Barcelona has a reputation (for better or worse) as a party city, with a thriving nightlife that attracts music lovers and partygoers from across the world. Home to a number of great clubs playing everything from afrobeat to post-punk, the city’s true musical love is without a doubt electro and techno. Here are the best dance floors in the Catalan capital.
Right on Barceloneta’s seafront promenade lies Shôko – a lounge club and restaurant decorated with glamorous Asian-influenced decor. The ambience is cosmopolitan and chic, but keep in mind that you’ll find more tourists than Barcelona locals here. Music is mostly hip-hop, commercial hits and DJ sets, but there are also different parties throughout the week – be sure to check out its website for upcoming events.
Another classic in Plaça Reial, Karma Disco is the place for a fun night out of non-stop dancing with your friends. The carefully curated music selection includes indie rock, dance hits from the ’80s and much more. During the day, you can enjoy a drink on its terrace.
Ocaña is named after one of Barcelona’s most mythic and cheeky characters, José Pérez Ocaña – an artist, performer and non-conforming gender activist. This stylish and bohemian venue – located in Plaça Reial – is full of antique pieces and hosts a restaurant, a terrace, a cocktail bar and a club. The cocktail bar, Apotheke, offers a wide selection of live music, as does the club, which is in an underground vaulted space and features a relaxed vibe.
BARTS is located on the grounds of the former Gran Teatro Español (a majestic theatre space), in the heart of El Paral·lel showbiz district. The venue feels cosy and intimate despite its seating capacity of approximately 900 and the two upper galleries that surround the concert hall. To this day, it also hosts plays, cabaret shows and stand-up comedy nights. BARTS has a smaller lounge, BARTS Club, for private events.
As another classic for the chicest of partygoers, Otto Zutz Club appeals mainly to younger audiences and lies in the trendy Gràcia neighbourhood, where you can grab a bite before the party. The music selection includes hip-hop, R&B, reggaeton and house classics, and the exclusive and secretive atmosphere is reinforced by the private VIP areas, known as Los Altos. Bear in mind that you must dress elegantly if you want to enter.
If you are looking for a classy night out, Sutton Barcelona is the place to be. The club is located on Carrer de Tuset in the Upper Diagonal – a posh area in the city – where the trendiest party scene was born back in the ’70s. Well equipped with lights and sound effects for a glittery dance session, the nightclub also features private VIP areas for an exclusive experience. Events include the fancy latin fiesta A La Mode and college and Erasmus parties for younger clubbers. The dress code requires dress shoes and shirts for men.
Tucked away in the backstreets of the Gothic Quarter, the Macarena Club is a popular electro and house nightclub famous for having one of the smallest guest capacities in town – just 80 people are allowed in at any given time. Its size allows you to get up close and personal with the DJs, who play minimal, techno and house from a booth in the middle of the dance floor.
A charming old theatre and music hall featuring dramatic red curtains and chandeliers, Luz de Gas is located in the Sarrià-Sant Gervasi district, on the upper side of Avinguda Diagonal. The people who come here are somewhat older, with most in their 30s, 40s and 50s. Within its intimate setting, the nightclub hosts numerous international concerts. It’s best to arrive early and dress in chic attire if you want guaranteed entry.
Located in L’Eixample (nicknamed Gaixample), Arena Madre is a gay and gay-friendly club. It’s also the mother ship of the Arena gay clubs complex – Arena Classic, Aire Chicas (a lesbian club) and Bar Punto. Sometimes, you can visit some of the other venues by using the same ticket – check at the door. Music comprises mainly pop hits.
Bikini Barcelona is part concert venue, part dance club. It’s a classic among younger clubbers and college students, who enjoy the unpretentious and simple, no-excuses party vibe. The music is eclectic, and the venue is divided into different spaces rambling spaces for live concerts plus house and electro parties.
This article is an updated version of a story created by Tara Jessop.