For those who like to get to know a city by its cocktails, Barcelona is an ideal place to visit, as this city seemingly has a place to sip and lounge the night (or day) away around every corner. The speakeasy craze is at its peak, and the city has a slew of hidden bars that are just begging to be discovered by the inquisitive who venture away from touristy watering holes.
"Vemuting," or drinking vermouth, is all the rage these days, and the fortified aperitif is usually accompanied with small, savory, salty bites. Gin and tonics are best ordered late in the evening, and it's advisable not to show up until after nine to avoid being tagged as a tourist (visitors should also take note that smoking is verboten in the city's bars). Here are 12 Barcelona bars where you can drink like a local.
The first thing that catches your eye at El Xampanyet are the inviting plates loaded with jamon or fried anchovies that regulars at the bar are angling for. The old world atmosphere seems perfect to sip cava or the house made vermouth as you try to play the guessing game of picking out the tourists from the Catalans. It is conveniently across the street from the Picasso Museum in the El Born.
Carrer de Montcada, 22, 08003
+34 933 19 70 03
The Prohibition-inspired Dry Martini bar is a clubby joint in a warehouse where white jacketed servers tote trays of its namesake drink to a mix of fashionable locals and pleasure seeking tourists. The trick is to nonchalantly attempt to blend in with well-heeled locals. The fact that you need a password to gain admission just adds to the fun.
Carrer d'Aribau, 162-166, 08036
+34 932 17 50 72
Terrat is a high-end, stylish bar boasting 360-degree views from the rooftop of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on the fashionable Passeig de Garcia. Enjoy sundowners next to the sleek pool and partake of small bites from Peruvian chef Gaston Acurio's fare. It’s one of the city’s best spots for al fresco drinking and dining.
Passeig de Gràcia, 38-40, 08007
+34 931 51 88 88
Bar Mut (top) is a Parisian-inspired bar with dark wood, polished brass, and dance music, and its walls are lined with expensive wine bottles (safely stored behind glass). The food menu is small, but the wine selection is impressive. Its location and high prices tend to keep away the tourists, but those in the know make a beeline for it.
Carrer de Pau Claris, 192, 08037
+34 932 17 43 38
This speakeasy is definitely in an unexpected location: hidden behind a refrigerator door in a pastrami sandwich joint in the El Born neighborhood. The cocktails reflect the setting, with bacon-infused rum concoctions to go along with the pastrami sandwiches (which are not too shabby themselves).
Carrer de Rera Palau, 4, 08003
+34 933 60 72 22
Dr. Stravinsky has a pretty great provenance: It was opened by a Norwegian barman who worked at the Adria-owned 41 Degrees Experience (which has since closed). The recently-opened bar is quickly earning a following in the Gothic quarter for its alchemist/ laboratory vibe, funky music, great drink selection, and moderate prices.
Carrer dels Mirallers, 5, 08003
+34 931 57 12 33
The team behind Milk Bar has transformed a space formerly occupied by a furniture store into the grand, elegant Marmalade. The hopping space is divided into four sections in which to enjoy a reasonably-priced priced cocktail list, which includes the classics as well as ones with names like Bling Bling and Porn Star Martini.
Carrer de la Riera Alta, 4-6, 08001
+34 934 42 39 66
Marea Alta offers some spectacular views as well as excellent grilled fish and cocktails. Situated on the 24th floor of Torre Colon (where the Raval meets the seafront), the bar and restaurant has a maritime theme, and it’s also incredibly romantic.
Avinguda de les Drassanes, 6, 08001
+34 936 31 35 90
Though cava temples abound in the city, Can Paixano, with its wide range of cavas and tapas, stands out from the pack. If you don't speak fluent Catalan, you can order by pointing out what looks good on your neighbors’ table; you really can’t go wrong.
Carrer de la Reina Cristina, 7, 08003
+34 933 10 08 39
Located at the bottom end of the Raval, Confitera has an Art Deco flair and occupies a space that was once home to a candy shop (hence the name). Stop by once the tourist rush has subsided and order the cocktail of the day (which could arrive under a smoke filled glass dome); no matter what it is, we guarantee you’ll be a fan.
Carrer de Sant Pau, 128, 08001
+34 931 40 54 35
If you can’t score a reservation at Tickets (Albert Adria's famous tapas bar) head to Bodega 1900 across the street. Housemade vermouth and a great selection of tapas will hook you on “vermuting.” Make sure you finish your meal with a perfect flan.
Carrer de Tamarit, 91, 08015
+34 933 25 26 59
Originally a bank, Banker’s Bar is the night spot the fashionable set heads to when they’re looking to sip a cocktail or two; there’s an extensive selection of creative cocktails to choose from. There’s also an ever-changing selection of bar food to go along with the libations.
Passeig de Gràcia, 38-40, 08007
+34 931 51 87 82