Chiringuito Bretta, St Marti d’Empuries, Costa Brava

Chiringuito Bretta, St Marti d’Empuries, Costa Brava

The chiringuito or beach bar can be found on most Costa Brava beaches these days, a chance to retreat from the heat and enjoy a cool beer or a snack in the shade. They usually pop up around March and are gone by September / October.

What were once ramshackle wooden sheds serving cheap fare, many have now evolved into culinary destinations with menus and prices that you’d expect to see in more higher class establishments. The ´spit and sawdust´variety are still abundant for lovers of plastic chairs and frayed bamboo screens.

And so it was that one evening I was dropping off someone at the nearby Hostel Empuries, a chic 4 star beachfront place near  the Empuries Ruins museum. I heard rumba music emanating within earshot but couldn’t see from where. It wasn’t until the next day that we ventured over and found the entrance to Bretta.

I should add that this chiringuito is set back a little from the beach and you can just about make out the sea through the pine trees.

Hugging one side of the museum entrance it is generously laid out with a small interior that has ground to ceiling glass windows. Plentiful outdoor seating options litter its large pebbled terrace that includes repurposed pallets, long bench seats and even deckchairs. A large oval shaped bar dominates one side of its outdoor area, which opens during busier evening hours. A handy option even though waiter service is available.

It’s mid afternoon and we park ourselves on a table, we´re just here for drinks and we observe staff busy serving and taking food orders. No one notices us, I mean we dont expect instantaneous service but Im starting to feel invisible. I’ve written about this occurring at other places before, so deja vu is kicking in.

Eventually it takes one of us to get up and wander over to the bar area. Not a great start. Believing in giving people a second chance we see a poster for an upcoming market day at the bar plus DJ music.

It’s on a Saturday and we arrive at a bustling bar with lots of mini stalls selling vintage clothing, jewellery and assorted hipster knick-knacks. It helps that the weather is good and we spend a merry afternoon trying their cocktails and stall browsing. I can’t comment on the food as none was consumed.

As more punters pile into the bars outdoor areas the DJ decides to come back to work and cranks up the sounds. It’s not long before the pulsating beats prompt people to get  up and dance. After a satisfying stay we left the party at full swing which probably continued till late.

Bretta is sure to be one we will be returning to when it reopens next year.

Summer 2023 opening times; Mon closed, Tues and Wed 11-5, Thurs to Sat 11-4, 7-1am, Sun 11-5

Moscow mule cocktail