Situated in Benimaclet Plaza, ‘Bar La Murta’ (Vins i Tapes) is like no other, and your time spent here will be full of life and accompanied by an exciting buzz all round.Despite sitting in the heart of a student hub, Bar Murta manages to be both truly family-friendly and serve mouth-wateringly delicious homemade tapas and drinks. You haven’t lived until you’ve snaffled their patatas bravas with a twist, not forgetting their famous coffee that packs some heat in more ways than one!A table outside will serve you with unmatched views of the plaza and faces an example of the Arabic-inspired, mosaiced architecture that Benimaclet boasts. The interior on the other hand, feeds into Valencian aesthetics, providing many customers with a sense of home. From my time spent here, it seems that owners Albert and Pepe are an attraction for the bar themselves. Having witnessed the many customers requesting at least a moment’s chat with the pair, I felt very privileged to sit down with the duo and ask them a few things.
24/7 VALENCIA: How long has the bar been open for?
BAR MURTA: We opened thirteen years ago, in 2011.
What type of food is on offer here?
Mainly, your typical Mediterranean tapas.
What is the history behind the place?
Well, we started just after the financial crisis because we both had problems with the crisis so we both decided to leave our jobs and start a bar because we wanted to have beer in our hands [laughs]. We didn’t know anything about bars, but we had a great time just trying to create something nice and we were lucky that we had a good place to start. People also really liked the idea from the beginning so we didn’t have many problems in the start, which a lot of places can have.
Was there any inspiration or influence that went into the bar?
Well, we decided the colours of the place almost the day we started. We started the place without any real knowledge – we didn’t know what we were doing – we just wanted to do something nice so it all just started quite carefree and we try to keep it casual like that because most people enjoy it. It’s very chill and is a good place for people to come and hang out.
What sort of people usually come here?
Before COVID, it was mostly students and tourists. Now, we have kept the locals obviously, but there are less students and for obvious reasons, not many tourists. It has become more of a neighbourhood-friendly bar, as opposed to when we hosted concerts in the beginning and other events which was more tailored towards students.
What do you think attracts people here?
We attract people because we are traditionally Valencian and we serve things like typical ‘bocadillos’ for lunch and that sort of thing. With the world a lot more globalised, having that local spirit is something we found many people to like very much. Someone who isn’t from here might not appreciate the charm as much, but if someone from Valencia enters this place, they’ll look at our décor – the posters, pictures etc and they’ll know they’re somewhere special because you’ll only find these specific things in an authentic Valencian place. Figatelles is very popular – not in Valencia, but on the coast. There are a lot of students here who are from those places and want figatell, so we started selling it and now so many people here love it too.
Have you noticed any other changes since the pandemic?
Hmmm, I mean, we are still very much full but obviously we are only allowed a smaller capacity of people. However, the outside tables are still usually full and it can be hard to find an empty one.
What makes the place unique?
Well, we have a few things. The bar was open over 40 years before we started here. It was an old bar, with older people. This is also a very old barrio and people used to come here for drinks in the morning, lunch, dinner etc. What makes the place unique is that we are truly authentic. We speak Valencian 99 percent of the time and pretty much everything we offer is from Valencia. We also don’t sell anything we don’t like in terms of food and things like that. So yeah, it is a real Valencian bar, with people speaking Valencian and Valencian food. Since the 60s, Valencia has transformed into a big city and so it became harder to find local bars and we are proud to still give people this. Many people also say that from outside, it looks like a typical bar that you would find in the villages of Valencia so everything about it really is Valencian. We also have forty different tapas where we take normal tapas, adapt it and make it something different. For example, you can get the same type of patatas bravas in so many places, but here, we make it different from the taste to the potatoes.
What is the most popular dish here?
I think ‘figatell’, which is a local hamburger. It’s a typical dish from the south of Valencia – we call it the grandfather of the hamburger. It’s made with kidney and our secret blend of spices, so it is a well-known dish for our place.
Do you have any interesting stories that happened here or with any customers?
We have had vegans come here who have ordered and eaten the figatell. One day, we also had the Mayor of Valencia having lunch here and there was another table that happened to be speaking about the Mayor of Valencia and suddenly someone started saying they weren’t happy with the Mayor of Valencia and “I need to speak to him!” and suddenly the Mayor of Valencia stood up, went to the table and asked what they wanted to say to him. It was quite a funny day and you know, it’s not every day you have the Mayor of Valencia in your bar! We also have vinyl records and there was once a gentleman dining here who said he liked a band we had so I told him I thought the singer was better than the rest in the band and he asked me to read the names of each member and it turned out he was in the band! Quite funny after I had just said that the singer was the best member they had…
24/7 VALENCIA: There we have it! Head over to Bar Murta Vins i Tapes where everything packs a punch – just as much as Albert and Pepe!
Article by Amun Sira
‘Bar Murta’ photo copyright Amun Sira / 24/7 Valencia
Article copyright 24/7 Valencia
Bar Murta Vins i Tapes
Carrer de la Murta, 14
Monday – Friday: 7:30AM-12AM
Saturday – Sunday: 8:30AM-12AM
+34 961 33 69 71