Bars in Barcelona are varied, eclectic and more than anything, plentiful, but remember, as with all big cities, not every Barcelona bar is worth a visit.
There is a Barcelona bar on every corner or every Calle (street), so here is a little guide to bars in Barcelona, so you know what to expect without wasting your sweet party time in Barcelona.
Barcelona nightlife is unique, multifaceted and there is by no means a lack of great bars in Barcelona, however, after living here for the last year and a half I have become tired of a few things.
Firstly I’m constantly moaning to my friends that we always go to the same Barcelona bar every weekend, but it’s so much fun and so cheap, it’s hard to find a place which beats it.
The Ovella Negra Taverna (The Black Sheep Tavern) is a huge tavern style bar with a very “studenty”, relaxed atmosphere, and provides VERY cheap medio litre (half litre) pitchers of San Miguel, it really is Barcelona nightlife at it’s cheapest. At the time of writing, I pay about €3 for a half litre pitcher of San Miguel at this Barcelona bar which has led to many Barcelona adventures, of which I have promised my Motley Crew, I will never speak of.
The Ovella Negra Barcelona bar also do giant (and I mean GIANT) chilled-pitchers of beer with four taps so you can put one on your table and serve yourself. They’re great as you can buy one between your amigos, typically enough for about5-6 people, and let the drinking games commence.
I have never been to Ovella Negra and not made new friends, largely because of the friendly atmosphere but also due to the fact that the tables are SO close together, you are basically forced to sit with other groups of people. Throw cheap beer into the mix and you’ve got yourself a party – a perfect Barcelona bar.
As much as I love the Ovella Negra bar Barcelona, I can’t help but feel I should be exploring the other bars in Barcelona and making more of the Barcelona nightlife.
The problem however, is that so many of the bars in Barcelona are completely over priced and it’s very difficult to tell how much you will have to pay for your drink, until the bill comes.
In fact, after being here for a while, I’m certain that the camareros (bar staff/waiters) charge people differently, depending on how they are feeling and where you are from.
Remember to check your cambio (change), as many a time I have paid with €20 note, and received cambio (change) for a €10 note, of course, as soon as they know you are on to them, they apologise and act like it was a mistake.
Barcelona is a tourist haven, and let’s be honest, if you’re a tourist or “guiri” in Barcelona, you are an easy target for being over charged.
The key to avoiding expensive Barcelona bars is this, avoid the Barcelona bars which are located in prime tourist locations.
I know this seems obvious but I’m amazed how many people still do it. For example, the bars directly on Las Ramblas are probably the most overpriced rubbish you will find in the the whole of Barcelona. I’ve heard stories of people being charged €15 for a beer here. As a price guide, I wouldn’t pay more than €3-4 maximum for a beer in any Barcelona bar, but remember, night clubs will and do charge much more.
Irish bars in Barcelona are also a little on the pricey side and if you are looking for a cheap night out, you would do well to avoid them.
However, I have to say that the Irish bars in Barcelona are great fun and do indeed provide a genuine taste of Ireland and the UK. But lets not get carried away here SuiteLifers, if you wanted to experience that, you would just head across the channel!
As a Brit in Barcelona, of course sometimes I do crave home comforts and my Barcelona Irish bar of choice is The Michael Collins bar, located right next to the Sagrada Familia.
It’s long and narrow and has all the comforts of home with the seemingly compulsory Guinness posters everywhere.
But the coolest thing about The Michael Collins bar in Barcelona is the live music. Typically on the weekends, you will find live bands playing a selection of European music, sung by Spanish guys with Spanish accents.
It really does put a new spin on some of your favourite rock classics!
The small bars in Barcelona (and there are millions) often called Granjas or Cervecerias generally offer the cheapest drinks in Barcelona, and I mean cheap. Typically you won’t pay more than €2 for a drink in one of these little Barcelona bars.
Generally, they are full of older Spanish/Catalan men, who drink there day in, day out. They choose these Barcelona bars because they know they won’t find their beer any cheaper anywhere else.
However, these BCN bars are not the atmospheric party places that you dream of in Barcelona and I for one certainly don’t go to the Granja bars in Barcelona for my weekend of partying, even though they are the cheapest bars in Barcelona.
In general, bars in Barcelona don’t look all that elaborate from the outside. I don’t know why, but the Catalans don’t seem to put that much importance on the physical appearance of their bars and restaurants. Los Toreros Tapas Restaurant which I wrote about some time ago, offers some of the finest Tapas in Barcelona, from the outside however, it looks shabby, old and un-loved.
Many Barcelona bars look much the same as the next bar and I find that strange considering the competition is so high, you would think they would want to distinguish themselves from the other Barcelona bars. So, when you do see a bar which stands out, and looks beautiful and flamboyant, rest assured, it will be an expensive Barcelona bar. I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to these bars, because they are also awesome, but remember it won’t come cheap.
With so many bars in Barcelona, many have offers and promotions advertised outside the door, to entice you in. This is a great way to suss-out whether or not a Barcelona bar offers good value, typically they show “Bottle of Estrella Dammonly €x” or “Mojitos €x”. If the bar has no signs outside whatsoever, it’s safe to assume it’s because it’s expensive. It’s a kind of “If you need to ask, you can’t afford it” kind of attitude.
Admittedly, not everybody is as concerned with money as I am, but I think there is a huge “financial” difference between coming to Barcelona as tourist and actually living in Barcelona.
Apart from the back streets of central Barcelona, I would really advise Gracia for great Barcelona bars. Typically small, quirky, bohemian and reasonably priced, you will find a great balance of value and atmosphere in these Barcelona bars.Bars in Gracia are generally small, independantly run businesses and you will typically pay around €3 for a bottle of beer. No it’s not the cheapest, but the bars in Gracia are seriously cool and full of life. We go to these Barcelona bars in the summer to sit outside, drink, laugh and watch the world pass by, before heading to one of the many clubs in Placa Reial.
Another great area for great Barcelona bars is the El Born area. It’s insanely chic and trendy but also home to some of the best bohemian bars and restaurants in Barcelona. El Born is pretty central and makes it an easy place to meet friends and party hard, with-out having to spend a fortune. One of El Born ‘s best bars is La Fianna, it’s warm and welcoming interior with dimly lit lights and comfy couches makes it uber romantic and was featured in SuiteLife’s TOP 25 First Date Spots in Barcelona. The food is average, but “eatings cheating” after all! Only €3 for HUGE glasses of wine and the mojitos are also well made here.
So, now you know what to expect and what to avoid when partying in Barcelona, make sure drop us a message on our Facebook page. What is your best bar in Barcelona?
Ben Holbrook – SuiteLifer and Barcelona Bar Frequenter.