Barcelona’s citizens love to go out for cocktails, an enthusiasm that has resulted in a thriving bar culture. Here are three places not to miss.
Conveniently located not far from La Rambla, this delightful place was founded in 1933 by Miguel Boadas, the first bartender at El Floridita, a celebrated fish restaurant and cocktail bar in the old city of Havana, Cuba. Tuxedo-clad bartenders help to create a chic and low-key environment that is perfect for a pre-dinner drink. I like to enjoy one of the excellent martinis while gazing at a photograph of Joan Miró on the wall.
Carrer dels Tallers 1. Tel. (34) 93-318-9592
Aside from enjoying international cocktail culture, Barcelonans have a special love of vermut (vermouth), which has been produced in the city for centuries. Vermouth, served with a selection of hors d’oeuvres like olives, pickled vegetables, and canned seafood, was the city’s standard aperitif for generations. Now it’s enjoying a comeback, as a younger crowd has acquired the taste. Bodega 1900 serves vermouth with terrific small plates by Albert Adrià, the brother of world-renowned chef Ferran Adrià (of El Bulli fame).
Carrer de Tamarit. Tel. (34) 93-325-2659
At one of bartender Javier de las Muelas’ local drinking spots, bartenders wear natty cream-colored jackets and black tie as they preside over this elegant bar with leather banquettes. Located in the stylish uptown Eixample district, not far from the Mandarin Oriental and the Majestic Hotel & Spa, it has one of the world’s finest selections of gins. The drink you have to sample is — you guessed it — the superb gin martini.
Carrer d’Aribau 162-166. Tel. (34) 93-217-5072
If you’re looking for a special bottle of Catalan wine, head for Vila Viniteca. This friendly little shop in the Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter) stocks more than 4,500 vintages and has an encyclopedic range of wines from the Penedès region, just outside the city. There are frequent tastings, and the atmosphere is surprisingly relaxed for a place with so much expertise on tap.
Carrer dels Agullers 7. Tel. (34) 90-232-7777