The Ruzafa neighbourhood of Valencia has long been the city’s best kept secret – but now the secret is out…
Located south of the city centre, this working-class barrio is one of the most historic areas of the city. As the hip and funky younger brother to the more mainstream Carmen district, this is the place where those in the know are headed for the best tapas, the best bars and the most exciting nightclubs. Into the spotlight steps Ruzafa – the cool, young and hip new thing on the block.
Like the Shoreditch of London, the area is popular with hippies, hipsters and artists and has a chilled, laid back vibe. Ruzafa is by no means a large district but it takes in people from all around the world with a melting pot of cultures and languages. By the day, the area is filled with those seeking out treasures in the vintage shops and visiting the many art galleries.
It is the multicultural feel of the area that lends Ruzafa its diverse nightlife. When the night comes around, the area comes into its own. It’s a small space so it’s easy to come across an abundance of quality bars and restaurants, with a buzzing atmosphere and packed with a lively crowd. The style of the area is mainly bohemian but it is also easy to find elegant bars and eateries.
The main hub of activity is focused around Literato Azorín, which is home to the cool and funky Ubik Café. An eclectic space furnished with vintage and junk shop pieces, this café-cum-bookshop is a great place for a laidback evening. Visitors can enjoy a spot of jazz at their live sessions and a delicious, well-priced dinner with a fusion of tapas and international fare.
Calle Literato Azorín is home to a whole stretch of what are fast becoming Ruzafa’s night-time classics and El Rojo is another great spot for cheap beer and bargain montaditos (mini tapas on bread). The area welcomes the most stylish locals and visitors, and makes a great spot for people watching. Elsewhere, Café Tocado has a Parisian cabaret feel and some delicious (and cheap) cocktails while Taberna Cubana Salsavana offers the opportunity to enjoy Cuban-style salsa dancing and a lively atmosphere. For gin lovers, the Bodegas Biosca on Calle del Doctor Serrano is the place to be. Open since 1932, the family-run bodega has 150 different types of gin. It’s where the locals buy their wine so it has some of the best drinks in town.
If you fancy something a bit different, head on over to the Moroccan-themed Al Rusafi on Calle Buenos Aires, where you can recline on floor cushions whilst sipping mint tea and enjoying delectable Arabic pastries. Those who fancy a boogie can head on over to the XL Playground and dance to pop-indie-electronica tunes until 4am. As Valencia really is a 24-hour party city, there are plenty of late night options, such as the La Posada de Las Animas – an iconic and exclusive nightclub with beautiful décor and the crowd to match.