Noisy or annoying for some and pleasant meeting points for others. Like in my language, they have several names; cocktail bars, saloon, pubs, coffee bars, lounge room, sport bars... maybe it changes the sort of environment but at the end all they have a common denominator, the local where friends meet each other in order to chat while having some drink in a relaxed atmosphere.
Spain owns the most quantity of bars per person but you can realise that not only Spaniards like this habits but also tourists who are even majority in some areas mostly near the coast.
What's the secret of its success? In my view I think it's part of our culture, a matter of character or lifestyle, unlike Northern Europeans we may tend to coexist outdoors and it will also have influence for the improvement of a local gastronomic culture. Actually, not only Spanish or Mediterranean gastronomy is in fashion but also the way of consuming and living the leisure time around these locals.
Obviously tapas are essential in every Spanish bar, they are small portions of elaborated food served with every drink you're having, normally wine or beer.
It's so common hanging out with our mates after work for a few tapas and mostly in this season when terrraces flourish everywhere.
Summing up 'tapear' is synonymous with having fun with friends and mingle.
So, fancy a tapa?
Photos taken from tripadvisor.com, irdetapeoblogspot.com