If you’re looking to really get to know Barcelona during your stay, where better place to do so than in its oldest and most typical bars. Before becoming the cosmopolitan melting pot it is today, Barcelona was littered with simple bars serving home-cooked food and local spirits.
Many of these spots still stand to this day, and despite their often dark-looking interior, you’ll soon discover they are warm and welcoming. From classic bodegas to traditional watering holes, we’ve hand picked selection of the best traditional bars in Barcelona that have withstood the test of time.
To the north of the city, this bar has been standing since 1949 and is well known among locals. If you don’t mind taking a detour, this typical bodega promises the best Catalan dishes at a very affordable price. Pull up a wooden chair, take in the strange and wonderful decoration and order a glass of homemade vermouth.
Quimet & Quimet
Just a short walk from Plaça Espanya, this family-run bar exudes tradition. With space for less than 30 patrons, make sure you get there early to grab a spot at the bar. With a huge selection of wine, conservas (conserved tinned food) and montaditos (small sandwiches), you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Els 4 Gats
Perhaps the most famous of Barcelona’s traditional bars, Els 4 Gats (The Four Cats) was frequented by Hemingway, Dalí and Picasso (who even designed the menu). The first building by architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch (who also designed Casa Amatller and Casa de les Punxes), it is said to take inspiration from Paris’ le Chat Noir. Enjoy the daily set menu or drop in for a coffee or a beer. You won’t be disappointed.
Bodega La Puntual
Located in the heart of El Born, this spacious bodega finds the perfect balance between traditional Catalan tapas and that contemporary touch. Despite being a little on the expensive side, the quality of its dishes makes up for it. You’re sure to love the patatas bravas and the octopus!
Right next door to La Puntual is most possibly Born’s most famous bar: El Xampanyet. Known for its sparkling wine and tapas and given its proximity to the Picasso museum, it’s often packed with tourists and locals alike. Grab a stool at the bar to order a drink and few tapas, or join the queue for a table to order from the menu.
La Bodega d’en Rafel
Tucked away in the charming neighbourhood of San Antoní, not far from the San Antoní market, you’ll find this simple, life-long bodega. Here you’re sure to get great service and great food, including fried anchovies, padrónpeppers and snails. If you’re looking for a buzzing, local atmosphere, drop by during the weekend at lunchtime – just don’t expect to get a seat!
Right by La Barceloneta Market, this no-frills bar stands out thanks to its curious name and huge red sign. Called the “electricity” bar as it is located in the building that used to supply electricity to the neighbourhood, its marble tables and barrels of wine really make this a unique place to refuel.
Bodega Lo Pinyol
Found in Gràcia, not too far from Passeig de Gràcia, Lo Pinyol is a curious bodega with three different spaces. With a selection of local wines and pinchos, and even shelves stacked with books to exchange, this bodega’s tranquil atmosphere and low lighting make it perfect for romantic evenings or catching up with friends.
If the walls of these bars could talk, they would be sure to tell many a story from over the hundreds of years their doors have been open. Take in their history as you enjoy local atmosphere, fantastic tapas and a selection of traditional drinks.