For a tourist finding a good bar in Barcelona, or any big city in fact, can be an arduous and costly task, nevertheless, it is almost as equally important as finding the sights – well to me anyway. If you’re visiting the city for just a couple of days it’s unlikely you intend to waste time traipsing around all night in search a good watering hole, so hopefully this quick-fire guide should lead you towards Barcelona’s delightfully quirky bars and away from its over-priced tourists traps.
First up is the unassuming, yet delightfully quirky, L’Antic Teatre (Old Theatre), this easily-translated and fully functional theatre/bar is located just a few steps away from Palau de La Musica in El Born – one of the most cosmopolitan areas of Barcelona. Not only is this charming little theatre home to some of the Catalonia’s most desirable plays but it also hosts one of Barcelona’s best indoor terraces.
From aesthetic viewpoint L’Antic Teatre would be best described of shabby-chic style taste. It is almost reminiscent of a Budapest ruin pub – only more beautiful and less grungy. There is mismatched furniture scattered around a stubby round tree in the centre of the courtyard and the spiralling tree lights, chattering of locals and clinking of glasses make for a beautifully serene ambience – taking your mind away from the hectic, tourist-packed streets just a few yards away.
To grab a beer you’ll have to walk through the theatre’s quaint entrance. As mentioned before, the theatre is fully functioning so on show nights there’s an usher in the bar area to ensure your lips are sealed, which you’d think would make it difficult to order a drink at the bar… not here. The bartenders know the drill and are more than happy to help as you whisper your order. A caña or bottle of San Miguel will cost you around €2.20 and a cocktail €5, which you’ll be happy to know are full of generously poured Spanish spirits.
L’Antic Teatre is a truly delightful little watering hole and is the perfect place to enjoy a mid-afternoon cerveza or catch-up with friends in a fascinating location with heaps of charm.
Out with the old and in with the new, the 150-year-old Moritz brewery is a surprisingly modern- looking brewery/ bar and is located in San Antoni, near Universitat Metro station. By day you can walk around the functioning hop-tastic brewery to see how its light and tasty lager is made, but by night the place really comes alive and is usually clad with local hipsters and beer enthusiasts alike.
The interior is a blend of chiseled sandstone rubble, marble floors and metallic beer chambers – a peculiar but tasteful finish. What stands out here is the sheer size of the place; the ceilings are as high as the bar is wide (not literally). The atmosphere is vibrant, the punters a plenty and the lingering smell of sweet larger and flame-grilled burgers makes for a mouth-wateringly amazing place to eat and drink.
The food at the brewery is hearty and its frankfurter is the perfect dish to accompany a litre of Moritz, which will set you back just €7. The staff are friendly, however, be patient when ordering as the sheer amount of customers means to process is slowish but definitely worth it.
The Moritz brewery is a lively bar and is perfect if you’re looking for a substantial meal and good drink. If not for the reasons stated previously it is worth visiting for the toilets alone, which allow you weave through the casks and cylinders to relieve yourself in a strange yet relaxing environment!
A petit, old school café come bar which is located on the ever-popular Carrer de Joaquin Costa – one of the liveliest and coolest places to drink in Barcelona, and just a few seconds away from Rambla Raval. It is by far the cheapest and most honest bar I’ve ever frequented and is everything a bar should be: original, welcoming and extremely cheap.
Olimpic’s bar staff are charismatic, extremely friendly and have the unique gift of making you feel just like a local. The decor is completely random, in a English café meets American diner sort of way. On the wall you’ll see a projection of something weird and wonderful, which could be anything from a reel of vintage Olympic games footage to… Thunderbirds. The walls are light blue and the chairs plastic, but that’s the only thing that is. The crowd is unpretentious and made up of an eclectic a mixture of lost tourists and locals all swooning to the mish mash of assorted indie music from times gone by.
In Olimpic, a bottle of Moritz will cost you a ridiculous €1.20 and a cocktail just €3.50 – you almost feel guilty for paying such a price. Shots are slung back regularly and there is a multinational array of people happily swigging their cut-price drinks and chatting with the bartenders until the early hours.
Olimpic bar is truly amazing and is a place that should be at the top of your list when visiting Barcelona. A rare, but genuine 10/10.