Bars & Cafés
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Barcelona’s social culture revolves around its bars and cafés – they are the places people go to meet and drink coffee or something stronger with friends, do business or just to contemplate life over a café solo.

Barcelonans are not heavy drinkers – you will rarely see them drunk – but they do have a drinking culture and this is not bounded by the pub hours as in the UK.  It is commonplace for locals to have a cerveca (beer), glass of vino or carajillo (espresso with a shot of spirit, usually whisky) with their breakfast.

Because of this, the difference between a bar and a café in Barcelona (and across Spain) is a blurred one, with almost all cafés serving alcohol and all bars serving coffee.  The defining factor for us is more opening times than what they sell: the cafés open early enough for breakfast croissants, the bars opening, and closing much later – even by this definition, however, it can be difficult to classify them.

As with the restaurants, we strongly recommend you steer clear of the bars and cafés on La Rambla itself, where prices go through the roof and quality is poor.

For a full map of the Bars reviewed here, visit our Barcelona Update Bars and Cafés map page.


View bar and café reviews by area:
Barri Gotic
El Raval
El Born

View our top Barcelona bars and cafés for:
Outside space
Traditional Barcelona

Barri Gotic

Barri Gotic has bars and cafés on virtually every street corner and in every winding alley – although the ones that are only open late are completely shuttered over and not even recognisable as bars until they open up.

For the main set of bars and cafés, trace a path from Plaza Sant Jaume, along Carrer de Ferran, Carrer d’Avigno and Carrer d’En Gignàs.   The streets here are teaming with little places and if you venture into the area made up by the square that they trace you will find even more, often less touristy, cheaper and with more atmosphere. Go on - have a wander - you're bound to stumble across a gem or two.

Lledo, 2, Palma de Sant Just
Open: Tues - Sat 7pm - late; closed Sun and Mon
Tel: 93-310 53 09

Ginger has been in all of the tourist guides for years and it shows - there are more foreigners than locals in these days and the prices are a little above most of the less well known places.

If you can get over this, though, it does manage to retain its slightly underground and backstreet feel and the large, comfortable seats are somewhat of a rarity in the area. There is also a very limited amount of tapas available when most have stopped serving, although our advice would be to stick to the drinks unless you are desperate.

Good for a late night stop off, for some relaxed drinks after eating.


Placa Reial, 10
Open: Tues - Sun 12pm - 5.30am; closed Mon
Tel: 93-302 56 80

A small, friendly bar in the daytime, Karma has the standout benefit of being the only bar on the sunny side of Plaza Reial. In other ways it is no different from the dozen or so bars around the Plaza, but this location alone makes it worth a visit for the sun worshippers among you for a pre (or post) lunch drink.

At night it transforms into a late and lively club.


La Clandestina
Baixada de Viladecols, 2
Tel: 93-319 05 03


Describing itself as a "Teteria" (Tea bar), La Clandestina is a gem in the heart of the old town.

The decor inside is a middle eastern / north african mix, with hanging carpets and all sorts of wall-hung paraphanelia adding to the charm. Over 20 types of tea are served, along with the usual coffee, stronger drinks and, for those with a more adventurous streak, Hookah (hubbly-bubbly) pipes. The crowd is young and trendy - earlier in the day you'll find a set crowded over their laptops, taking advantage the free (and fast) WIFI. Later it gets more crowded and upbeat.

A gem.


Carrer d'En Gignas, 21
Open: Mon - Thurs 6pm - 2.30am; Sat, Sun 11am - 3am
Tel: 93-268 09 22

Milk is all you would expect from a decent tourist oriented cocktail bar, but for some reason it just doesn't hit the right note. The cocktails are reasonable, as is the food, and the largely Irish staff are friendly enough but it just all feels a bit manufactured and plasticy.

Taking up a corner in the increasingly trendy area around Carrer d'En Gignas, Milk Bar takes up no more space than the average living room, so finding somewhere to plonk yourself in busy times can be a challenge.

That all said, you can't beat the happy hour - 7-9pm - for a bit of pre-dinner or even pre-clubbing drinking.


My Bar
Ferran, 8
Open: Sun - Thurs: 12pm - 2am; Fri - Sat: 12pm - 3am
Tel: 93-317 94 32

Along with Temple Bar and Molly Malones, My Bar makes up a set of largely identical Irish pubs just next to Plaza Reial.

Everything you expect is here - friendly, English speaking staff, British beers and foods and sports on big screens. If you like it Irish head here - if you are looking for somewhere to mix with the locals, steer clear.


P Flaherty's
Placa de Joaquim Xirau
Open: Daily: 9am - 3am
Tel: 93-412 62 63

One of the best known Irish bars in the city, this one has 3 TV screens (4 if you count the outside one that's sometimes on) showing all of the sporting events you are ever going to want.

Add in the tables in the square out front that catch the sun most of the day and you can see why this is where many English and Irish groups head for a bit of home. Spanish its not - most of the bar staff don't even speak it - but if you are looking for loud and rowdy, this is the place for you.

As with most Irish bars in the city its not cheap - a bottle of Bud will set you back €3.50 and a pint bottle of cider €5.50. Menu is better value if you are looking for a hearty burger or similar.


Ferran, 23
Open: Mon - Sat: 10am - 3am; Sun: Midday - 3am
Tel: 93-317 67 87

Schilling is a bit of a bar / café landmark in Barcelona. The bottle lined walls and dim, moody lighting give it a real sleazy sort of feel (in a good way) but the location in the heart of Barri Gotic and the more than reasonable prices make it a real favourite.

The food which is served at lunchtimes is limited to sandwiches, salads and snacks like nachos and, while not bad value, is nothing to write home about in terms of quality. And the service of the young waiting staff is slow to the point of ignoring you at times.

Nevertheless, this remains a great place to while away an hour or two over coffee or a beer people watching the tourist crowd through the windows on Carrer Ferran or soaking up the atmosphere of the dark black surroundings.

El Raval
Raval is Barri Gotic's seedier and more exciting little brother. Traditionally the dodgier end of the old town, encompassing the red light district in the Southern end, Raval is now starting to re-invent itself as an edgy and trendy bar and club area.

Take care at night - it still has not completely shaken off its old moniker - but if you're looking for something closer to the old style Barcelona, this is the place to come.

Open: Mon - Sat: Midday - 2am; closed Sun
Tel: 93-318 88 26

Boadas was first described to us as "the best cocktail bar in Barcelona - maybe the world" and we can see why.

Just off the usually tourist-ravaged La Rambla, if you didn't know about this place you wouldn't give it a second look. It is a tiny, old bar with no windows and just a few seats set around the edge. But it just feels like it knows what it is doing when it comes to cocktails - sort of like the Grandfather of cocktail bars. Run by the daughter of the original owner and staffed by knowledgeable waiters behind the bar (no waitress service here) there is no menu or list - just ask for what you want and, in all likelihood, they will know it.

Definitely well worth a visit - although from our experience, the "house cocktail" of the night is only for the adventurous.


Hospital, 48
Open: Mon - Sat: 9am - 2.30am; Closed Sun
Tel: 93-301 08 13


Grungy and groovy bar, this is everything everything that is good about the Raval area.

With 'up and coming' local artists' fares spanning the walls and a huge aerial picture of Raval covering the space behind the bar, its clear that Candela is revelling in the regenration of the area into something cool and trendy. And, because it is here and not 100 yards away on La Rambla, the prices are still affordable.

Get in while the going is good.

El Born
Now fully established as the trendiest area of the centre, virtually popping at the seam with bars and clubs. Head for the area along Passeig del Born and just take your pick.

Bubo Bar
Caputxes, 10 (at Santa Maria del Mar church)
Tel: 93-268 72 24

Small bar cafe linked to the patisserie next door, the main attraction here is most definitely the location, overlooking the front of the beautiful Santa Maria Del Mar church.

That said if ultra modern (some would say over the top) tapas is your thing then you might just want to have a snack here too. The owners don't shy away from the elaborate and at times you'll find your lunch difficult to differentiate from the sweets on display next door.

Our advice: kick back at a table outside, enjoy a coffee or beer and something from the extensive sweet range and soak up the atmosphere of the Santa Maria del Mar.


Ma Maine
Rec, 59
Open: Tues - Sat 7.30pm - late; Closed Sun and Mon

One of many small bars, with some outside space, in the trendy area around Passieg del Born

There are few differences between them - this place has the one advantage of usually providing a free bowl of popcorn with drinks!


Passeig del Born, 15
Open: Mon - Sat: 7.30pm - 3am
Tel: 93-310 37 27

One of a string of nice, late night drinking places along this strip.  This one is long and thin, with comfy bamboo chairs.

Try the small upstairs if the seating's all taken down. Some food available, but best to stick to the drinking here.


Taverna del Borne
Passeig del Born, 27-29
Open: Daily: 11am - 1am
Tel: 93-315 09 64

Small old style bar, with lots of outside space in the sunny corridor that is Passeig del Born. 

Taverna Del Borne is the perfect place to sit in the sun, have coffee or a cold beer while planning your day. The Tapas is at the better end of the scale, although the service can be frustratingly slow and absent at times.

Great even in winter when they wheel out the heaters!

Barceloneta means one thing when it comes to bars - beach bars! The stretch of beach is littered with them, as well as many cafés and restaurants and the odd small supermarket to top up on those beers and snacks for the beach itself.

Barceloneta Beach
Open: Daily, 9am - 9pm, May - October

Beach bar! Enough said!

Literally sitting on the beach, Saula and its sister bars (Chiringuita del Sol, Goa and Princesa 23 - all pretty much identical) serve drinks and snacks in an idyllic setting overlooking the sea. A little pricey, but you pay for the location, not the booze here, and well worth it is too!

The vast expanse of the Eixample (at least compared to the compact Barri Gotic) can make it an intimidating place to explore, but it's more autentically Barcelonan and home to many hidden gems, so if your schedule is up to it, it is well worth the effort.

The range of available places is vast, from the chic and sophisticated Dry Martini, to the downstairs atmospheric Les Gens Que J'Aime, there's something for everyone.

Actual Hotel
Roselló 238 (between Passeig de Gracia and Pau Claris)
Tel:93-552 05 50


Head past the front desk and up the stairs on the right of reception to get to this small hotel cafe with quiet alcoves where you can relax and catch up on emails and news.

Waitress service is friendly and attentive - ring the bell on the counter when there is no-one around.

A welcome (cost effective) and more relaxed option than the upmarket Hotel Omm opposite.


Café D'Artts
Bruc 118 (between Carrer Valencia and Mallorca)
Tel: 93-458 79 15
Open: Mon - Fri 8.30am - 10pm; Sat 9am - 8pm

Comfy is the best way to describe this place - very friendly cafe serving average to good tapas and drinks in easy surroundings from breakfast until evening. Art of variable quality lines the walls and is changed periodically to showcase a new artist or place - all for sale, if it tickles your fancy.

The tapas is a little disappointing, but it remains a great place to relax with a coffee or a drink.

Head past the bar to the back for the best of the big sofas.


Café y Té
Rambla de Catalunya 80
Open: Daily, early until late


One of a chain of Italian style cafés across Spain, making it rather a formulaic, but usually pleasant experience. The coffee is typically pretty good, and the sandwiches fine, although you'll need to go elsewhere if you want something a little more authentically Barcelonan.


Dry Martini
Aribau 162 (at Carrer de Corsiga)
Tel: 93-217 50 72
Open: Mon - Fri 1pm - 2.30am; Sat 6.30pm - 3am

Right out of a scene from Mad Men, Dry Martini is an ultra suave cocktail bar, a place to see and be seen and, although a little further out than most, is well worth the trip.

Describing itself as a "Speakeasy", Dry Martini's slick uniformed waiter service, dark, sultry interior and extensive cocktail list pretty much fits that bill, although if you're looking for dancing girls you'll be disappointed - this place is more about class and money than that.

Watch out for the prices - a cocktail will set you back 10+ Euros - but the drinks are top notch and the atmosphere fabulous.


Pau Claris 85 (between Gran Via y Casp)
Mon - Fri 9am - 9.30pm; Sat 10am - 9.30pm

FREE WIFI - ask for the key at the bar

The Pau Claris version of this bookshop, like the others, boasts an excellent upstairs café and restaurant.

Unlike many bookstore cafés, this is not a place to sit and browse the books on the shelves - you have to buy to take a book upstairs. However, it is an unusually comfortable and relaxing space to sit and have a coffee or beer with pastry after shopping or while checking mail on the free WIFI.


Les Gens Que J'Aime
València, 286 (between Pau Claris and Passeig de Gracia)
Tel: 93-215 68 79
Open: Daily 6pm - 2.30am

A wonderfully atmospheric little downstairs bar just off Passeig de Gracia.

The small door and steps down, dark interior and velvet furnishings all give Les Gens Que J'Aime a deliberately Parisian seedy feel and the usual customers, often shrouded in cigarette smoke only add to that. The resident tarot reader just sets the whole thing off.

Generally good value, although watch out for the red wine which is only served in 1/3 bottles for €8+.


Orange Café Claris
Pau Claris 143 (between Arago and Valencia)
Tel: 93-487 59 91
Open: Mon - Sat 8am - 2am

Groovy bar / cafe around an orange theme, the Orange Café Claris is a welcome departure from the over-priced and atmosphere-less cafes that can be found just a street away on Passeig de Gracia.

The decor is retro 60s, giving it a charming edge and the young staff are attentive and helpful. The food is reasonable and well priced: a lunchtime menu del dia is just €9.50 and main courses at night just €8-12.

Just one thing: asthma sufferers watch out - smoking is still very much allowed here and the cigarette smoke can reach industrial levels.


Provenca 236 (at Carrer d'Enric Granados)
Tel: 93-532 16 50
Open: Tues - Sat: 6pm - 2.30am; Closed Sun & Mon

A small cocktail bar in the heart of Eixample, Premier just oozes cool.

Popular with the thirtysomething set, Premier is a groovy bar during the week and a music bar, with own DJs at the weekends playing the "Jazz, Disco, Groovy House and RnB sounds". Not the biggest place around, so you may need to hang around to get a decent seat, particularly if you want to get one of the bed-like sofas on the tiny mezzanine floor.

For us, a perfect pre-dinner cocktails place for any of the myriad of restaurants around here.


The George Payne Irish Bar (aka El Teatro)
Placa Urquinaona, 5
Tel: 93-481 52 94
Open: Daily: 9am - late

How to describe the cavernous pub that is the George Payne Irish Bar (also known as El Teatro)?

Well, it can be summed up as very big and typical (Barcelona-style) Irish. Five yes, count them, five separate rooms, from the two small bars at the front to the upstairs dining room and the huge back room, each one with at least one screen, often more, showing whatever sport is playing at the time.

Staff are all English speaking, prices are the usual 20-30% higher than non-Irish bars and the food is mostly burgers, chillis and nachos - although not badly done, if you are in the mood for that sort of thing. Traditional its not, but it serves a purpose. Get there early for big sporting events and check the site - they have been known to charge entry for the biggest ones.

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