Jerez is famous for producing sherry, you simply can’t visit this destination without discovering their unique and vibrant bars to be found on the Ruta de Los Tabancos.
The word Tabanco derives from a combination of an estanco (a small shop) and tabaco (tobacco shop). There are 6 tabancos listed as part of the Ruta de Los Tabancos in the centre of Jerez. These small bars are packed with rustic charm and character, not just aimed at tourists, there were plenty of locals popping in for a sherry or two during our visit.
Our suggestion would be to try a sherry and a tapa in each establishment, I promise it won’t blow your budget, we are talking under €5 for 2 sherry tastings and a tapa to share between 2. The tabancos were all situated within a 400m walking distance. Therefore you don’t need to worry too much about which order to try them in.
These are the different types of sherry you can taste in Jerez de la Frontera.
Fino: Pale / golden in colour, with a sharp & delicate aroma, light and dry on the palate and aged under a veil of yeast known as flor.
Amontillado: Amber in colour, a subtle taste of hazelnut, smooth and full on the palate.
Oloroso: Amber to mahogany in colour, nutty aroma and full bodied.
Palo Cortado: Bright mahogany in colour this sherry combines the smooth qualities of Amontillado with the body of Oloroso.
Pale Cream: Straw in colour, with a delicate bouquet and slightly sweet.
Cream: Mahogany in colour, a sweet sherry produced from Oloroso, velvet palate and full bodied.
Pedro Ximénez: Dark mahogany in colour, strong aroma of raisin, smooth and sweet in the mouth.
Six tabancos are listed as participating in the Ruta de Los Tabancos in Jerez. We suggest tasting the sherry in the order above if you want to try the different varieties.
Tabanco Las Banderillas (Calle Caballeros 12)
Tabanco San Pablo (Calle San Pablo 12)
Tabanco Plateros (Calle Algarve 35)
Tabanco El Pasaje (Calle Santa Maria 8)
Tabanco La Pandilla (Calle Los Valientes 14)
Tabanco El Guitarrón de San Pedro (Calle Bizcocherros 16)
We visited 4 of the above at lunchtime, if you only have time for one of them, head to El Pasaje!
On our visit we paired our sherry with a tapa, depending on the tapas menu. If you’re not sure what to eat with your drink, don’t be too shy to ask at the bar for some advice and be a bit adventurous.
Tabanco El Pasaje has fabulous service, your bill is chalked up on the bar and they have live flamenco at 14:00 and 21:00 every day. We tasted a cream sherry with a tapa of queso viejo (old cheese) and a tuna ahumado montadito (smoked tuna on bread).
Tabanco Las Banderillas has fabulous memorabilia adorning the walls, we were recommended to try the house special rabo de toro (oxtail / bulls tail), however it was still being prepared in the kitchen, so we made do with a glass of fino and boquerones (anchovies in vinegar).
Tabanco Plateros was quite classy with well dressed local gentlemen partaking in a sherry or two. We paired the Oloroso with chicharrones (pig skin), expecting crispy pork crackling, this was actually cold chunks of cooked meat.
Tabanco San Pablo was disappointing, they were late opening and the garlic dish (ajo campero) we particularly wanted to try with our sherry is only available at the weekends. We tasted Amontillado and left.
Tasting sherry has never been so much fun! We highly recommend going tabanco hopping if you get the chance in Jerez.