I’ve always been an easy going drinker. No cocktails with ten different ingredients that get set on fire for me. If you were to talk to 20-24-year-old me, she would tell you her drink of choice was rum or vodka with diet coke. But after four years spent ruining every flavor of rum and vodka, I’ve entered a new stage. As a nearly 29-year-old lass who finds herself in the current gin capital of the world, the only thing I will drink these days is a gin and tonic, the stronger the better. What’s that you say? Gin and tonics are only acceptable for people over the age of 70? Think again, friend. Now, I don’t know how to say this without it sounding like a hyperbole but it is LITERALLY the freshest, most delicious, and best drink you will ever try. If you disagree, find yourself some Brockman’s gin, Fevertree tonic, and a couple strawberries. Get back to me on that.
In any case, it is safe to say I have scoped out all of the best spots in Barcelona for gin. It was kind of hard for me to put this list together because honestly guys, I didn’t really want to share some of these places because they are just that good. But I trust you will treat them with the respect and tipsiness they deserve. Let’s get to the goods.
These are in no particular order.
Xix Club-Sant Antoni
Calle Rocafort 19
This is my ‘hood, so it’s a place that’s easy to go when we have people in town and want to get a mellow drink without venturing too far out. They make a ton of their own gin in all different flavors, (this is a theme you will see in various bars around Barcelona), and tons of other top shelf brands. The bar itself is cool too, but isn’t something I would go out of my way to get to, only because it is similar to others on this list. But if you are around Sant Antoni and in need of a good cocktail, they got you covered.
Best time to go: After dinner drinks
Marco Polo- Poble Sec/Paralell
Calle de Vila i Vilá 60
We discovered this bar by accident once, (the way we discover a lot of things in Barcelona), and instantly fell in love. I am a sucker for cool hipster decoration, i.e. succulent plants and Edison bulbs galore. They also have food which is great, but also makes it a place to go for a pre-dinner drink or to have dinner. It isn’t really a place people would go out to later on in the night. DO NOT MISS this bar’s shining jewel: FREE flamenco on Friday nights starting at 9. They even pulled me up on stage to dance Sevillanas once. What? I dance Sevillanas? Yup. Kind of. More on that later.
Best time to go: Pre-dinner drinks or for dinner
The next three bars are all in an area called El Raval. This neighborhood has a bad name because of the high population of immigrants, mostly from the Middle East. Is it somewhere I would take a leisurely night time stroll alone in? No, but I wouldn’t do that many places in the world either. Don’t take everything you hear about the neighborhood to heart. It is sandwiched between the Universitat/Ciutat Vella area and Sant Antoni, both up-and-coming neighborhoods for young people. The Rambla de Raval is actually a gorgeous alternative to the chaos of La Rambla.
Foxy bar- Raval
Riera Alta 59
I’ll start the Raval section with this one. The drinks are good, but the ambience is even better. Like I’ve mentioned, I am a sucker for weird or unique decoration and this place is like stepping into your grandmother’s living room if your grandma was a burlesque dancer in her day. There is even a small stage at the back of the bar, so who knows, maybe they even do burlesque shows. The street this bar is on has lots of other fun bars too, so its easy to hop from one to the other.
Best time to go: Pre-dinner drinks or coffee, (they have a nice little terrace and even a drinking fountain for dogs), or after dinner cocktails. It isn’t much of a dancing place, more chill and laid back.
Plaça de Salvador Seguí,1
Did you forget what it feels like to be in third grade? Have a seat!
So, La Monroe. In addition to having killer gins and cocktails, the decoration and ambience at La Monroe is stellar. Is it just me or is there something about sitting in old, mismatched classroom chairs that just makes you feel like you’ve arrived? In all seriousness, this place is really cool. You will most likely also meet La Reina de Raval, a cross-dresser who likes to visit often and try to sell her calendar to you. Don’t miss the bravas and nachos, they are big, bold, and beautiful, like all good things.
Best time to go: lunch time/vermut hour, after lunch drinks (yes this is a thing in Spain), or pre-dinner/dinner time
La Pesca Salada- Raval
Calle de la Cera 32
I have to give full credit on this one to a good friend of mine. This is one of the places on the list that I was unsure of whether or not to include because it is such a well kept secret. So please, only take your cool friends here. If you yourself are not cool, just keep scrolling.
As its name suggests, this place used to be an old fish market. They have an ENORMOUS list of different gins, some of which they make right there. They make one that is similar to Brockman’s, (my favorite gin and always the most expensive), and it is to die for, and only like 8 bucks. The bar is extremely small, so get there early. There are only about four tables in the whole place. You will actually feel like a sardine, but maybe that’s the idea. I didn’t include a picture of the bathroom, but it is inside of what used to be the fish freezer. You have to see it to believe it.
Best time to go: after dinner drinks but early….before 12. This place is small and you’ll want to have a table.
Calle de l’ Hospital 56
One night Pepelu and I were walking home from dinner somewhere in El Gotico. It was one of those nights that the city just felt magical. Every corner seemed to hold a different secret, every lamp post hypnotized us. If you have ever been in Barcelona in the summer, this won’t sound absurd to you, and if you haven’t, forgive my flowery language. As we meandered through the streets toward home we heard music and saw a sign leading us into an open courtyard. That’s all I will tell you. I’m not even going to add a picture because its too special and there are no pictures that do it justice. Go find out for yourself and get back to me.
Best time to go: pre dinner drinks, (they also have food!), or post dinner drinks if you are looking for a relaxing night, GO IN THE SUMMER, it is all open-air.
Carrer de Rera Palau 4
Oh, what’s that you say? You’re not looking for a pastrami bar? Well stop right there, friend. This ain’t your run of the mill pastrami bar. You see that old fashioned fridge off to the left there? Yeah, that’s the one. Well, after dinner hours you’ll see a guy standing outside of it and tending to an ever growing line out the door. Why? Because that baby opens up to…
…THIS! Yes, it is just as cool as it looks, probably even more so. The music is always the latest deep house, the bartenders are straight up drink magicians, and HOT DAMN HOW BOUT THAT SEXY WOODWORK?! If you want to impress somebody, (who doesn’t already know about it), take. them. here. Aside from all the bells and whistles, they make some incredible cocktails. As I said before, I am a gin and tonic kind of gal so my order is always pretty boring to watch, but oh my god. There is a bourbon drink that comes in a glass pipe, they infuse it with some kind of smoke in a GLASS SKULL before-hand, the mouth piece is dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with powdered sugar, and they top it off with cotton candy and more dark chocolate drizzled on top. And they still don’t expect a tip. I could not make this shit up if I tried. There is a whole menu with cocktails like this one. Some are birds, some you have to drink out of a seashell. Bottom line: get a seat at the bar. At least if your date is boring you’ve got some serious excitement happening.
Best time to go: after dinner but not too late. This place fills up fast and the bouncer controls how many people come in and out. If there isn’t room, you’re not getting in. Make it your first drink of the night and then head off to one of the other awesome bars in El Borne.
The Limehouse-El Borne, The Mint-Barceloneta
Carrer dels Carders, 31 (The Limehouse)
Passeig d’Isabel II, 4 (The Mint)
All of their flavors of infused gin. What does balsamic flavored gin taste like? Let me know.
The Limehouse is fantastic, and much like Xix Bar, they infuse a lot of their own gins right there, which means they are cheaper. Atmosphere is quite cool, but gets a little busier and sometimes crowded. They have another bar called Rubí in El Borne and one called The Mint near the Barceloneta, same style, same great drinks.
Best time to go: after dinner, pre-club. The music is a bit louder, crowds a bit tighter. If you want a place to dance a bit, this is probably the one on the list that’s best for that. The Mint might even be the best because they have a huge down stairs part that has more room.
Bormuth- El Borne
Plaça Comercial, 1
Let’s round off our tour of El Borne with Bormuth. If you are in Barcelona for any amount of time at all you will figure out very quickly that El Borne is probably the best neighborhood for a good bar. You could go pretty much anywhere and find a sweet spot with great ambience and beverages. Bormuth is really neat in the summer time, (and also sometimes quite humid), because it has three floors and is split between two streets so they open up all the windows and you can see out the street from the second floor. Hard to explain unless you go. The drinks are great but what sells me most on this place is the ambience. I love the wood and mismatched style, along with the split level concept.
Best time to go– Really any time! They have a great menu with classic tapas so you could check them out for lunch or dinner or grab a drink for a chill night or the beginning to a crazy one. No dancing here but the atmosphere is great.
Boca Chica- Eixample/Paseo de Gracia
Passatge de la Concepció, 12
I’ll be hanging out in the bathroom, thanks.
I’ve been to Boca Chica twice. And as soon as you walk in you feel really fucking cool. It has an elevator and three floors, with the bathroom on the basement level. It kind of reminds me of a lavish mansion that could be a part of the Shining, but in a really cool, speakeasy sort of way. The stairs are covered in velvet and the lights are dim. The bar on the first floor is like a Christmas tree with all of the bottles bouncing off light like glass ornaments, and the second floor has a living room-like area and a great little terrace. Whatever you do, DO NOT MISS THE BATHROOM. I forced my friends to go last time because I remembered how cool it was with all the mirrors and BAM, there was a DJ in the bathroom spinning some serious tunes. Like I said, too cool. Its like stepping back into the roaring 20s, if the 20s had a shit ton of cash. That’s the other thing, this place is awesome and definitely worth a visit, but a mixed drink no matter the brand, is going to cost you 15 euros minimum. A beer is 6. But, I mean, YOLO, right?
Best time to go: After dinner, pre-club. The crowd is mostly older—we’re talking 30 plus. I would still go if you’re with a group of friends, just don’t expect to find a lot of people under 30 hanging out there. And unless you’re loaded, don’t plan to stay there for more than one drink.
Have you been to Barcelona? Did I miss a seriously awesome bar here? Comment below!