For those who don’t know, Cava is the official name for Spanish sparkling wine and is fast making a name for itself as a serious rival to the world famous French Champagne. The pride and joy of many winemakers in Catalunya (one of the few regions in which cava can officially be produced) a trip to Barcelona would not be complete without the chance to enjoy a fine glass of this refreshing beverage. Here’s our pick of the best bars in Barcelona for enjoying a copa de cava (glass of cava) or two.
This old fashioned tapas bar is known as one of the best places in Barcelona for cava, so much so it has earned itself the nickname Xampanyeria in Catalan or Champañeria in Spanish. The bar is extremely popular with both locals and visitors so expect to be shoulder to shoulder with the other guests. In order to enjoy the extremely affordable sparkling wine at Can Paixano you will be expected to purchase a ración (small portion) of food. This is the perfect place to experience an authentic cava bar at a relatively cheap price.
This quirky little tapas bar is located in the backstreets of the Born, hidden amongst the artists’ workshops and ancient buildings which give the area its charm. El Xampanyet is relatively small with just a few tables available to those who get there early, but the reason the locals love this place is precisely because of the warm, cozy atmosphere and the chit chat of both old and young who come here for a copa or two of cava. There’s an ample selection of traditional tapas to choose from too, from Spanish omelet to boquerones (marinated white anchovies). Its popularity means that, like most places in the center of the city, you’re likely to be in a mixed crowd of locals and tourists, but in many ways that’s what gives this place its quirky charm.
Not exclusively dedicated to cava, Els Sortidors del Parlament is a popular wine bar and bodega located on the trendy Calle Parlament in the Sant Antoni neighborhood of Barcelona. It’s one of those great places which preserves the charm of an old fashioned bodega with subtle hints of modern style and comfort. The wine list is exclusively Spanish, primarily Catalan and offers a great selection of wines a cut above what you might find in most local bars. There’s a huge selection of wines to choose from by the bottle, as well as a choice of two or three cavas by the glass usually, including a rosé. The food on offer here is excellent and opting to have a meal here is truly recommendable.
This stylish little wine bar located just opposite the church of Santa Maria del Mar holds an impressive selection of wines from across the country, including a wide range of different cavas. You’d be forgiven for mistaking La Vinya del Senyor for an over priced tourist trap given its location, but this is a place that works hard to give its customers a great experience, with friendly service and a choice of interesting wines, each with their own story to tell. If you’re lucky enough to get a seat on the terrace you’ll be able to enjoy one of the nicest settings in town, surrounded by the stunning architecture of Barcelona’s Old Town.
Best known for being one of the largest and most impressive purveyors of wine in Barcelona, Vila Viniteca is something of an institution on the local wine scene. In operation since 1932, the shop works with over 200 bodegas across the world but is especially well supplied in Spanish wine, stocking some of the most prestigious names on the Spanish viticultural scene. In addition to the main wine selling shop (which is well worth a tour), there is a gourmet deli with a small bar attached where guests can sample some of the wines on offer. Although the bar area is not particularly remarkable for its décor or atmosphere, it’s a great place to stop off for a swift refreshment after perusing the many bottles on offer in the shop.
Located in the cool neighbourhood of Gràcia, away from the at times hectic city center, Cata 181 is a modern wine bar which takes its vocation seriously. Of course, what self-respecting wine bar in Catalunya could not have a selection of traditional cavas, as well as a few more unusual bottles too. The name of this elegant locale is itself a reference to the experience of discovering new wines – the Spanish word ‘cata‘ is the term used for a food or wine ‘tasting’. If you happen to get hungry then rest assured, the kitchen offers a selection of small dishes and plates to share with some modern variations on Catalan classics.
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