El Raval is one of Barcelona’s most bustling tourism hubs, with a booming cultural and dining scene. As the area’s popularity has grown, so have its bars, which include everything from daytime tapas bars to dance-floor havens. We list our pick of the best bars in this Barcelona neighborhood.
Famously known as one of the oldest operating absinthe bars in Barcelona, Bar Marsella has been serving guests since 1820, and has counted the likes of Picasso and Hemingway as patrons. Nowadays it is most popular with sangria loving students, and boasts a lively and bubbly atmosphere, particularly after midnight when the environment really livens up. However, it has a certain nostalgic charm, paying homage to its ‘oldest bar’ status, which can be enjoyed on its quieter days.
Bar, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, Spanish, Pub Grub, $$$
Manchester Bar is a hidden cave, boasting cheap drinks and a typical Mancunian experience. With red and orange walls and scrawled lyrics from The Smiths, there’s no escaping the Manchester vibe here. Perfect not only for those expats wanting a little taste of home, but also daring tourists and locals looking for a bit of an alternative to the Spanish bars, Manchester Bar Raval is a quirky spot to grab a drink. Ideal for music lovers, Manchester Bar pays the best of artists born from this British city, from The Cure, to Radiohead.
One of the oldest establishments in town, 150-year-old Casa Almirall serves as a meeting point for locals from the district who come for its unique, bohemian atmosphere. The bar is divided into two; the front part and its decor has been kept original; the back room was refurbished into a seating area in 1977 and offers a perfect setup for guests wanting to relax on sofas and low armchairs. Pass by for a glass of vermouth, absinthe or pick one of the micro brewery beers served by bottle.
Restaurant by day, bar by night, Dostrece is a stylish member of the El Raval scene, attracting people of all tastes with its varied music. Guests can listen to anything from jazz to flamenco, making music one of its key attractions. The spacious interior means that guests can relax comfortably, unlike in many of Barcelona’s smaller, narrower bars, and enjoy great drinks such as the signature Fire Cocktail. There’s a roomy dance floor to throw some shapes on afterwards.
One of Barcelona’s secret bars, El Armario can only be accessed through a hole in the wall via the owner’s wardrobe. A unique experience from the onset, this Narnia-inspired bar is furnished with pieces of old furniture, and gives guests a fun and novel drinking experience. Opening only when the owners feel like it, and with the homely feel that is created by the scenery, El Armario offers a personal and warm experience with a mysterious edge.
Located just off the main tourist hub, the London Bar is reminiscent of a classic British pub. Open since 1910 and famous for once attracting the likes of Dalí, Picasso and Hemingway, London Bar boasts a charming old school interior. Guests can enjoy a wide range of affordable drinks here in a friendly atmosphere, with a billiard table on site for some late-night competition after.
Cocktail Bar, Spanish, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, Pub Grub
The lively atmosphere of Le Pop Cocktail Bar is matched by its creative cocktails. With master cocktail makers at your service, there are some great concoctions as well as classic drinks on hand. Relax in a luxurious leather armchair, and choose your tipple from the “Sparkling Menu”. Highlights include favourites such as Catalan Bellini, and Triple Orange Gin & Tonic.
Bar, Tapas, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, Pub Grub, Spanish, $$$
A German style bar in the heart of Barcelona, L’Ovella Negra is a fantastic alternative to the traditional Spanish bars. A rustic tavern with a a lively and friendly ambiance, it has high wood ceilings, soothing lighting, stone floors, and even wood stoves. Plus a great selection of beers as you might imagine.
Popular with a young crowd thanks to its modern minimalist design, bold music selection, featuring everything from indie to electronic and fantastic gin & tonics. Cassette Bar has managed to strike the balance between authentic character and contemporary style, something no other bar in the area has managed. The spectacular carved out space at the back of the bar is a great space to relax on in comfortable armchairs and enjoy great cocktails such as the Strawberry Mojito.
One for the food lovers, this open and airy space in the centre of Barcelona boasts a welcoming interior, as well as an outdoor terrace. Bar Lobo serves everything from full breakfasts to light lunches and dinners, and is a perfect refueling spot for those spending the day exploring this tourist hub. All food is prepared using fresh and local market food, and the tempting tapas are particularly good.