Our friends from San Sebastián tell us that it’s getting harder to go out for a proper drink in old Donosti. Pintxos have become fashionable, hence many bars are now focusing more on nibbles than on drinks.
The good news is twofold. Firstly, there are more pintxos than ever. And secondly, committed drinkers are being presented with other, new ideas for a night out. One of these is Bar Roberto, a tiny establishment in the town’s Gros neighbourhood and very close to Zurriola Beach. This traditional bar specialises in good vermouth and – as with a lot of things in San Sebastian – competes effortlessly with the trendsetters in Madrid and Barcelona, and with an inimitable Basque flair.
Part of the reason Roberto is so popular is on account of the marianitos – a colossal mixture of Campari, vermouth, a few olives and a delightfully OTT citrus garnish. There are plenty of different vermouths on offer, both red and white, imported and locally-produced. We tried the vermouth they had on tap (a good way to get the measure of any bar) – chanchillo. The glass was generous and served beautifully, with orange zest, ice and olives – and a bargain for €2.50. Of course, since this is San Sebastian, there is an appetizing selection of pintxos available at the bar.
One thing we loved about Bar Roberto was that its position on a pedestrianised street means that there is usually someone enjoying a drink outside, soaking up the sea air. We were also impressed by one of Bar Roberto’s close neighbours, Bar Ricardo – and the proximity means that it’s easy to waft around Gros, nibbling and quaffing to your heart’s content.
Address: Bar Roberto, General Artetxe Kalea, 1, 20002 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, España
Tel: +34 942 27 90 96
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 1200h – 2230h