Barcelona Beer Bars & Pubs

The Catalans and Barcelonins have been beer lovers for decades now, despite the region's association with Cava, the sparkling white wine heavily produced in the surrounding vineyards. Cerveza is the standard order with any light snack or tapas and - although a glass of vino tinto might be more common at a restaurant - once dinner is over, it's usually back to the brews. For a long time, right until the early 2010s, the choice of beers in Barcelona, especially in bars and Estrella Damm, which has been brewed in Barcelona since 1876 - their distinctive gold-starred red labels grace the taps of virtually every joint in the city. Locals normally prefer to drink it by the bottle, in cana-sized glasses, which are normally around 25-33cl, or even as canitas - smaller measures still. (However many Irish pubs and expat bars will serve it in half-litre or pint glasses, and a few student places will even offer you a litre jug if you've really got a thirst on).

After going bankrupt in 1978, in 2004 Moritz relaunched the beer they first brewed in Barcelona back in 1856 (although the brewery itself is now in Zaragossa), and have recently succeeded in making a dent in Estrella's market dominance. It's a light pale beer made with saaz hops, and championed by some of the hipper bars in town. Other Spanish options widely available around town are San Miguel and Mahou (both brewed by the Mahou-San Miguel group), whilst Estrella Damm's darker cousin, Voll-Damm, is certainly worth an experimental sip or two.

Above: Whose round is it anyway?

For many foreigners, especially expats living in Barcelona, the above don't represent the variety and quality they are accustomed to in the US, UK or Germany for example - where beer-making is a fine art and local produce is swelled by a huge import industry. Thankfully several savvy pub owners have cottoned on to the gap in the market and, despite the logistical difficulties in such a small import market, are succeeding in getting in some of the best brews from around the world behind their counters.

Furthermore, buoyed by the recent Catalan craft beer revolution, locals are starting to invest in their own independent and micro-breweries, often setting up a bar on the same premises (= win-win situation!), selling their own and guest brews to passionate punters. Below we list some favourites for a draught of the good stuff...

Recommended Beer Bars & Brew Pubs

Click on the blue links for full reviews, public opinions and location maps.

Cat Bar
This oddball bar and vegan restaurant is also one of Barcelona's foremost pitstops for thirsty beer lovers. There's a total of 34 drops to choose from, the majority of which are craft/artesan or microbrewery beers. 23 of the 34 are Spanish, 19 of the 23 Spanish ones are from Catalonia, and 8 of the 19 Catalan beers are from Barcelona itself - so plenty of local and regional flavours to choose from, whether you fancy wheat beers, pale ales, stouts or even a spiced and toasted winter ale. Supplementing these are nine Brew Dogs beers, such as 'The Trashy Blonde', 'Punk IPA' and the superb 'Alice Porter', a sacred union of one 300-year-old recipe and two cross continental hop varieties. They also have the original Czech Budvar.
C/Boria 17

Shenanigans
A tad more sophisticated than your average Celtic tavern, this dimly lit and homely pub, not far from Las Ramblas, serves not only Guinness and Murphys (as you might expect from an Irish bar) but a range of tasty international beers like Amstel and Paulaner, and five artesan beers including Sierra Nevada Torpedo and Pale Ale and Manchester Bitter. They also have a delicious range of those Swedish Rekorderlig ciders if you fancy a change!
C/Marques de Barbera 11

The Loch Inn
Instead of Estrella Damm, here at Loch Inn they've gone for Estrella Galicia on tap - a vast improvement in our humble opinion. And rather than the usual international premier lagers served at expat joints, they've selected the marvelous original Czech Budva (from which the American Budweiser originated - however don't worry they are chalk and cheese in terms of taste!). Also on tap are the well-loved Fransizkaner and Leffe (Ruby) beers, whilst in the bottle you'll find various numbers by Scottish brewers BrewDog and a mouthwatering selection of ales such as Spitfire, East India Pale Ale and Bishop's Finger (which we have been assured is more appetizing than it sounds).
Passeig de Sant Joan 74

Mosquito
Who'd have thought that Chinese dumplings and artesan ales would be one of Barcelona's biggest hits? Hipsters love this place, and in fact the only big problem with Mosquito is that you'll be hard pressed to get a table, especially at peak eating and drinking times. If you're happy to wait though you can pass by and have your name chalked up on the board (where they keep a waiting list) and then come back later.
C/Carders 48

Cerveseria Jazz
This traditional Spanish-style cerveceria can be found out in Poble Sec and has an excellent range of bottled beers, including local Catalan artesan beers, and some German and Czech brews on tap. They also serve burgers named after jazz crooners. Tends to be closed early in the week, then gets busy during peak nights. Out of the range of many tourists so a good option for those seeking something more local.
C/Margarit, 43

Recommended Tours

Craft Beer Tour
Looking for a genuine Catalan beer experience? You've just found it! On this weekly tour (every Saturday) hop lovers are invited to join local brewer and connoisseur Oriol Jaumā as he shows travellers his favourite microbreweries and pubs, whilst sharing some of his knowledge about production, history and the contemporary revolution. Great venues, great artesan ales and all in great company! Reasonably priced at €59 per person which includes five beers plus tapas, and of course your guide. Limited spaces each week, but simply email us to reserve your place.

add your comments

In Eixample (BCN center) you can find a nice place Zythos Beer Barcelona, craft and local Beer, some tapas

reviewed by Nati from Spain on Aug.14.2015

Great article and helped guide us around the craft beer scene in Barcelona. Our favourites were Garage Beer Co near universitat and Biercab which is right next door. Will be back soon for sure!

reviewed by richard from United Kingdom on Jan.29.2015

Check out George and Dragon... the best beerbar in BCN (20 beers on tap and more than 50 on bottle).

reviewed by Jesper from Denmark on Mar.27.2013

Just a heads up for beer lovers visiting Barcelona, have a look here for our favorite beer bars (http://www.bcnmes.com/shortlist-archive-by-category-home/beer-cervecerias/), some of which we share with Barcelona Life :-) and some of which we hope they try soon!

reviewed by Joe from Spain on Jan.03.2013

La birreria, is a very cool bar located in Gracia, barcelona. Variety of beers, including gluten free. Excellent music and free popcorn!!
Riera de Sant Miquel 70 - Gracia.

reviewed by Victor from Spain on Nov.08.2012

Previous post is right on. There's a lot of activity on Barcelona's craft brew front. Here's our shortlist recommendation for Ale & Hop

reviewed by Joe from Spain on Oct.17.2012

Actually the real ale scene is quite vibrant in Barcelona. There are an incredible 30+ craft breweries in Catalunya and you can try some of them as well as international real ales......

La Cerveteca, c/gignas
Mosquito c/carders 46
4 pedres, badalona
Ale&Hop c/basses de sant pere, 10

And many more.......

reviewed by Giles from United States on Nov.25.2011