Barcelona does not have the same bar culture associated with the rest of Spain. However, with a little research there are plenty to satisfy all tastes. The most popular spots for foreign visitors seems to be the Irish pubs off C/Ferran which is half way down the Ramblas heading towards the Barri Gòtic. These places are very expensive but then again so is everywhere else in this area so if it’s ‘craic’ you’re after then try out Molly’s Fair City which is packed day and night with visitors and shows all the British and Irish sport on the satellite TV channels. This is far from a Catalan experience but is evidently popular with the vast number of stag and hen parties in town every weekend together with plenty other foreign visitors.
As you walk down the Ramblas you might be tempted to stop for a beer at one of the terrace bars in the centre. By all means do so but be warned that waiters have a tendency to bring you an enormous glass (sometimes a litre) and charge accordingly. If concerned just check the price list before ordering.
Below I’ve listed a random selection of interesting bars that I’ve discovered during many visits to Barcelona. They are scattered around the city but are mainly near the tourist areas. No doubt you’ll find your own gems and if you think they’re worth adding to this list for future visitors please let us know.
Cafè de l’Opera (La Rambla, 74)
The last real 19th century grand café in the city lies directly opposite the Liceu Opera House. It is the best of the cafés on the Rambla. Great place for a coffee and croissant in the morning.
Cafè Zurich (Plaça de Catalunya, 1)
This bar is an institution in Barcelona. As you get to the top of the Ramblas at Plaça de Catalunya just cross over to the left and it’s there before FNAC. It has always been one of the city’s top meeting places. Take a seat on the outside terrace and watch the life of the Ramblas over a few beers.
London Bar (C/ Nou de la Rambla, 34)
Bar Pastís (Carrer de Santa Mònica, 4)
This tiny bar lies down a narrow alley off the bottom of the Ramblas. Stepping inside is like entering a sailor’s bar in the port of Marseille back in the 1940s. Not surprising really as it was set up by a Catalan couple who had lived there and modelled the bar on their French connection.
La Vinya del Senyor (Plaça Santa Maria, 5)
A great bar for wine connoisseurs with outside tables looking right at the church of Santa Maria del Mar. They offer over 300 fine wines as well as cavas and sherries to accompany their excellent Iberian hams and cheeses.
El Vaso de Oro (C/ Balboa, 6)
This narrow beer drinker’s bar brews its own beer which attracts a lively crowd of boozers. Brilliant selection of tapas to go with the beer.
El Xampanyet (C/ Montcada, 22)
This traditional old bar is one of the city’s most famous. A great spot to try Barcelona’s typical cava wines along with light tapas.
Boadas (C/ Tallers, 1)
One of Barcelona’s most celebrated cocktail bars based on the Floridita Bar in Havana.
Bar del Pi (Sant Josep Oriol, 1)
This historical bar on the edge of Plaça del Pi is a must for taking in the atmosphere of the Gothic Quarter. Outside heaters in winter are most welcome.
Cava Universal (Plaça Portal de la Pau, 4)
At the opposite end of the Ramblas from Café Zurich this is another great meeting point below the Columbus statue where you can sit outside and watch the endless stream of people strolling up and down the Ramblas.
Bar Celta & La Plata (C/ Mercè, 16&18)
There is a line of traditional old drinking bars near the port. Bar Celta sells great seafood tapas and white Galician wines served in the traditional white ceramic cups whilst the tiny La Plata bar serves just a few fishy tapas with salads and wines from the barrel.
Taverna Basca Irati (Carrer Cardenal Casanyes 15)
Great place to try Basque-style tapas which are displayed along the long bar. Just get a plate and help yourself then tell the barman what you’ve had.
Euskal Etxea (Placeta Montacada, 1-3)
The best Basque tapas in Barcelona offering a huge range of dishes. House favourites include ‘pinchos’ made from fresh tuna and others from crab claws.
Marmalade Bar (Riera Alta 4-6)
This large bar just a few minutes stroll off the Ramblas is a cool place to chill out over one of its amazing cocktails. Good restaurant too.