Barcelona nightlife has a serious reputation, and well… it’s true! The Mediterranean Sea inspires a blissful lifestyle that sets the spirit free in a heartbeat. The slow paced sunny afternoons, charming terraces inviting for a toast and the smell of freshly brewed coffee and lip-smacking tapas are the bread-and-butter of our daily life. After sunset, fiesta takes over and celebration continues all night long: from the beach chiringuitos to the most exclusive clubs uptown, each neighborhood has its very own vibe.
The upper part of the Eixample sets the tone for the cosmopolitan Barcelona nightlife. Trendy restaurants, elegant cocktail bars and the most exclusive night clubs are lined up along the upscale promenades of Passeig de Gracia and Diagonal Avenue.
To start off the evening, Ura (urabcn.com) and Nuba (nubabcn.com) are amongst the most popular lounge clubs for chic dining and early drinks along Diagonal Avenue. Closer to center, by Passeig de Gracia, the secretive cocktail bar Mutis (barmut.com) is world famous for its unforgettable cocktails and atmosphere (no walk-ins, must book). Other local’s favorite cocktail clubs are the impressive Boca Chica (bocagrande.cat) and the internationally awarded Dry Martini (javierdelasmuelas.com).
The majority of the dance clubs in this area are gathered around Tuset and Muntaner streets, along Diagonal Avenue. A mostly local atmosphere with popular clubs such as Luz de Gas, drawing crowds around 30’s to the sound of its Spanish and international hits (luzdegas.com). Also Sutton Club (thesuttonclub.com) and BlingBling (blingblingbcn.com), for the party-goers searching for commercial house beats and a stylish atmosphere.
The Olympic Games of Barcelona in 1992 ignited a major urban revolution of which the Port Olimpic area is undeniable evidence: the former shanty town of Somorrostro was knocked down to build the existing port area, today’s biggest concentration of dance floors the whole Barcelona nightlife.
Right on the waterfront and easily spotted from the distance by the two 500ft high skyscrapers, the compound of restaurants, lounge bars and dance clubs around this area make it the city’s main playground for the grownups.
Port Olimpic is also the natural lets-go-dancing place for the party people dining or grabbing a start-up drink at the close by El Born district: famous for its numerous restaurants, tapas bars, wine cellars and cocktail clubs.
The most popular clubs are Pacha (pachabarcelona.es), CDLC (cdlcbarcelona.com), Opium Mar (opiummar.com), Shoko (shoko.biz) and Bestial (grupotragaluz.com/ bestial). These clubs are particularly popular amongst international young crowds, and whilst many operate also as restaurants, it’s the all-night party scene that really earned them a reputation.
International DJ’s and commercial house music drag big crowds throughout the year and especially in the summertime, when the waterfront terraces shine the most, so a bit of dressing-up does help getting thru the picky bouncers.
Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter) is likely the busiest nightspot. With a maze of alleys and squares surrounding Plaza Real plentiful with bars and pubs, Gòtic draws flocks of locals and visitors every night. With such large offer of bars within walking distance, barhopping is the most popular strategy to party.
Bar Boadas (boadascocktails.com) is the oldest cocktail bar in town and a nice place to start the evening surrounded with history, as it was often frequented by illustrious figures such as George Orwell or Ernest Hemingway. Other interesting options for a more intimate cocktail and tapas are Ginger (Ginger.cat) or El Paraigua (Elparaigua.com), close by the City Hall.
On the way to Plaça Real, at the Jewish Quarter some charming wine bars offer great selection of Mediterranean wines, like Enoiteca Zona d’Ombra (zonadombra.es). And if the time has come to grab a long drink before hitting the dance floor, pubs like Manchester (manchesterbar.com) or Sor Rita (sorritabar.es) are great choices for a more playful mood.
At Plaça Real, the charming feel of the square may be deceiving, as ther are plenty of dance clubs in the basements of these historical buildings. Ocaña (ocana.cat) is usually the first place to shake the hips to the electronic beats and chic atmosphere. Around 3PM the party moves on to the surrounding clubs like Jamboree (masimas.com/en/jamboree-dance-club) for R&B and Hip Hop, Sidecar (sidecarfactoryclub.com) for Rock music, or Marula Cafe (marulacafe.com) for the groove of funk and latin rhythms.
ALTERNATIVE AND UNDERGROUND
El Raval is Barcelona’s cocktail shaker. Known for its cultural diversity, this quarter is the melting pot where the hip trends bloom amidst the shady alleys of this former red-light district.
It’s worthy to wander for a while by the artsy upper part around the CCCB and Macba Museum. Closeby, Joaquim Costa street is one of the most popular alleys in the area, jam-packed with bars, literary coffee shops and cocktail bars like Negroni (negronicocktailbar.com) – the place for the local cocktail lovers. Another joint to sip excellent drinks is Pesca Salada (Cera, 32), a former salted codfish shop turned into a cozy cocktail bar.
The seedy past of the area is somehow still present in bars like Bar Marsella (Sant Pau, 65), a modernista jewel where the house absinth has inspired many artists and writers, or Bar Pastís (barpastis.com) and El Cangrejo (Montserrat, 9). Both were once burlesque joints where sailors and bohemians looked for fun by the core of the former red-light district. The lesser known Robadors 23 (23robadors.wordpress.com) is a watering hole where the most authentic jam sessions and flamenco concerts in the neighborhood take place.
As the night goes on and the dancing mood takes over, Sala Apolo (sala-apolo.com) is the most popular in this area for their infamous parties Nasty Mondays, Crappy Tuesdays and Nitsa Club sessions (Fridays and Saturdays). Right off Las Ramblas Moog is a tiny club (masimas.com/en/moog) at the forefront of electronic music venues since it was opened 1996, and offers DJ sessions daily from Monday to Sunday.
Another popular area to party is Poblenou, a former industrial quarter boosts nowadays several night clubs. Razzmatazz (razzmatazz.com) with five different rooms is the largest club in Barcelona and big favorite for young students looking to party. A place to keep an eye on is Niu (niubcn.com), the headquarters of an advanced music collective organizes concerts and jam sessions on weekends.