There’s just too much going on at night in Playa de las Américas, so for the latest in Tenerife Magazine’s bar hopping series, we decided to split it into two, concentrating first on the area around the Safari Centre and the patch.
The pair resembled creatures from Resident Evil. Red-rimmed sockets framed glazed eyes; they lurched toward me with a gait favoured by the undead in many cheap horror flicks.
“Shhhcooz me, mate,” one raised a heavy limb in my direction. “Jooo know where shhtrip is?”
It was shortly after 9pm and the two fitted the stereotypical description of what many believe to be the norm in Playa de las Américas. As it turned out they’d strayed way off course and were outside the Safari Centre. I pointed then in the right direction and, after stopping to enjoy the dancing fountain and some rousing flamenco coming from La Martina Grill, headed to Parque de la Paz.
With entertainment in nearly every bar in the row, it was mind-boggling to choose where to start. Every bar overflowed with customers; an excellent sign for the resort. Outside The Corner Bar I nearly called the police as a singer murdered Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl; that plus the slick sounds coming from Soul Suite helped make up my mind. It was a hot night even by Tenerife standards and a pint of cool lager (€3.50) was an essential research tool. It was standing room only at Soul Suite as Lee St Lawrence sang old soul classics with a professional smoothness before giving way to Tenerife’s answer to Diana Ross, Sheila Tyson. The music was pleasant, but after about thirty minutes I decided I’d had my dose of Motown for the time being.
The Bull’s Head
Rod Stewart at Lazy Days was doing a decent job, but wasn’t my cup of tea. I actually sat down in the Hole in the Wall, then the singer started belting out If your Irish Come into the Parlour. The antiquated song had me heading for the exit faster than a cannonball, coincidentally a line that helped me choose my next stop. In The Bull’s Head, the resident band, Vagabond, were performing a damn good version of Champagne Supernova by Oasis. It’s an attractive bar with plenty of space, service was sharp and prices reasonable (€3 a pint of lager). But Vagabond set it apart from the other places nearby. These are bona-fide musicians. The line-up seems to change on a regular basis, Christian Taylor is currently lead singer, but the quality remains impressive. Some of the guitar playing was electrifying. With anthems ranging from Jon Bon Jovi to Jimi Hendrix and everybody’s current favourites Kings of Leon, there were hot sounds to get all ages rocking. I could happily have taken root at the bar, but there were other night spots to check out.
Leonardo’s came up with something completely new to me. They asked me to pay for the drink before they brought it. The friendly, efficient staff had the decency to be embarrassed by this, but it conjured up the thought “What sort of people frequent this part of town”. Platinum were on the tiny stage and although the two X-Factor girls tried their best to engage with the audience, their efforts fell flat. After twenty minutes of feeling embarrassed for them I went in search of somewhere livelier.
Much more inviting inside than it looks from the street, Shenanigans was packed to the gunwales. Despite being madly busy, I was served pronto (€3.50 a pint). The bar was bouncing when I arrived about 11.30pm thanks to the exceptional Looney Tunes. The music screamed along from classic 70s sounds to the ubiquitous Sex on Fire and Chasing Cars. Unfortunately Snow Patrol’s tear inducer was ruined by an over boisterous, beered up young Geordie who rushed the stage and bared his backside. Playa de las Américas may have changed, but some of its visitors haven’t. Freddy Kay’s caustic tongue dealt with it brilliantly. Excellent music and cruelly funny northern asides as dry as a Jacob’s cream cracker.
Conveniently placed next to Shenanigans; fall out of one and into the other…and by half past midnight there were a few people who literally did just that. The Dubliner has lots of nooks and crannies and a wonderful undulating polished wooden bar. The average age of the clientÃ¨le was between 30 and 50; a bit younger than those at Parque la Paz. They were partying like it was 1999, again, as the Dubliner’s band played crowd pleaser after crowd pleaser. I watched, fascinated as a quite sophisticated looking middle-aged women snogged a man she’d only just met. The baby boomers are growing old disgracefully. The Dubliner is a fun-filled holiday bar where people feel free to let their hair down. Prices were similar to others (€5 for a pint and a half of lager) but they didn’t have any red wine.
There was one final stop to make before calling it a night. Like a cross between a Maharajah’s palace and a luxurious Bedouin tent, the Magic Bar has stunning décor. You pay for the privilege of spending time in this sumptuous pleasure palace; a bottle of Dorada is a hefty €5. Las Américas” sophisticated set lounged on stylish sofas, half hidden in flattering subdued lighting. Most would probably never set foot in some of the bars I visited…and yet the music they were dancing to was mainly old soul classics no different from those I’d heard elsewhere. Same music, but with a wrapping that clearly sparkles more seductively. The Magic Bar is a beautiful venue, but it was far from my favourite even though it did provide the most striking image of the night. A girl with Grace Jones hair, scarlet lipstick and a black mini dress which deliberately exposed stockings and suspenders stood in a shaft of smoky light as a couple salsa’d sexily behind her, drifting in and out of the light like ghosts.
Nothing was going to top that, so with a voice hoarse from singing Sex on Fire a zillion times, I decided to leave the beautiful people to their posturing and head for home.
Bar Hopping in Playa de las Américas Part 2 ““ Starcos and Veronicas will feature in Tenerife Magazine later in the year.