Bierhaus Odeón + Café Odeón + Odeón Single
Barriocepo 54 (shop) + three doors down (bar) + Plaza del Mercado (bar) | Logroño
That's a lot of Odeón! and the city of Logroño is better for it. No where else in a 300+ mile radius, can you find more locally procured beer (as well as international selections). What's even more phenomenal is Dani, Pep, and Lucía speak to each brew so you're likely to sip suds not available on home turf in addition to getting something quite unique. A diamond in the rough of banal, Rioja wine.
An aside: Odeón has just started their new brewery project, La Rúa. Stay tuned as beers are fresher than ever and usually with interesting takes on traditional recipes and second fermentations in bottle. Wit & double IPAs being standouts! Congrats, Odeón!
CRAFT BEER! - LOGROÑO
I'll get in a load of trouble for even uttering this... La Rioja is seemingly more interesting for beer than it is for wine at this stage. The brew scene is reinventing itself and capitalizing on craft beer popularity world wide. Here are a few places to indulge!
El Dorado & Odeón (off & on-premise)
Menendez Pelayo, 10 | Logroño
Everyone talks about the Calle Laurel for tapas & although it's historic and makes for great people watching, I often wish it was lined with bars putting out as pure & quality-driven tapas as Barrio Bar. They use "happy" eggs for their tortilla de patata, make a MEAN salmorejo and their beet humus is stellar! Really there's not a miss on the menu/counter!
Calle Sagasta, 1 | Logroño
They receive Pimentón de la Vera by the sack full and have some of La Rioja's most revered honey and spices. They still weigh azafrán (saffron) by the gram which instead of an electronic or metal weight, knowledgable employees use a 50 cent (peseta) coin from the old dictatorship weighing exactly one gram per coin. You can smell LCDP a block away.
Calle del Laurel, 18 | Logroño
Ok I'm going to say it. I don't know why people keep talking about the Calle Laurel. Yes, it's historic and yes, it's a shit show of drunken locals and tourists Thursday-Saturday but many of the tapas are a fun trap for tourists. It feels like you're walking down a street filled with heavy and heavier tapas trying ever-so-intently on being the next San Sebastian. Drizzles here, mayo there. During my stay in Logroño there are a few places on the Laurel I do make certain I visit... Bar Jubera has been making patatas bravas since the early 80s. There isn't a menu. You simply order "uno de bravas!" - this humble dish is a slutty one (a squirt of mayo + a spicy sauce that's been identical since I've frequented the first time in 2000). The same duo has been working the bar for at least 17 years and while the C/ Laurel is attempting a tapas version of haut cuisine even though we're past that, the Jubera keeps chugging on for both locals and tourists alike. ¡Gracias majas!
Calle del Laurel, 14 | Logroño
This bar along with La Jubera is a mainstay for locals. They serve up croquetas, morros (pigs lips/nose), and torreznos! - my favorite - flash-fried upon ordering is a tasty piece of thick, basically bacon/pancetta, with crunchier than crunchy skin and fat that melts in your mouth. Wash this down with a glass of local, simply, unbalanced red wine and call it a day. Other simple tapas grace the counter - order what looks good.
Calle Félipe Abad León, 51 | Santa Coloma
I entered into this charcutería and thought I had died and gone to literally, historical, spiritual heaven. There was a line of people waiting to order cured meats and while you wait (and no question, for quality control), you are welcome to come up, cut yourself a morsel (or three) of chorizo, salchichón, and whatever else happens to be on the cutting board... Maybe a piece of passible bread and surely, a pour off the porrón for every slice you decide to cut. All pork is sourced from female, Duroc hogs which gives a very unique, succulent flavor.
This is deep Rioja and isn't easy to find: take the exit towards Huércanos, then towards Alesón. Direction > Manjarrés and finally, Santa Coloma. Mariano Martínez is one of the last buildings on your way out of town on the left.