A Bohemian Guide to El Poblenou, Barcelona

© Almusaiti
© Almusaiti
Photo of Tara Jessop
18 May 2017

Located to the north of Barcelona, el Poblenou was once upon a time the industrial heart of the city. Today, the factories and warehouses are being converted into artist workshops and craft breweries. Here’s how to explore the bohemian barrio of el Poblenou.

Morning

Start the day with a cup of fresh coffee from one of Barcelona’s best roasteries and coffee houses: Nømad – run by Catalan entrepreneur and barrista, Jordi Mestre, who founded his company in Barcelona after a stint working in London. While Nømad have a couple of sites in Barcelona, the Pobenou site, aka the ‘Roaster’s Home’, is where the magic happens as this where the coffee beans are roasted to perfection. After that, wander a little further up the same street to the Forn Cruixent and grab an artisan pastry from this independent bakery which uses sourdough to prepare most of its breads and buns.

A Nømad tasting Courtesy of Nømad

Curiously, the Poblenou cemetery is a great place for a peaceful stroll and is home to a very memorable statue named ‘the kiss of death’ – depicting a winged skeleton embodying death seemingly sucking the life from a human corpse. The cemetery is the final resting place of a number of famous Catalans who lived from the 19th century onwards and there are some stunning monuments built in their honour.

‘The kiss of death’ | © Ferran Pestaña

Afternoon

The co-working space movement has really kicked off in Barcelona and many of the former warehouses and factories of Poblenou are getting a second life as centres of 21st century enterprise. One such hive of creativity is Valkiria Hub Space, a large co-working space spread over 1500 square metres and home to a number of leading startups and local entrepreneurs. Grab something to eat at the Valkiria Bistrot and rub shoulders with the city’s movers and shakers.

Carrer Pere IV in Poblenou | © Enric Bach

One of the reasons behind Poblenou’s successful transformation from a run-down industrial neighbourhood to a thriving centre of art, technology and business is the spirit of community and solidarity prevalent here. The Poblenou Urban District association brings together artists, designers, architects, street-food sellers and other independent entrepreneurs and creatives. Check out their website and join in on one of the open-day events, where you can visit behind the scenes workshops, studios and offices. Highlights include BD Barcelona, a leading design studio and Piramidón – a contemporary art gallery and residential studio home to some of Barcelona’s most avant-garde artists.

Evening

Bogatell beach in the evening | © Teresa Grau Ros

Come the evening it’s time to relax and what better way to do so then to head to the beach for a stroll at sunset? Much less crowded than the Barceloneta beach – and more popular with locals – the Playa de Bogatell has a friendly, relaxed atmosphere and if you like sports, there are public volleyball courts and ping-pong tables along the waterfront. This is also a great spot for some outdoor yoga or meditation with the sound of the ocean in the background.

In summertime the beach is also lined with chiringuitos – seasonal beach bars – which are more laid-back and casual than the bars in town.

Razor clams from Escribà Courtesy of Escribà | © Escribà

Nighttime

After hours there’s really one reason people come to Poblenou: Razzmatazz. Barcelona’s biggest and most famous nightclub, Razzmatazz is five clubs in one, playing everything from techno music to eighties pop. They’re also a major live music venue and attract some of the best acts from the international music stage.

Vive la Fête live at Razzmatazz | © itz.

However, clubs here open late and before you head off to dance you may want to grab a cocktail at Balius. A ‘gastro-cocktail bar’, the tapas are as attractive as the drinks – both of which change seasonally. Last but not least, Madame George is a larger than life cocktail bar with a DJ playing a mix of funk and soul until late.

Courtesy of Balius Bar

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