Jaen is very famous for its Renaissance-style Cathedral. Like most other cathedrals in southern Spain, the Catedral de Jaén was built on the site of the ancient mosque.
I find it quite ugly personally except for some of the frescoes on the façade which have some interesting details. Please click on the images to get a better view.
When it comes to tapas, many of the Jiennenses seem to favour the bars in the old town, especially those on the streets just below and along from the cathedral square Plaza Santa Maria. Many of them are hidden in small alleys that are hard to find but I’ll do my best to describe where they are. My Google map might help you too.
Calle Maestra is the old merchant’s street that starts in the north west corner of the plaza. The first building on the street is this quirky little place on a corner in the cathedral square. It was being renovated in 2015 so hopefully next time I’m in town I can have a nosey inside.
La Pena Flamenca (Intermediate B), 11 Calle Maestra
A pretty tiled bar that’s nice for a drink although I haven’t tried the food.
There is a large back room where flamenco shows are held.
Casa Gorron (Elementary A), 7 Calle del Consuelo (second alley on the right off Calle Maestra), www.tabernagorrion.es
This is an old school taperia, the second oldest in town (1888) beloved by two of my culinary heroes; Sam & Sam Clarke from Moro.
Their local olives are great, as you’d expect. As is Andalusian tradition, you get them, and other little tidbits, free every time you order a drink. The house tipple is a thirty year old wine that is unique to the bar.
I wasn’t able to try the Ajilimole the Sams rave about in this Guardian article but I did enjoy the Judias con Perdiz, aka white beans with partridge (B+).
As you can see in the photo your bill is chalked up on the wooden bar.
Tasca de los Amigos (Elementary A), 10 Calle Bernardo López (third alley on the right off Calle Maestra)
Rough and ready with no charm in terms of décor but very popular with the locals, probably because it’s very good value. Their free tapas are a bit better and more varied than elsewhere too in my opinion.
La Manchega (Intermediate A), 8 Calle Bernardo López (third alley on the right off Calle Maestra, back entrance on both Calle Arco del Consuelo)
This is the oldest taperia in Jaen, since 1886, so two years older than its neighbour Casa Gorron. Good, simple tapas and atmosphere in spades. There’s a restaurant downstairs too which I need to try.
Bar La Barra (Intermediate B+), 7 Calle Cerón (at the end of the alleys, parallel street to Calle Maestra)
Not as old as the others but their collection of quirky paraphernalia makes the bar quite atmospheric. The free tapas I got here were some excellent pork scratchings (A) and some moist black pudding (B+). They also have their own homemade vermouth.
So a great little area for a tapeo (tapas crawl).