Gin and tonic is the ultimate late-night drink in Barcelona. A far cry from the humble G&Ts served in tumblers with a slice of lemon and a couple of lonely ice-cubes; the modern gin and tonic is big, bold and comes in all different crazy flavour combinations. A veritable gin revolution has swept across Barcelona and these are the best bars to get to grips with it.
Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
Named after the corner shops or ‘utltramarinos‘ of days gone by – including the one which used to stand in its place – this unpretentious gin and cocktail bar is a local late-night institution. There are regular DJ nights at Ultramarinos on weekends and a buzzing party atmosphere which lasts until late.
‘The perfect gin tonic doesn’t exist’ says a sign on the wall at Bobby Gin’s – but that shouldn’t stop you trying to find it anyway. If the locale is rather stripped back and straightforward at Bobby Gin, the cocktail list is dressed to impress and includes a wide selection of local and imported gins.
Located in the upmarket part of Eixample, Boca Grande and its adjoining cocktail bar, Boca Chica, are the kind of place locals go to be seen. Oozing Catalan chic, with a design by designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán, the bar was awarded best gin tonic in Spain in 2015 for its ‘Infusión‘ served with a genie’s lamp.
The danger at Slow is that you can easily arrive at 7pm with good intentions and find yourself still clinging to the dance floor at 6am before you know it. The list of cocktails draws its inspiration from across the world – ever seen a drink served in a tagine before now? – and while the list of gins isn’t as extensive as in some other places, the originality of the flavour combinations makes it a must-try.
If you’re of the opinion that presentation is as important as taste, the Old Fashioned is your kind of bar. The gin and tonics are crafted with meticulous attention to detail and some of the quirkiest glasses and drinking paraphernalia you’ve ever seen, all with a stylish retro atmosphere that will leave you feeling like you’ve stepped into a gangster movie.
One of Barcelona’s worst-kept secrets, El Paradiso is a stylish speakeasy cocktail bar located behind the walls of a pastrami sandwich in El Born. After playing a quick game of ‘knock-knock, who’s there’ with the guy at the door you’ll be taken aback by the cool decor of this exclusive bar which was recently touted as ‘One to Watch’ by the World’s 50 Best Bars guide.
Younger sibling of the popular Rubí bar – also famous for its gin and tonics – the Lime House has an even wider offering of gins and its speciality is house infused gins which are prepared with spices, herbs but also sweets, fruit and more. Prices are low in this cheap and cheerful El Born bar where its fun atmosphere attracts a rather international crowd.
For anyone with a sweet tooth, La Confiteria is sure to be a treat as it has maintained many of the original features of its days as a candy shop, including the stylish shop facade. Try the Alice in Wonderland cocktail to really fit in with the décor: a revamped G&T made with Hendrick’s gin, wild raspberries, and lychee liqueur all served in an old fashioned tea pot.
A real local’s haunt, Elephanta boasts a collection of some 40 gins behind the bar and has been serving G&Ts since long before Barcelona went crazy for them. The drinks mostly have Catalan names such as Nuria, Pau or Guillem and you’ll find ingredients such as tonka beans, saffron and rose petals on the menu as well.
Smart gins, no tie needed – is the tagline of this busy gin bar located in the hip Sant Antoni neighbourhood. There’s a rather tantalising list of drinks to choose from at Xixbar but the Gin Tonic of the Month is invariably always worth a try as is the original Blue Tonic, a house classic.