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I am not the first to make the cheap pun “BARcelona,” nor will I be the last. The city is filled with pubs, bars, bodegas (wine bars), cocktail joints, and cozy corners to “get your drink on.” The good people of Barcelona like to drink, which does not necessarily mean they like to get drunk.
In fact, being drunk and rowdy in the streets of this city is frowned upon, and seen as something only irresponsible tourists do. So a word to the wise, if you are visiting BARcelona: Stick to some of the great bars listed below and stay off La Rambla.
As a local here in BARcelona, I have my favorite spots in each area of the city. Here are a few not to be missed:
C/Correu Vell, 3, Barcelona (near Post Office)
This bar is laid-back and cozy, with a great wine selection, simple tapas, and good people watching. Andu has a friendly owner and wait staff. It’s a good place for chatting and having some laughs with friends.
This place is 80’s-themed in a good way. Bar Polaroid is fun and creative, but not annoying and pretentious, which is hard to pull off. The soundtrack is 1980’s Latin music. Expect cocktails, beer, wine and a young crowd. Some simple appetizers are available.
Casa Almirall Bar
C/ Joaquín Costa, 33
93 318 99 17
You will not want to miss this bar if you love Modernista style. Plus, it’s right in the middle of the action. The gorgeous bar at Almirall is made of carved wood, and is pretty extraordinary. But beware: The waiters are absent-minded and impolite. Do not expect service, as you will need to order at the bar, but maybe that’s OK, because it will give you another chance to ogle the fine craftsmanship and fine wooden carved flowers. This place has been around for quite some time and is popular with all ages, though 30-somethings abound. Drinks only.
Carrer de Verdi, 58
93 368 35 28
As the name implies, this is a Portuguese place. I love their cheese platter and wine selection. This bar more than almost any other I have listed brings together a diverse array of people from all different nationalities, ages, and economic levels. Great for an after- movie drink, to begin the night, or just for hanging out.
Carrer de Sant Carles 34, Barceloneta
Be warned, if you hate flamenco music, then Bar Leo will be your idea of hell. There’s a jukebox where people make requests, and it seems to be stocked with only flamenco and salsa. People dance, sing, clap, yell, smoke, and drink very cheap beer. The beer and jukebox must be the reasons Bar Leo is so popular, because goodness knows it is not the ambiance that brings them in. Thursdays and Sundays are especially busy in the afternoons. This is a truly local place with a rough-around-the-edges and student crowd. Near the beach.
Some extra tips
If you’re out enjoying the bars, avoid singing your national anthem at 3 AM (the neighbors don’t enjoy this, no matter how nice a voice you’ve got).
When the bars close, if you want to party on, head straight to a club: Chatting in the alleyways of the Gothic Quarter could put a damper on the evening (e.g.: a neighbor may throw water on you to shut you up, then shout insults at you in Catalan, I have seen it done more than once).