas and full meals. For me, however, the best bars for tapear (sounds much nicer than pub crawl, its approximate meaning, doesn’t it?) are concentrated in and around the village square, Plaza de la Constitución, and the narrow alleys of the old village.
Just before the square, on Calle Nueva, is one of the best, El Patio de Frasquito Pedro. With its spacious internal terrace, this place, owned and run by Pepe and Eli, offers the lot: drinks, tapas, raciones and an à la carte menu at sensible prices. El Patio is popular with foreigners and locals alike.
Dive down the hill opposite and you will come across the delightfully located Restaurante La Casita. It is run these days by Max, an Italian who has “chef-ed” all over the world. His specialities are home-made pizzas and at the weekends some very tasty gourmet tapas. Cash only here.
Next stop, up an alley by the La Caixa bank, is Bar Bodeguita Don Adrián, owned by Alonso, who also supplies embutidos (sausages, cold meats, etc) to the trade. Decorated with flamenco and bullfighting memorabilia, this little bodega offers quality tapas using the afore-mentioned embutidos, tasty cheeses and other local products. Only open from Friday to Sunday.
In the pretty square are three establishments, each quite different from the other. The aptly named Bar El Rincón, nestling in one corner, is run by Antonio and Anita, who offer tapas and raciones. Fluent German is spoken here, since the couple lived and worked in Knittlingen for many years.
Next door is the Hotel Palacete de Mañara and its adjacent bar and restaurant Entre Ascuas. Run by Álvaro and his wife Ana, the drinks and eats are good quality and very good value. Specialities are carnes a la brasa, paella and a range of excellent gourmet tapas.
On the south side is he friendly Bar La Melli, run by Pepi, with help from son Dani and husband Alonso. Open all day (except Thursdays), the breakfasts are especially good, as are the tapas and raciones available for the rest of the day.
Just off the square, tucked in behind the church is the late night bar, Café Pub Nazarí. Run by Javi, who is in his early 20s, it is mainly used by local youngsters who want to stay up till late, and by me!
Finally, my favourite bar of all, which has no name outside. Known locally as Bar Armando, the licensee is Pepa, who took over from her father 30 years ago. She runs the kitchen, while husband Armando, a retired builder, runs the bar. Armando is a big Real Madrid fan, but when they lose, he is quite happy to acknowledge that the other team was better. Take the two Champions League games with Liverpool in 2008, when the crack Spanish side were taken apart by the Merseysiders (5-1 on aggregate). He could tell us exactly where the Madrid coach had got his tactics wrong. With cheap drinks, and tapas at only 20 céntimos, you simply can’t go wrong here.
So, that’s my round-up of the bar scene in Montejaque. Whether you go on a pub crawl or prefer to call it de tapeo, you’ll have a great time! ¡Salud!
Original version published in The Olive Press in 2010.
This version revised and updated 17 September 2021.
El Patio de Frasquito Pedro has recently closed its doors for good. Pepe and his wife have retired and the bar is for sale. Interested parties please contact Paul Whitelock on 636527516.