You might think this is going to be a short guide, especially if you believe some travel articles/forums which seem to believe that nightlife in Puerto de la Cruz consists of plazas from which to watch the world go by and a couple of sedate British bars.
It’s true El Puerto in the north of Tenerife isn’t a centre that’s ideal for young Brits looking for other young Brits and familiar bars playing familiar music. But neither is it sleepy town. Puerto de la Cruz boasts a diverse nightlife to suit varying tastes and age groups (although ageism in bars doesn’t exist here so you can go wherever takes your fancy without fear of a ‘look’). There’s certainly enough to draw hordes of young locals from the surrounding valley during the weekends.
Sitting in a plaza watching the world parade by is a very relaxing way to ease into the evening and to get to know the town. Bar Dinámico in Plaza Charco is probably top choice as local life resolves around this large leafy plaza. The bar has live music, as does nearby Compostelana. However, the quality varies and styles shift from ‘middle of the road crowdpleasers’ to Spanish. Okay if you’re a Baby Boomer but Generation X and above might find it dated. Café Paris and Café de la Noche on Avenida Colón attract a mature clientele and are in a super position for watching ‘promenaders’.
The Ebáno Café on Plaza Iglesia is a stylish and elegant alternative with occasional weddings to add interest and a backdrop of soothing Spanish music from the Hotel Marquesa on the other side of the plaza adding a suitable soundtrack.
More tucked away is the creative Agora Bar in lovely little Plaza Benito Perez Galdez in the fishermen’s district.
From Nine till Midnight
This can be a quiet period with locals even though it is the busy period with visiting Northern Europeans in the winter months.
We like to head to Calle Agustin de Bethencourt just behind the harbour. There are a handful of stylish bars on this narrow street that are perfect for just taking it easy. La Maison Belge is also an off licence selling Belgian beers whilst La Ventita doubles as a deli and serves tapas to pick at with your copa de vino. There’s a really nice local vibe on this small street.
For fans of live music, Irish bar Molly Malone’s near the harbour is popular with the more mature British crowd whilst getting a seat at La Tejas Verde on Puerto Viejo, Spanish sounds, isn’t easy due to its popularity. Take a taxi out of town to one of the most striking cocktail bars on Tenerife. Abaco is located in an 18th century mansion, a rather grand venue for live jazz sessions.
If it’s sport you’re after, then take your pick of any number of bars screening Spanish football matches but for English Premier league games and international sporting events it has to be The Beehive on Calle La Hoya.
This is when the liveliest bars really get going and many visitors who’ve headed to bed don’t even know they exist. The best bars are in the streets off the main drag in the old town behind Plaza del Charco and the harbour. Some are tucked away in old buildings, their beautiful courtyards concealed from passers by. Names chop and change on a regular basis here but there is always a fabulous selection of interesting and good looking bars. As de Kopas, Elements, Colour Café and Pequeña Buda are attractive, modern bars for a cocktail before heading to Blanco Bar (great live music ranging from Spanish rock to blues to top class tribute bands), the rammed outdoor terrace at Limbo (DJs and occasional live bands) and sultry and sweaty, Cuban salsa heaven, Azucar.
For a late night dose of excellent traditional folk music Mario’s Bodego, in a narrow alley between Calle La Hoya and Paseo San Telmo, has been a bit of a secret for years. Right in the heart of the most popular tourist part of town, but rarely a mention on Tripadvisor when anyone asks about live music bars.
The bars above hit their peaks between midnight and 3am, after that Avenida Familia Bethencourt y Familia is where most of the clubs are located. It’s probably Tenerife’s gay nightlife centre as well. Vampis is the most famous but there are plenty of others on the avenue featuring music ranging from dance to rock to Latino.
It’s a mystery to us but many visitors ignore the regular music festivals that are held beside Casa Aduana on the harbour. Over the year there will be jazz, traditional Canarian, heavy rock, indie rock, Latino and blues with kiosks selling drinks at cheap prices (€1 a cerveza, €3.50 for a spirit and mixer). Invariably the crowds at these will be almost totally locals. Who knows why when they’re free and you get to hear original music.
Sometimes the publicity isn’t great but if you’re around the old town, where the best of the nightlife is to be found, you can’t miss when a festival is being held.
The bottom line with nightlife in Puerto de la Cruz is that if visitors stick to UK hours (hitting bars between 9 and midnight), the chances are they’ll miss the best. Nightlife is geared to the local population, which is perfect for people seeking the real Tenerife.
Jack is co-owner, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Google+