As of the San Juan parties held on June 23, 2010, it was officially summertime in Barcelona. From now until October, sidewalks, plazas and patios will be full of folks sipping cava, wine and refreshing claras under sun umbrellas.
For most of the year, the Barcelones and tourists visiting the city block out the fact that Barcelona is a beach city. Barcelona’s sands are empty in the winter months, save the one crazy Señor whose aim in life is to swim in the sea every single morning, no matter how cold the water may be.
Barcelona’s beach-side barrio, La Barceloneta, is within easy walking distance from the old Gothic center of the city. This is by far the city’s most popular stretch of shore. As soon as May and June roll around, people start to remember the Mediterranean Sea is nearby, and flock in droves to Barceloneta Beach.
Cooling off at Barcelona’s beach-side bars
However, there is more to La Barceloneta than swimming and tanning, and for those who prefer to observe the sea from a shaded terrace with a cold drink in one hand and a tapa in the other, this authentic barrio has a lot to offer.
Here are my favorite beach-side bars in Barcelona:
Calle Sant Carlos, 29
Tel: 93 221 9836
Entrees from €11 to €20
You can’t see the Mediterranean from here, but the outdoor terrace set in a small Barceloneta Square is charming. El Filferro is usually less crowded than other bars because it is not right on the beach, though it is literally one block from the seaside. The menu boasts non-cooked tapas, a great wine list and an ample selection of teas. It has a bohemian vibe and a staff of hipster waiters.
Joan de Borbo 66
Tel: 932 41 153
Drinks from €5 to €13
Located on the Port, the Foc Bar has a small terrace out front perfect for people watching. The place is very popular with the young foreign crowd and people living on their boats docked at the port. I like it for the selection of cocktails. Foc also shows most sporting events on a large-screen TV inside.
C/ Ginebra, 13
Tel: 93 319 50 02
Entrees from €9
Best tapas in La Barceloneta? Maybe. If you want to feel true frustration, try to get a table here on a weekend. Ha! Not going to happen. Go early during the week and sit outside on the sidewalk table area. Jai-ca serves beer, wine and some mixed drinks, plus fabulous “Tigre Tapas”.
Carrer de la Princesa, 23
Tel: 932 688 618
Entrees from €18
This may not be my favorite place, but you can’t beat the location. It’s overpriced for the quality of the food and drinks, but the Princesa gets away with it because if you fall off your bar stool you will land on the sand. Indeed, it is a fun place to grab a glass of wine around 7 or 8 p.m. as the day is coming to an end. The place is popular with foreigners, and you should keep an eye on your bag.
Carrer de Grau i Torras, 59
Drinks from €3.50 to €10
Santa Marta may have the nicest terrace seating of all the bars in La Barceloneta. The view is extensive and looks right out onto the sand and the sea. I like this place for coffee (the Italian coffee is great) and beers in the afternoon. Stop by to work on your tan while reading the paper.