New Year’s Eve in Barcelona
Regional traditions and the best NYE parties
By Duncan Rhodes
Your guide to seeing in the new year in Barcelona…
It’s the planet’s biggest party night and rest assured Barcelona doesn’t disappoint when it comes to seeing in the New Year in style – and of course this being Catalonia we do it in our own special way!
Just as Catalonia has some of the weirdest Christmas customs in the world, we’ve also got several quirky regional traditions that make celebrating New Year’s Eve in Barcelona completely unique. The most famous is the eating of 12 grapes on the 12 strokes leading up to midnight, a practice popular throughout Spain! That’s one a second and harder than it sounds… they say if you can successfully cram all 12 pieces of fruit in your mouth in time with the chimes, and without spilling any, then you’re going to have a great upcoming year.
Another tradition is that of wearing red underwear on the night… the origins of this one are unknown to us at Barcelona Life, but again it’s supposed to be lucky, and a good excuse to enquire about the intimate garments of any sexy-looking chic@s you meet on the night! The only other essential tradition to abide by is to drink lots and lots of Cava… aka Spanish champagne!
Another thing that is a bit different in Catalonia is that NYE is a bit more orientated towards the family than in many other parts of the world, at least up until midnight. Most locals will eat dinner first with their families and toast the New Year with Cava at midnight, before heading out to meet friends at bars and clubs in the early hours. That means many some late night spots start their parties after midnight, as the locals won’t be joining until a bit later. This is Barcelona remember so nothing will be shutting early and there’s no need to hurry!
Since 2013, the city has followed in the footsteps of mega-cities like London, Sydney and New York by throwing a massive public celebration, replete with music, midnight countdown, fireworks display, and even spectacular displays of Catalan cultural traditions like the amazing Castellers (human towers). The action takes place by the Magic Fountain, just near Placa Espanya and is always packed. It usually starts at 11pm and finishing at around 12:30am.
Of course if you don’t fancy hanging out in the cold, or not so impressed by pyrotechnics there will be plenty of pubs, bars and clubs throwing epic bashes that you can join in with (hint: you’ll find a list of the best below on this very page!), where many of the great Catalan New Year’s Eve traditions will be upheld. Even if some locals don’t join in until later the large number of resident foreigners, expats and travellers means every major venue will be heaving all night!
New Year’s Eve Parties 2018/2019
Now you know the traditions, it’s time to track down the action… here are some of our favourite venues in Barcelona, along with what’s going on on the night.
Belushi’s Free Pre-Party
“Be smart, and get a head start!” say Belushi’s as they open their doors from 7pm and help Barcelona’s party animals get in the mood for the night ahead. They kick off proceedings with an extended happy hour where you can take advantage of 2-for-1 mixed drinks and filthy cheap bottles of Cava. Resident DJ Reach Out & F*ck Somebody will be rounding up of 2017’s biggest tunes to get you in the mood. With one of the largest travellers’ hostels in the same building, this will be a young and wild jumpstart to NYE 2018.
See the New Year in in style at this suave lounge bar in the Raval district, a hip meeting place of both international and local revellers. Guest DJs will be spinning the tunes all night and your €21 ticket also gets you a welcome Cava cocktail and custom made party bag with masks, whistles and the traditional grapes for the midnight countdown. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info and to reserve.
For a full-on introduction to 2018 reserve a spot at Barcelona’s favourite Irish pub for a three course dinner and late night party. On the set menu the likes of whiskey-cured salmon, Angus Beef tenderloin and Belgian double chocolate orange cheesecake (the menu also has a vegetarian main option in spinach and ricotta puffs), whilst the €38 ticket also includes a bottle of wine between two, and Cava and grapes at midnight. Towards the end of the evening punters will be swilling Guinness and beers and singing along to Auld Lang Syne! Email: email@example.com for more info or to reserve.
One of the city’s slickest cocktail bars, Slow is a great bet for anyone looking for somewhere upmarket yet unpretentious to spend nochevieja (aka New Year’s Eve!), and they will be throwing on an electroclash and techno music selection hosted by Unknown Pleasures Records including David Carretta. The doors open at 12:30am, and entrance will be €25 with two long drinks included in the price, or €10 for entry alone. More info here.
Barcelona’s most famous nightspot will be inviting its guests to bid farewell to 2017 and welcome 2018 in style at their prime location by the beach. You can start the evening with a special dinner on the terrace of their restaurant, before toasting the new year and continuing the party until dawn at arguably the trendiest club in the city. Dinner, champagne, cocktails, DJs, the beautiful people and lots of partying, all overlooking the sea, will make this one of the best NYE bashes in town. Get more info by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barcelona’s Ice Bar certainly knows how to party and this NYE will be no exception. International DJs Stefano Marvu from Milan and Simon Boulin from London will be accompanied by Marcus Zion from Buenos Aires on percussion to help usher in 2018 in style. Get in contact for advance tickets which will also include the Icebar experience – ie. sipping vodka from a subzero chamber. Email email@example.com for more.
For a more intimate celebration than most of the above options, head over to the cosmopolitan cocktail bar Milk where €19 gets you a welcome cocktail, traditional grapes for the midnight countdown and some fun extras for party games… like whistles and masks. No doubt there’ll be a sprig of mistletoe hung up in a strategic place somewhere in the bar! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets.
With no entrance fee, and great drinks offers for the duration – Guinness for €4 a pint, lager for €3 and gin and tonics and other mixed drinks only €5 – if you spent all your money on Christmas shopping, then Shenanigans promises a Bacchic night out that won’t break the bank. The party starts at 9pm and they’ll be handing out party packs and grapes.
For a classy start to 2018 head down to Le Pop, the swanky lounge bar of Barcelona’s five-star Le Meridien Hotel on Las Ramblas. For €50 you can party from 11pm until 3am with a live DJ at their “A Touch of Chic” soiree at one of the city’s most exclusive venues. Tickets include two complimentary drinks (wine, beer, Cava, mixers or soft drinks) plus traditional hot chocolate and churros at 2am. For €169 you can enjoy their NYE Gala Dinner first, which then grants you free entry to the party in Le Pop. More info here.
Barcelona’s only American-style beer hall will be throwing open its doors for a fun and informal festive meal and party. On the menu sea scallop with celery, snow peas and black truffle for starters, chicken and waffles as a main and white chocolate soup with mango ice cream to finish. Tickets are €49.90 and include food, plus a pint of craft beer, glass of Cava and the customary midnight grapes. Email email@example.com for more info or to reserve.
Firebug will be celebrating the arrival of 2018 with a fun and friendly party for their cosmopolitan fans. Expect great food, well mixed drinks and an international clientele, with guest DJs spinning the tunes. Tickets are €21 and include a welcome Cava cocktail and custom made party pack with unique masks, whistles and midnight grapes for the Spanish countdown. Contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org to make reservations.
For an easy-going night of high revelry then saunter on over to the Wild Rover, where the entrance is free and the drinks are normal prices all night. They’ll be live music from 11pm right up til 3am and you can expect a plenty of voices raised in celebration as the clock chimes twelve. No reservation required.
Big dirty and industrial, if getting messy with the city’s hipsters and students if how you want to spend your night then rock up to – and rock out in – Razzmatazz. This former factory is the biggest club in the city, five rooms of pandemonium. The crowd is younger (over 25 year olds will feel old here) and more hedonistic, the beats a mix of rock, pop and electronic.
If you’re planning on organising your own private event then check out this list of venues for hire.
New Year’s Day Brunch
No need to spend the first day of 2018 sobbing in bed with a glass of Alka Seltzer, as Milk, Marmalade and Firebug will all be open for their famous recovery brunches! So nip down for some bacon, pancakes and smoothies to blast the cobwebs of the night before away. Always a good atmosphere and who knows maybe you’ll feel well enough after to keep going… in which case keep reading…
New Year’s Day Parties
In the Catalan capital there’s a bit of a tradition to carry on the party into the next day. If carpe diem is your motto then book yourself a table at the elite Eclipse cocktail bar on the top floor of the sensational W-Hotel – the Dubai-esque glass sail-shaped building on the top of Barceloneta Beach.
Drink responsibly, dance wildly and love freely! The Barcelona Life team wish you all an amazing night!