In Barcelona, every sunset is the start of a celebration. Start planning your party with this insider’s guide to the best live shows, bars and clubs.
Welcome to a city where the streets turn into a party practically every night of the week. Locals begin the evening over wine or cocktails, followed by shows, concerts or long, leisurely dining until the famed Barcelona clubs open – and stay open until dawn. Whatever your speed and sensibility, this bustling Catalan capital has got you covered.
A playground of live entertainment
Barcelona nightlife delights with world-class theatrical performances, multi-genre concerts and dance shows for all grooves. The elegant 19th century Liceu Opera House, a stunning example of modernism at its finest, regularly hosts the most celebrated operatic voices. For first-class dance acts and classical music concerts, head to Palau de la Musica Catalana, another venue so impressive that guided tours are nearly as popular as the performances themselves. While the modern Auditori hosts fusion jazz and creative orchestral sounds from international acts.
For a more intimate setting, the cabaret-inspired Milano Cocktail Bar in the heart of the city and the Harlem Jazz Club in the Gothic Quarter respectively offer a varied line-up of live jazz, blues, funk and flamenco performances.
The finest wines & cocktails
Hobnobbing over a cocktail or a glass of wine before and after meals is more of an institution than a suggestion in Barcelona. On the ritzy Enric Granados street in upscale Eixample, Bistro Bardot offers a large collection of artisan wines by the glass from all over Catalonia. Other notables include the neighbouring Monvinic, featuring select wines from around the globe, and the trendy El Born district’s Bar Brutal, a laid-back retro joint serving classic, obscure and organic varietals paired with a selection of tasty tapas.
The best G&T bars
Gin & Tonic (gintonic in Spanish) was the city’s unofficial drink of choice until recent years, when classic vermouth (vermut in Catalan) enjoyed a revival via innovative cocktails. Dry Martini, considered one of the best bars in Barcelona for decades, is a retro dream of dapper, gloved gents stirring the perfect martini to the sounds of jazz greats. Gin lovers can sample an updated twist on the classic cocktail at the bohemian Gracia district’s Old Fashioned bar. Poble Sec’s Xix Bar adds an eccentric ambiance (think ceramic cows and chairs on ceilings) to accompany their crafty creations.
V is for vermuterias
Vermouth is the latest drink of choice in Barcelona, with specialist bars or vermuterias serving the finest examples. Vermuterias of note include La Confiteria in the multi-cultural Raval district, a onetime candy shop that serves vermouth as an aperitif, Casa Martino for its modern look and selection of quality vermouths, and Balius Bar, a retro-fabulous venue offering inventive vermouth cocktails mixed with unconventional flavours.
Late night dining & dancing
With hundreds of amazing places open every night, choosing which of the best restaurants in Barcelona to dine in can be tricky. Equally daunting is combining that frenzied scheduled of late-night dining with clubs in Barcelona that routinely open at 1am. Fortunately, a city this cosmopolitan offers brilliant solutions.
Celebrity chef Albert Adria’s circus-themed gourmet tapas extravaganza, Tickets, is so entertaining it counts as a full night out. Along this vein, Spoonik features a 4-hour food fest of outlandish dishes, light shows and opera serenades. And for a full night out that includes drinks, dining and dancing that dies down before the wee hours, pop into Plaça Reial’s flamboyant Ocaña, with two eateries, three bar areas, a gallery space and hours of fun.
Start packing your best threads and get ready to enjoy the best of Barcelona nightlife. Salud!