Though one should never round out a visit to Barcelona without sampling the fruits of Catalonia’s twelve denominación de origen wine regions, there’s no harm in seeking a drink a little stiffer on an evening. The city is famed for its winemaking, and Barcelona has been slow to cotton to the cocktail trend, with residents and tourists opting for a glass of Penedès wine or a bottle of Estrella Galicia over a Cosmopolitan or a Pina Colada.
In recent years, however, cocktail bars and lounges have been popping up left, right and centre in the city of Barcelona, with mojitos and caipirinhas the drinks of choice for many.
Venture far enough into the side streets, however, and you’ll find local mixologists creating delicious concoctions that tell the story of Catalan. And being the Cava country, you’ll likely want to wash those down with a sparkling Champagne cocktail to round out your evening.
Whether you’re looking for a five-star lounge for that special occasion or a relaxing Old Town retreat to catch up with friends, we’ve put together some of the very best cocktail bars to try on your next visit to the Catalan capital. Though not an exhaustive list, we recommend trying out each of these sipping spots to find your favourite – just not all on the same night…
Dr Stravinsky opened its doors in March of 2017 on a narrow street in Born, and today offers delicious craft cocktails that you won’t find anywhere else in the city. Rather than using artificial drink mixers, they create their own tonic waters and flavour drinks with natural ingredients, each a spectacle prepared on the spot. This cocktail den looks like a mad scientist’s laboratory – you’ll find distorted mirrors, herbal jars and flasks. The brainchild of resident cocktail expert Antonio Naranjo, we recommend the Camp Nou, a mix of gin, lime, chamomile, dill, thyme, and coriander. It’s delicious – and an experience unlike any other.
On the corner of the ever-changing Las Ramblas, Boadas offers a cosy atmosphere and a hearty Catalan welcome. The oldest cocktail bar in the city, opening back in 1933, Boadas is for the cool kids – it’s artsy and full of regulars as well as the odd famous face. Back in the 30s, Boadas’ founder picked up his skills at Hemmingway’s Floridita Bar in Havana, passing on his knowledge to his family who continue to run the bar to this day, each in full tuxedo.
On the subject tuxedos, we suggest dressing up – standing alongside Boadas’ artwork, you might look out of place in a t-shirt and some jeans, so go all-out and make it an occasion.
If you’re in the mood for something not on the menu, fear not: try the cocktail of the day or ask a mixologist to prepare something off-piste to suit your tastebuds and mood. As well as a whole host of gins and vodkas, you’ll find daiquiri and a bunch of limited-edition spirits.
If you want to let your hair down and try something new on your next visit to Barcelona, then you have to tick Bobby’s Free off your bucket list. Owners Eric Basset and Dany Martin change their speakeasy password every single month to keep it a real secret, but you’ll be able to find the latest code on Instagram or Facebook, which you’ll need to whisper to a bouncer on the door before you’re allowed in. Once you’re seated, sample their craft Catalan beers and signature cocktails – there’s something for everyone if you look in the right places.
First opening in 1896 as a fish shop before being converted into a bar in 1924, Muy Buenas has gone through several incarnations – most recently in 2017 when Enric Rebordosa and Lito Baldovinos from the Dr Stravinsky bar took over the lease. The beautifully-restored Muy Buenas is a go-to location in Barcelona, offering delicious Catalan cuisine, authentic Catalan wines and quality Catalan spirits in a modernist place – with an impressive cocktail menu to match. We recommend giving the Queen Joan Capri a try – it’s gin infused with cucumber, beer, lemon, honey, sugar, and lime, and it’ll leave you wanting more from your first sip.
The Firebug bar, bistro and restaurant is located on the Passeig de Sant Joan Boulevard, a few blocks from the Arc de Triomf, making it the perfect drinking hole after a day exploring the city. What makes Firebug so special, however, is that it’s safe from the hustle and bustle of tourists – in this cocktail bar, you’ll “leave with your wallet slightly lighter and your stomach slightly heavier than when you first arrived, and perhaps with your spirit a touch refreshed.”
Their reasonably-priced cocktail menu boasts more than twenty staples, including the Bloody María (Smirnoff Vodka, Zumo de Tomate, Tabasco, Horseradish, Salsa de Worcestershire, Lime, Celery Salt and Pimienta) and the Boozy Rouge Beri (Smirnoff Vodka, Crèma de Cassis, Raspberry Puree, Lime, and Azúcar). See if you can work your way through the list!
Established in 1969, La Whiskeria is Barcelona’s premier whiskey bar, serving premium whiskey and liquors from around the world and delicious cocktails shaken with artistic precision. The ‘sister’ bar to Boadas, this exclusive nightspot is home to an old gramophone player, a pendulum clock and art deco lamps, a clear nod to the American Jazz Age. Just a minute or two’s walk from Las Ramblas, you can choose from more than 250 whiskeys or sample cocktails like the Kentucky Mule, which is a bourbon twist on a Russian classic.
Unlike any other cocktail bar in Barcelona is Clubhaus, a multi-concept space featuring artwork you can buy and a restaurant spearheaded by chef Joel Serra. Opened in March of 2019, this space is designed for mini-golf, street food, and cocktails, with several levels that have clearly-defined roles. On the entrance level, The Showroom, you’ll be able to pick up espresso martinis or a Negroni, whilst their punches and signature cocktails must be tasted to be believed. Secreto a Voces, for example, includes the ominous “secret beetroot stuff” (which is delicious, by the way!), whilst low-alcohol cocktails are also on the menu if you don’t want to wake up with a hangover, alongside smoothies and speciality coffee.
Just around the corner from the Sagrada Familia and opposite the Dry Martini Bar, Solange Cocktails & Luxury Spirits sits waiting. This exclusive and intimate cocktail bar certainly isn’t for everyone with price tags that will make your eyes water, but the exclusive glassware and theatrical bar staff make it worth every cent if you want to splash out. Named after one of James Bond’s love interests in Casino Royale, Solange is the place to visit for cocktail connoisseurs – we recommend trying the Espresso Martini; it’s an experience for all senses.
If you want to sample everything Barcelona’s nightlife has to offer, we recommend booking onto one of our Barcelona foodie tours, where our experienced local guides will point out the very best bars and restaurants in our great city. Get in touch with the team today and you could be sipping cocktails and sampling some authentic Catalonian tapas in no time at all!