Barcelona Cocktail Bars
Who’s causing a stir on the scene?
By Duncan Rhodes
Where can you find the best mixed mojitos and Mai Tais in the Catalan capital? We take a look at some of our favourite coctelerias for all styles and budgets.
Beer drinkers and wine lovers for most of their history, the Catalans were slow to embrace the delights of spirits – and the art of mixing them together. However in recent years cocktails have been coming to the fore, with a rush of bars and lounges opening up around Barcelona, serving a vast and tasty array of concoctions to excite the most discerning of palates. This being Spain, where the precise measuring of alcohol is considered uncouth, drinks are mixed as strong as you like, so be warned before you set off on that epic bar crawl or order one too many mojitos with your dinner.
Below is by no means an exhaustive list, but we list some of our favourite cocktail bars in the city. From upscale lobbies in 5-star hotels, where you can mingle with polite company, and lush sky bars overlooking the city, to homely haunts around the Old Town where your well-mixed margarita comes with eulogies about Barca FC and the sofas are as well-worn as those in your aunt’s living room… Barcelona has the perfect sipping spot for you. Mojitos and caipirinhas are the people’s choice, but shop around and you’ll be able to find anything from ‘Porn Star Martinis’ to ‘Panther’s Milk’ on the drinks menu, whilst a new generation of ambitious mixologists are being celebrated for their innovative libations. This being Cava country you’ll also find some sinfully sparkling Champagne cocktails!
Highly Rated Cocktail Bars & Lounges
Find some great recommendations below. Click on the individual bar names (blue links) to reveal more info, location map, photos and public reviews.
Smooth, low-lit and plenty of well-dressed good-lookers loafing around – Marmalade is your archetypal cocktail lounge, thankfully without ever delving into the realms of pretentiousness. As well as traditional combinations you’ll find a hit-list of original mixes such as ‘La Cucaracha’ (The Cockroach), Champagne Charlies and yes the Porn Star Martini.
For a truly classy cocktail experience it’s hard to beat a night at Slow, where celebrated bartender Fran Mekk performs liquid alchemy as he rustles together some of the most mouthwatering concoctions in town – try their Capitan Barbarroja, Firebird or Spiced Margarita if you want to see what we mean! Whilst Barcelona’s elite mingle and chat in the front bar earlier on in the evening, later at night Slow’s intimate upstairs disco rocks to an eclectic mix of dancefloor friendly tracks. There’s also live music every Friday and Saturday night from 9:30pm.
Remember those Cava cocktails we just mentioned? Here’s where you can get them, courtesy of Le Pop’s celebrated barman, Juan Jose. His ‘Sparkling Menu’ contains the likes of the Catalan Bellini, made with Gin Mare and Cava, whilst you can also choose eccentric offerings like ‘Cat Food’, made from tequila, vanilla, coriander, passion fruit, and topped with beer and served in a can. One to get your paws on for sure! Nestled in the five star folds of Le Méridien Hotel, you can expect great service and a sophisticated after work ambience.
The little sister of the aforementioned Marmalade bar, this cute and cosy bistro has won a place in the heart of many a visitor to Barcelona, many of whom return again for another shot at the venue’s tantalising drinks menu. The Revolver and Whiskey Savage are two editorial faves. Find in Gotico, near the Post Office.
A perfectly preserved slice of the 1930s, this legendary watering hole is the oldest cocteleria not just in the city – but in the country! Founded by the eponymous Boadas after he returned from mixing Cuba Libre’s in the world famous La Floridita in Havana. If you like your Martinis mixed by a tuxedo-wearing pro be sure to sidle through their red door on La Rambla.
It’s hard to beat this hidden gem in Poble Sec if it’s atmosphere you’re after. Red lights, cherubs, erotic artwork – you’ll feel like you’re in a Parisian bordello. The drinks ain’t bad either!
Surreptitiously positioned on the top of Joaquin Costa in Raval, this Australian-run bar is far from your typically Ozzie spit and sawdust pub. You’ll find projections, murals and a Boho crowd to go with your cocktails. The Daiquiri is a winner.
A classic stop off point just round the back of Plaza Real, Sugar is perfect for drinking quality concoctions, like mojitos and White Russians, on the cheap – amongst similarly inebriated backpackers on leave from their hostels. Grungy but fun!
Buzzing onto the booze’n’schmooze scene in recent years, Firebug is a fun little bar and bistro with some great decorative touches (like the mural made of decapitated suitcases) and meanly mixed drinks, mostly priced around the €6 mark. Upstairs in a great place to enjoy some casual fingerfood with friends.
Cocktail Experiences & Activities
Perhaps you’ve watched one too many 80s movies featuring Tom Cruise, or perhaps you’ve simply always wanted to know how to mix a mean-@ss Margarita without spilling ice all over the table top… whatever your motivation a session with one of Barcelona’s finest mixologists is an activity that always goes down a treat – especially if you’re on a hen weekend – and a great way to start any night out! For just 30 euros you get to learn how to make some of the world’s classic cocktails and of course taste them afterwards (you’ll drink your money’s worth back no problems!). Click on the link above for more info, or email email@example.com to book.
Click on the links to any place and you’ll get the lowdown, public reviews, plus exact location on a map. To explore several of the city’s best lounge bars and end up in the exclusive Opium Mar nightclub then reserve your nightlife tour with us.
Finally, if you’re more of a pint (wo)man than a cocktail quaffer, then why not head over to our guide to Irish pubs, or better still our A-Z list of all the best bars, pubs and clubs in town.
About the Author
Duncan established Barcelona Life in 2009, whilst freelancing for the likes of Conde Nast, The Guardian, Easyjet Magazine, CNN Traveller and many more. From interviews with Ferran Adria to revealing the secrets of the city’s poetry brothels, he knows the city inside out… and shares all his best tips right here.