The 10 Best Local Bars in Barcelona

Bar Santa Marta, Barcelona | © Yury Ostromentsky / Flickr
Bar Santa Marta, Barcelona | © Yury Ostromentsky / Flickr
Photo of Tara Jessop
6 December 2017

There’s a bar for every day of the year in Barcelona and one for every occasion: concept bars and Cava bars, karaoke bars and hipster bars. But sometimes all you really want is a good old-fashioned local’s bar with no thrills and no fuss, just a place to grab a drink and catch up with your friends. Here’s our pick of the best local bars in Barcelona.

Bar La Plata

Bar, Spanish, Tapas, Pub Grub
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Fried anchovies
Fried anchovies | © Javier Lastras

This Gothic Quarter institution prides itself on serving the same four tapas since it first opened in 1945: fried anchovies, cured anchovies with olives, local sausage and a tomato and onion salad. It really is as simple as that in this locale that has nonetheless managed to attract the likes of Bono and Catalan chef extraordinaire Ferran Adrià.

Bar Olimpia

Bar, Pub Grub, Spanish
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Named after the Theatre Circus Olimpia, which operated here in the 1930s, the Bar Olimpia was in need of a little TLC when it was taken over by younger owners a few years ago and given a fresh new life. From the outside, the Bar Olimpia may still look like your average neighbourhood bar, but inside you’ll find a younger, fun-loving crowd. This is the kind of place to go for good music, cheap drinks and a good laugh on a Friday after work.

La Bodega d'en Rafael

Bar, Restaurant, Bodega, Spanish, Tapas, Pub Grub
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The Bodega d'en Rafael
The Bodega d'en Rafael | © Sonia Tres / Flickr

It doesn’t matter if it’s your tenth time or your first time walking through the door of La Bodega d’en Rafael, you’ll be greeted with the same warm welcome. Run by Rafael himself, the bar is open from first thing in the morning until late at night every day but Saturday. Loved by locals for its friendly atmosphere and cheap, hearty tapas, it’s a good option any time of the day.

Bar Bodega Quimet

Bar, Restaurant, Spanish, Tapas, Beer, Pub Grub
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Another good example of an old bar getting a new lease of life under new management, the Bar Bodega Quimet looks altogether unchanged – until you pay closer attention to the menus. The classic Estrella Damm beer has been swapped for the local Moritz, as well as bottles of craft beer. The wine list reads like that of a hip wine bar, featuring Catalan and Spanish wines predominantly. The tapas, on the other hand, are charmingly classic, with favourites such as Russian salad and boquerones (white anchovies).

Bodega Montferry

Bar, Bodega, Restaurant, Spanish, Pub Grub
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Simple but delicious: Spanish tapas
Simple but delicious: Spanish tapas | © ecodallaluna

The neighbourhood of Sants has so far managed to stay off your average tourist’s radar and there’s a real authentic feel to many of its bars, restaurants and public squares. The Bodega Montferry is a small bar tucked away in the corner of a leafy park where old men gather to play boules on sunny days. Open mornings and afternoons except for at weekends, when it opens in the evenings too, it offers a simple selection of homemade tapas as well as generous sandwiches that are perfect for a quick lunch.

Bar Electricitat

Bar, Spanish, Tapas, $$$
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The Barceloneta | © Eric Chan / Flickr
The Barceloneta | © Eric Chan / Flickr

The Barceloneta has historically been a working-class neighbourhood inhabited by fishermen and their families. While the surge in tourism in Barcelona has seen many of the local’s bars priced out or transformed into modern fish restaurants, a few neighbourhood haunts have remained true to their origins. The Bar Electricitat is a family-run business that has been on the go since 1908 and still draws in workers during the week and local families at the weekends.

Casa Almirall

Bar, Beer, Wine, Pub Grub, Spanish
Map View

The Carrer Joaquin Costa is lined with some of the hippest bars in El Raval and is popular with the local skating crowd when they need a rest from the MACBA. It’s also home to the Casa Almirall, which stands out for its modernist décor, wood-panelled walls and marble-top tables which could well have been the same since its inauguration in 1860. There’s no food here, or any fancy cocktails, just your standard coffee, beer and wine – and vermouth!

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