The capital city of the autonomous community of Catalonia in the Kingdom of Spain, Barcelona is the second-largest metropolis in the country (after Madrid) and the largest metropolis along the gorgeous waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Last year, Barcelona was the 20th-most-visited city in the world by international visitors and the fifth most visited city in Europe. The city is a celebrated tourist destination, with numerous recreational areas, one of the best beaches in the world, a mild and warm climate, historical monuments, including eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and 519 hotels.
As one of the best and most coveted tourist destinations in the world, Barcelona is simply bursting with great bars and trendy lounges that will help you make memories when visiting this bustling and beautiful city. To illustrate this point, below we have highlighted several of the city’s most popular and well-loved bars, and described some of the characteristics and features that make each of them so adored by locals and visiting tourists.
A small bar located in the Sant Antoni region of Barcelona, Bar Calders is an establishment named and themed after Pere Calders, a famous Barcelona-born writer. The bar is situated in a cul-de-sac that also bears Calder’s name and is one of the quaintest destinations on our list.
As you walk into the Bar Calders, the first thing you will notice are the many books written by the Catalan author, in a place that is about half library and half watering hole. Johny of GameTableHero.com is quick go point out this isn’t your normal dive bar with pool tables in the corner. Several different types of local, national and international draught beer is on tap, as is a small selection of liquors, vermouths and liqueurs. The bar feels comfortable and inviting, with soft lighting, a sparse décor and comfortable seating scattered throughout, and the waitresses are always on hand to serve up the Bar Calders’ special selection of mouth-watering tapas.
23 Robadors is the ideal spot in Barcelona for all types of music lovers. The stone-walled lounge, albeit small in comparison to some of the other destinations on our list, has a DJ spinning tunes every night of the week, with genres ranging from rock to hip hop to classical. Every Wednesday night the rocking bar features a jazz “jam session,” where the musically-inclined customers can climb on stage and jam with the in-house band. And flamenco music and dancing happens every Sunday night, giving out-of-towners a true taste of the local music and dancing styles.
The décor of 23 Robadors is reminiscent of an underground rave party, with hand-painted murals on the walls, sparse seating and very low lighting. Customers wanting to gain entry to the bar and music club must first ring a bell on the outside of the establishment, a feature that only adds to the somewhat naughty feel of this awesome nightspot.
Dry Martini and Speakeasy
Considered one of the most prominent cocktail bars on the planet, Barcelona’s Dry Martini and Speakeasy first opened its doors in 1971. At the time of its opening—by founder Don Pere Carbonellni—the bar was known as a Martinería: an establishment that served only Dry Martinis. This theme continued until 1996, when the bar was purchased by Javier de las Muelas. Although Muelas maintained the classic English theme of the Dry Martini and Speakeasy, adding wood and leather, brass fixtures, etc., he also expanded the menu just a bit to include some classic cocktail creations from around the world as well as few signature drinks served only here.
Today, the Dry Martini and Speakeasy is easily the most chic and sophisticated bar in the city of Barcelona—a place to sip brilliantly-crafted drinks made only with the freshest ingredients and listen to the soft soulful sounds of the in-house jazz band. An electronic sign above the bar counts up all the Dry Martinis served here since its founding, while a hidden door at the back of the locale leads to the part of the bar known as Speakeasy, which is actually a great restaurant serving delectable steaks and some of the best fresh-caught seafood you will ever taste.
El Bar de l’Antic Teatre
The El Bar de l’Antic Teatre has that ragged, worn-down look that is typically shared by some of the world’s fringe cultural associations, but this wonderful dive bar also has some of the best prices on beer and cocktails that you’ll find in the city of Barcelona. Connected to an old theater, the bar consists of a recycled space with very little décor to speak of, unless you count the gorgeous terrace—a massive courtyard with some very colorful flowers and vegetation scattered throughout.
A great place to suck down a beer or two before the show begins, the El Bar de l’Antic Teatre is a must-stop destination for anyone who like great drinks, generous pours and low prices.
A speakeasy, located above the excellent Bar Mut tapas bar in the Eixample District of Barcelona, the Bar Mutis is an invitation-only club that has previously hosted some of the world’s most famous and recognized celebrities. The exclusive bar can only be accessed through the steel doors of a residential apartment building, where a hostess will check carefully to see if you’re on that night’s hard-to-access guest list. Once inside you will find a beautifully decorated, albeit rather small space in which the air is always filled with the sounds of soft jazz and soul music from the awesome in-house ensemble of talented musicians.
As you might guess, the very scrumptious cocktails at this swank and soundproof joint do not come cheap, but if you make the guest list you may get a chance to see a celebrity or two up close and personal, as past guests have included the likes of Robert De Niro, Russell Crowe and even Woody Allen, among others.