Barcelona is an ever-changing city that sees a variety of new restaurants and bars opening all the time. However, it maintains is its grand selection of bodegas. Originally places that people visited to buy wine a granel (from a barrel) at cheap prices, they’re now popular local haunts to have a drink with a side dish (or a couple) of croquetas or anchovies. El Poble-Sec and Sant Antoni boast some of the oldest and most charming bodegas in Barcelona.
Gran Bodega Saltó Courtesy of Gran Bodega Saltó
Bodega Gran Saltó
Quimet i Quimet
As soon as you walk into Bodega Gran Saltó, you know you’re in for a special evening. Filled with an array of weird and wonderful objects such as stuffed tigers, old instruments, and huge model spiders, it could be compared to an eclectic antique shop. This prize-winning bodega in Poble Sec is quite a cosy one and intimate enough for a quiet drink in the afternoon before it really gets going in the evening. They also hold acoustic nights, some of which go by the name ‘Vermut Musical’ and are sure to entertain. Watch out for their speciality bocaditos, these mouth-watering mini sandwiches (especially the goat cheese and tomato marmalade on tomato bread) will certainly have you going back for more.
One of the oldest bars in the city, this buzzing little hole-in-the-wall has been passed down the family for generations. Its high walls boast bottles of wines, beers, and spirits from floor to ceiling, and the selection of tapas is spectacular. Think smoked salmon and Greek yogurt topped with truffled honey. They have also kept a traditional approach with a classic variety of preserved goods on sale, which is what people would eat as they waited in line to purchase their wine from the bodegas. With such an atmosphere, it’s hard not to lose yourself in the hustle and bustle of this bodega.
This is an especially warm and friendly spot found in Poble Sec. A more sophisticated bodega, its impressive selection of fine wines, kind service, and premium tapas has made it a firm favorite among locals. Edu, the owner, created this trendy joint (look out for the wine crate-inspired walls) himself and put together an extensive menu of classic dishes with a delicious twist, such as foie gras-filled figs and pork and apple croquetas. Not to mention the impressive assortment of cheeses on offer, it won’t disappoint. They stock wine from all over Spain, which can be taken away bottled or a granel. If you’re strolling through the neighborhood, Celler Cal Marino is a must.
Every weekend afternoon, a crowd of people starts to form right in the middle of Carrer del Parlament and there’s no doubt about where they’re drinking. Bodega Vinito, one of the liveliest and most vibrant bars in Sant Antoni, is an open space with each of its three walls showing off a grand selection of wines, liqueurs, and spirits among other beverages (including vermouth from the barrel). The door-less front means the party extends onto the street with revellers enjoying their drinks outside in the fresh air. So if you don’t fancy standing, get there quickly to nab a barrel. This spot promises delightful and very reasonably priced wine and appetizers along with an incomparable atmosphere.
Visiting this bodega in Sant Antoni is as familiar as visiting an old friend. An authentic and inviting local spot, the regulars will welcome you instantly. Not to mention the owner, Rafel, who works tirelessly (apart from a midday siesta) to bring you the most traditional homemade dishes, such as jamón sandwiches and Spanish omelette, as an accompaniment to the wines they have. Should you want to take home a bottle from the barrel, they offer wine from Tarragona at a very good price. What makes this bodega worth the visit is its relaxed and friendly atmosphere, suitable for a drink at any time of the day. If you visit more than once, you’re sure to be on a first-name basis with Rafel and friends.
Hidden in one of the quieter streets in Sant Antoni is this real gem of a bodega. It’s charmingly intimate and always bustling with loyal customers and new neighbors alike. You’ll be welcomed instantly by the warm and attentive owner, Armando, who offers abundant portions of cheese and cold meats with bread and tomato amongst other tasty bite-sized food. Wine can be taken away, bottled, or from the barrel, at very good prices, and the vermouth is also not to be missed. Coupled with 1990s’ chart-toppers playing in the background, this cheerful and upbeat bodega will guarantee you leave with a smile on your face.