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.
Razzmatazz – the king of Barcelona’s nightclubs – is actually five venues in one. The Loft is one of the best places in town to hear techno, electro and dubstep, while Lolita plays a mixture of house, electropop, nu-disco and electronica. Indie aficionados should head to the Razz Club, and the Pop Bar is your go-to for classic pop. And then, of course, there’s the Rex Room, the venue’s main dance floor and live-music stage, having welcomed the likes of the Arctic Monkeys, Passion Pit and Calvin Harris.
MOOG – open 365 days a year – is Barcelona’s ultimate techno and electro club and is among the most well regarded in Spain. It helped introduce electronic music to the city back in the mid-1990s when it opened, and it continues to host some of the biggest names in the electro, house and techno scene. Located inside a building that’s been a music venue for over a century, the club oozes that Berlin underground rave flair but under the Mediterranean sun. If there is one small price to pay, it’s fighting for every inch available on the dance floor, as it’s not as spacious as some of the other clubs on this list.
This former theatre (dating to the early 20th century) is one of Barcelona’s most authentic nightclubs, playing a mixture of different sounds throughout the week. Nasty Mondays is all about rock, pop, indie, garage and electro-rock, to name a few. The colourful Cupcake party on Thursdays is for those who love vintage pop hits, while the Nitsa party on weekends is the famously dark, cramped and sweaty hang-out of electronic music lovers. The venue also hosts concerts by international bands. Sala Apolo lies near Avinguda del Paral·lel – Barcelona’s historical showbiz heart – in Poble Sec, so start the night at a nearby tapas bar before surrendering to this music temple.
A legendary Ibizan dance temple, Pacha opened a franchise in the Catalan capital just by the waterfront in Port Olímpic. With a big name like Pacha comes big acts, and many of the hottest DJs of dance, electro and house have played at the venue. On Sundays, you can enjoy slightly different sounds, including hip-hop, R&B and reggaeton, in the Gossip Room parties. You’ll want to dress up to visit Pacha Barcelona, as it’s not afraid of a little glamour.
Located just a few doors down from Pacha, right by Barceloneta Beach, Opium Barcelona is a sophisticated nightclub that has one of the strictest dress codes in the city. This venue is for people who like to see and be seen – high heels, designer labels and magnums of champagne are all part of the atmosphere at this exclusive club, which has attracted a few celebrities on occasion. The dance floor features white-satin couches, chrome-and-glass tables and sleek modern decor, and the chic crowds dance to the beat of the most mainstream electronic music. You’re likely to meet few Barcelonians here.
Offering a good alternative to the primarily electronic music scene in the city, Marula Café is a cosy and dark venue located in the heart of the Gothic Quarter where you can listen and dance to R&B, soul, afrobeat and jazz. You’ll even find swing dance squads from time to time. The nightclub has a laid-back atmosphere and a friendly vibe, attracting as many residents as tourists. In addition to the club nights, the venue also hosts regular live music. Just remember to bring comfy shoes – people here dance all night!
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.
Eclipse is an exclusive night bar situated on the 26th floor of the five-star W Barcelona near Barceloneta Beach. With exceptional panoramic views of the whole city, Eclipse is unlike any other nightclub in Barcelona and has a strict entrance policy. If you’re looking to bump shoulders with the city’s glitterati and cosmopolitan jet-set crowd, this is the place to be.
While Jamboree is among the best jazz clubs in the city (with live performances almost every day), it’s also one of the hottest places for hip-hop and R&B. Funk, latin, blues and house are also on rotation. Located in the popular Plaça Reial just off La Rambla, this underground club with brick walls and vaults has a lively vibe any day of the week and attracts a mixed crowd, including some serious music lovers and acclaimed jazz musicians. If you want to extend the experience after you leave, you can check out Jamboree’s website for its monthly playlists.
Also located in Plaça Reial, Sidecar Factory Club captures the true essence of Barcelona nightlife. In this underground rock club, the crowd is mostly residents who love classic rock and indie. The venue also hosts live concerts, DJ sets and Anti-Karaoke nights, where you can sing along to the likes of AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses and David Bowie. Space is limited, and the vaulted brick walls can feel claustrophobic at peak hours.
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.
Located inside the quaint Poble Espanyol – an outdoor architectural museum and model village – in Montjuïc, La Terrrazza is a rooftop nightclub specialising in house and techno. It’s open throughout the summer season and is one of the main venues during the Sonár electronic music festival, which takes place in Barcelona each year. Even though the open-air rooftop has to abide by restricted noise capacity, it offers a dance experience like no other in the city.
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.
Sutton Barcelona opened its doors in 2001 | Courtesy of Sutton Barcelona
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.