Going out Culture in Sevilla Posted on October 21st, 2011 by

Spanish people like to go out. No matter how old, how late, how often, they all go out, even during weeknights but definitely weekends. Sometimes I get tired of making excuses for not going out when my host mom asks. I feel like she goes out more than I do.

Going out here does not necessarily means drinking and getting drunk but varies in many different ways. My friends and I are not heavy drinkers so we usually go out to have a “tapa,” a “tinto” and chat. “Tapa” is not a type of food but rather a way of eating in Spain. “Tapa” is like an appetizer that people share with each other when they eat. “Tinto” or “Tinto de verano” is a popular alcoholic drink here with very little wine and mostly lemonade. “Tapa” bar usually closes around one in the morning.

For those who have higher alcohol tolerance, they go to bars to have stronger drinks and talk with friends. The street that goes along the Guadalquivir is called “Calle Betis” and it is a street full of bars and a few clubs where people drink and socialize. The streets attract many people because it is in the center of the city and has a beautiful view of the Guadalquivir River at night. I find it hard not to bump into people I know when crossing “Calle Betis” on a weekend night because that is where most of us students prefer to spend our Friday and Saturday night.

View of the Guadalquivir River at night!

Spanish people and especially students go out almost every weekend night and if they were to go to bars to have drinks every time, that would cost them a lot of money, so they have another way to drink: “botellón”. The word “botella” in Spanish means bottle and “botellón” is the verb of “botella”, which means drinking from the bottle. The origin of “botellón” is actually from Andalusia – one of the autonomous communities in Southern Spain, whose capital and largest city is Sevilla. It is the way Spanish youngsters buy alcohol from supermarkets and consume it in public. A drink in a bar usually costs about 5 or 6 euros whereas a bottle of wine costs about 2 to 3 euros. It is cheaper this way and it is also the way most people choose to do. Drinking in public is forbidden in Sevilla so people often mix and keep the alcohol in coke bottles and the bottles in a plastic bag. One of my favorite things to do with my friends on weekend nights is to sit somewhere by the river talking and watching drunk people because they act differently when they are drunk and it is hilarious to watch. Sometimes random people would come to us and tell us their life story! The bad thing out “botellón” is that when people are done, they leave the bottles and the bags right where they were, making a massive mess on the streets.

People drinking and socializing at night

Streets in Sevilla after "botellon"










People in Spain drink a lot and they can drink really early too but it is quite different from the States as binge drinking merely exists here. People drink but the purpose of drinking is to socialize. In one of my professor’s viewpoint, in the States students drink, drink, drink, … then pass out whereas Spanish students drink, talk, drink, talk, … then go home. After drinking, Spanish people actually do not go home but go dancing in clubs and discos. Everyone dances here. My host mom was really surprised at me when I told her I do not like dancing and she was serious about giving me a dancing lesson. Most bars here close at two in the morning and that is when clubs start to get crowded. People dance all night long and do not go home until dawn!


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