A pincho (Spanish: [ˈpintʃo]; literally "thorn" or "spike"), pintxo (Basque: [pintʃo]) or pinchu (Asturian: [ˈpintʃʊ]) is a small snack, typically eaten in bars, traditional in northern Spain and especially popular in La Rioja, Cantabria, Asturias, the Basque country and Navarra. They are usually eaten in bars or taverns as a small snack while hanging out with friends or relatives; thus, they have a strong socializing component, and in the Basque country and Navarre they are usually regarded as a cornerstone of local culture and society. They are related to tapas, the main difference being that pinchos are usually 'spiked' with a skewer or toothpick, often to a piece of bread. They are served in individual portions and always ordered and paid for independently from the drinks. It is not impossible, however, to have the same item called "pincho" in one place and "tapa" in another.
They are called pinchos because many of them have a pincho (Spanish for spike), typically a toothpick —or a skewer for the larger varieties— through them. They should not be confused with brochettes, which in Latin America and some parts of Spain are called pinchos too; in brochettes, the skewer or toothpick is needed in order to cook the food or keep it together.