Salamanca is a city of wall to wall bars. If you wanted to set yourself the challenge of visting each and every one, it wouldn’t be the easiest of tasks. Bars are literally everywhere – many are bright, loud and almost obnoxious, while others are tucked away around quiet corners, hidden at the bottom of steep stairwells or buried deep in the suburbs. I certainly have my favourites, all for different reasons (bar staff, cocktails, outrageously cheap drinks, music) and due to the volume of bars, I discover new ones quite often to add to my ever-growing list. The latest is El Tio Vivo, located on Calle Clavel, a stones throw from the Plaza Mayor.
‘Tiovivo’ is the Spanish word for merry-go-round or carousel. The name for the bar comes from the carousel horses suspended from the roof to the counter, the very first things you see when you enter. El Tio Vivo isn’t just a bar. It’s also a theatre, a music venue and serves a huge selection of teas and coffee. What makes this place special is the great atmosphere – It’s moody (thanks to the candlelight setting and red velvet curtains) it’s got old cameras, studio lights, a mirrored ceiling and plenty of mismatched knick-knacks.
Although they don’t serve food, Fear not, nibblers. There’s a huge treasure chest filled with monkey nuts, as well as a giant bowl of sunflower seeds at the bar – consumption unlimited. Wise choice serving shelled snacks – finally it’s ok to eat the bar nuts! El Tio Vivo is an incredibly relaxing place. It’s music selection is just as eclectic as it’s decor, with songs from the 40s one minute and The Strokes the next. They also offer free WiFi, and the bar has the largest alcohol selection I’ve ever seen in Salamanca. Whatever you feel like, chances are they stock it, at a very good price.
Speaking of alcohol, the most expensive drink to order is a Gin & Tonic. Be careful if you’re a fan – it’s quite pricy here. Although you will get a large fish bowl sized glass, it will set you back around €7-€9, about the price of a bottle in the supermarket.
Niall chewin’ nuts and taking advantage of the free WiFi
A very out of focus chest of nuts.
A photo taken from El Tio Vivo’s page, so you can see what it looks like during the day!
El Tio Vivo opens every Sunday-Thursday from 15.30pm until 3.30am, Saturdays and during city festivals until 4.30am. It’s a great place to consider if you’re visiting Salamanca or studying here. I just wish I knew about it sooner!
One little word of advice though…there never seems to be any soap or much toilet paper in the Ladies room. This happens a lot in Salamanca, it doesn’t seem to be much of a priority here. Yikes. Bringing along some tissues and hand sanitiser is a must!
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