Food and drink have a big role in Spanish culture. If you’re lucky enough to visit Spain, you will undoubtedly delight in the alcohol the country has to offer. However, just like most fun things in the world, there are specific rules and laws to drinking in Spain which you have to follow if you want to be a respectable visitor to the country. One of the important questions you have to ask is, "What is the drinking age in Spain?"
The legal drinking age in Spain used to be 16 years, just like it is in Italy at present. However, there have been many incidents which linked to teens getting drunk. So, on the year 2009, they decided to change the law and change the drinking age to 18 years old.
This law applies to the restaurant too; however, you teens below 18 can drink as long as they’re monitored by a guardian. The waiters wouldn’t be able to intervene if the parent ordered it and then offer it to the teen, but of course, they should be aware of their limitations.
Teens that are below 18 are also not allowed to buy alcohol, so if they want to drink, even just a wine, their option is to ask an adult to buy it for them. The law says that it’s illegal for minors to purchase alcoholic beverages; however, the law doesn’t say anything about drinking in their own homes.
The law says that establishments selling and serving alcohol to teens 18 will be penalized with a penalty of €30,000 which can go up to €600,000.
As you might already know, Spain is well-known for its excellent wine production, so it would not hurt to allow minors to have a little sip, in order for them to know what the taste of it is. The law focuses on serving and selling any alcohol to minors, but if it is the parent who offered it, it’s going to be an exemption.
Well, if there’s a law regarding minors being prohibited from purchasing alcohol, then there’s also a law that prohibits store to sell alcoholic beverage after 10 PM in order to avoid “botellion,” or a Spanish phenomenon where there’s a street party with many loud drunk people, troubling neighbors, and harming public places and private properties.
There’s also a limitation of alcohol content in every person who is driving. A professional driver has a limit of 250 micrograms of alcohol for every liter of breath and 150 micrograms of alcohol for every liter of breath for a driver who has a license for 2 years and earlier. Obviously, this is in order to improve road safety.
If it’s your goal to drink like local while traveling, then there are things you need to know. While many choose to go to local bars in earlier in the evening, it’s generally to have a few glasses of drinks and enjoy good food. People normally have their dinner around 10 PM or sometimes even 11 PM, and begin their evenings later on. Before 11 PM comes, you’ll notice that there are only confused tourists trying to figure out where people are, in this bars.
When the midnight comes around Madrid, you’ll see that those half-empty bars mystically stock up as if they’ve been scattered with some magic dust. There are also some bars that don’t open until around 4 AM. Most clubs keep alive up to 6 AM or 7 AM; while you’ll need to cover an entrance fee, you’ll normally get a free drink too. The downside of starting later, however, is that you’re probably going sleep in the whole day next day. For Spanish party animals, going to sleep at 3 AM is considered early bedtime.
All countries have their own unique signature toasts, and most of them are to show respect to the country! In Spain, Salud which means ‘health’ is a common toast. However, there might be an instance or two where it will be obligatory to participate in a lengthier toast.
Partying and drinking plays a big role in the culture of Spain. Spanish nightlife, particularly in the city of Madrid, is mythical. On top of that, it is not a reserve of the young people – there’s definitely a part of every town and city that is suitable for all age groups and all people’s taste and preference.
There are, however, some things you need to remember aside from knowing what is the legal drinking age in Spain
-- you have to go out late if you really want to see the country’s nightlife because if you go to the bars before 10 PM, chances are, you will be spending the next hours drinking on your own.
So, what do you think about the drinking culture in Spain? Is there anything you want to share? Let us know in the comment below!