Reviews

The Bar Tab- Part 2

A review of the bars that I went to during my second trimester. It’s getting longer, I know. Don’t judge me: beer is cheaper than water. And let’s not judge the third trimester list until it’s finished.

La Més Petita Cerveseria

Carrer de Diputació, 30

Neighborhood, District: l’Esquerra de l’Eixample, l’Eixample

I spent the last few months of 2013 walking past this beer bar twice a week while on my way to babysit. Each time I became more curious. What was this little hole-in-the-wall place? What artisanal beers were written on their chalk board? And most importantly, what did they taste like? Finally when I didn’t have a six-year-old and a four-year-old in tow, I popped in for a beer.

La Més Petita Cervesseria may be, as its name suggests, the smallest beer bar, but it isn’t small on flavor. The bar produces its own beer as well as serving artisanal beer; there are usually eight selected beers on tap and tapas to accompany the drinks. Here, you can find locals happily rubbing elbows with friends and fellow beer lovers. And because the bar can only fit about thirty people very cozily at a time, sometimes you get stuck and have to just keep ordering beer until you spy a way out. Oh, darn. The tininess of bar makes it truly a niche for beer lovers; a chalk board of above the bar gives descriptions of the various brews on tap. However, because La Més Petita Cervesseria sells smaller craft beer, the beer is more expensive than the Spanish beers on tap; this beer bar is more for people who are really interested in beer and are willing to pay a bit extra for the quality and uniqueness.

Snack 55

Passeig de Sant Joan, 55

Neighborhood, District: La Dreta de l’Eixample, l’Eixample

When I was studying abroad in Barcelona, this bar on the wide promenade of Passeig de Sant Joan was a favorite among my fellow exchange students. I never frequented it, figuring it was a tourist trap. But oh, how I was wrong!

Flash-forward two years later as I was walking along Passeig de Sant Joan, and there it was. And there was nothing glamorous about the bar: only that it had cheap beer and tapas. But really, what more could you want when you’re young? On a nice day, there’s nothing like grabbing a table outside with a group of friends and having the waiter bring you out a bucket filled with ice cold beer. In the evenings, you can hear the chatter of Catalan from the young locals. Snack 55, we have to make up for lost time.

Bar Calders

Carrer del Parlament, 55

Neighborhood, District: Sant Antoni, l’Eixample

The neighborhood of Sant Antoni is like the black sheep of the grandiose l’Eixample district. However, it maintains a distinctly local charm. It’s off the main tourist tracks, making Sant Antoni family-oriented and very social. Sant Antoni also happens to be the neighborhood to quench your thirst for some vermouth. I was particularly lucky that Bar Calders, one of the most loved bars of Sant Antoni, was where I got to try my first sips of the wine variant.

The real heart of Bar Calders is its spacious patio. With the sun on your back, sip up the cool house-made vermouth. This vermouth is a source of local pride, using Priorat wine, some of the best wine country in all Catalonia. If spring had a taste, it would take like Bar Calders’ vermouth: sweet, crisp, and light, citrusy, and full of sunshine.

Tinta Roja

Carrer de la Creu dels Molers, 17

Neighborhood, District: Poble-Sec, Sants-Montjuïc

It’s a bar. No! It’s a cabaret. No! It’s an art gallery. No! It’s a jazz club. No! It’s a tango salon. No! It’s a circus. No…

Tinta Roja’s atmosphere is as mysterious as its hodgepodge identity. However, that mysterious air makes this classy bar a sultry and sexy place to get a drink. Gather around an ornate wooden table or cozy up on a velvet sofa under the red-tinted lights with a drink and some Argentinean food; it won’t take long to forget that you are in Barcelona. (Then again, why would you want to forget?)

Eight Bar

Carrer de la Poeta Cabanyes, 8

Neighborhood, District: Poble-Sec, Sants Montjuic

Courtesy of my island friends,—I mean, my English friends— I now love a good gin and tonic. Eight Bar in Poble-Sec might be a hole-in-the-wall, but they make gin and tonics into a work of art. There are plenty of options on the chalkboard menu to customize your cocktail, and the drink is artfully prepared by the bartenders. Inside, tall tables with bar stools and small candles create an intimate setting. This otherwise snug atmosphere is punctuated by techo-pop music and pictures from pop culture magazines of models and artists. The result is a hip and mod ambiance for getting drinks with a friend or partner. Stay long enough and smile a bit, and the bartenders just might give you a shot on the house.

El Born Bar

Passeig del Born, 26

Neighborhood, District: El Born, Ciutat Vella

El Born used to be too far off the beaten path for tourists, but now it has been discovered and has boomed. Its labyrinth of streets and little plazas that pop up out of nowhere add an air of mystery and charm, making El Born still an exciting and multicultural area to eat and drink. One of the loveliest streets in El Born is the Passeig del Born, where the curved streets open up into a sunny promenade just behind the luminous Santa Maria del Mar church. Here, at the corner of Passeig del Born and Carrer Calders, you will find El Born Bar. With its large windows and painted glass, the bar receives plenty of natural light from the streets. Exposed wooden beams and rock music add a quirky edge to the otherwise typical-corner-bar ambiance. When your feet are tired, El Born Bar is a great place to get a drink and a little something to eat while watching the comings and goings of locals and tourists along the promenade.

Espai Mescladís

Carrer dels Carders, 35

Neighborhood, District: El Born, Ciutat Vella

One day while walking down the maze of streets in El Born, I passed by this bar. And then I backed up, peeked into the courtyard, and slowly inched in. At first, I wasn’t even sure if it was a bar or someone’s private terrace that they had decorated with inviting, colorful chairs and tables. The entrance to Espai Mescladís is literally an iron gate, making it easy to miss this wonderful, airy oasis in the heart of El Born. Snuggled between two streets, the courtyard is surrounded by arches and exposed stone, and the back opens up to a plaza. Espai Mescladís is quirky, vibrant, and yet very quiet and intimate. Here, you can feel the rhythm of El Born and see all walks of life: tourists, locals, and the usual El Born riffraff.  Many of the drinks and food are ecological and fair trade, making Espai Mescladís socially conscious as well as beautiful.

Bar Colombia

Rambla de Fabra i Puig, 1

Neighborhood, District: Sant Andreu, Nou Barris

Sant Andreu is a charming, family neighborhood at the edge of Barcelona. On the corner of Rambla de Fabra i Puig and Carrer Gran de Sant Andreu, you will find the oldest bar in the neighborhood. Founded in 1913, Bar Colombia has a certain Sant Andreu pride; one of the walls is decorated with old posters from the early 1900s advertising the arrival of the annual neighborhood party. Glasses hang on the wall behind the wood and marble bar, and liquor bottles and a good beer selection line the shelf behind the bar. Long windows facing the street allow for great people-watching and illuminate the bar. Little details—like the small upstairs loft, the rose-painted panels on the walls, and the black-and-white photographs hung on the exposed stone wall in the back—make the bar feel as though time has stopped. Come in ready to speak Spanish… better yet, Catalan!

Vinilo

Carrer de Matilde, 2

Neighborhood, District: Vila de Gràcia, Gràcia

David Bowie walked into a bar and became one with it. Welcome to Vilino, where the adjective “quirky” only touches the tip of the iceberg. Between the couches and giant phonograms, the funky music and Beetlejuice screening on the back wall, Vinilo is so wonderfully mismatched that its chaotic décor has a certain youthfulness and blasé attitude, much like the neighborhood outside its door.

Barantino

Carrer de Mozart, 4

Neighborhood, District: Vila de Gràcia, Gràcia

Barantino is as edgy as the cinematic inspiration of the bar, which is an homage to director Quentin Tarantino. A portrait of Uma Thermun, in all her fatal majesty, occupies the entire back wall of the bar, and Pulp Fiction posters dominate the other walls. The red baseboards make one wonder if they are covering up more sinister evidence, and rock music blares from the sound system. Barantino also has free open mic nights, making it a great bar for a bit of live music in Gràcia.

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