The Gothic Quarter is the heart of old Barcelona, home to some of the most beautiful architecture in the city and narrow backstreets that offer an ideal backdrop for getting lost and living it up in true Catalan spirit. While the area has become the centre of Barcelona’s tourist trade in recent years, there are still plenty of venues which have maintained an authentic vibe. Here are some of the best places to sit back and relax with a cocktail next time you’re in the Gothic Quarter.
If for you kitsch is more of a compliment than an insult then you’ll love this quirky cocktail bar. Sor Rita prides itself on its preference for leopard prints, retro dolls and ludicrously high heels – they even organise a yearly high-heel race. The décor is in many ways an homage to the films of Pedro Almodóvar and his many iconic female characters, and the music takes you back to the eighties and nineties – aka the height of La Movida. Unsurprisingly their cocktail list boasts some retro classics and their Piña Colada will get you in the mood for dancing in no time at all.
Located on one the most famous squares in Barcelona, the Plaça Reial, Ocaña is a stylish bar and eatery that throws a good party. The venue is relatively large by Barcelona standards – stretching across two floors – and includes an intimate downstairs area where the cocktail magic really takes place, known as the Apotheke. Barman Mario Greenfield made a name for himself in Berlin’s Mitte district and has now brought his taste for oriental-inspired cocktails to Ocaña. Try the Arabic Coffee for an after-dinner drink with a sweet finish and a refreshing alternative to the espresso martini.
Located on a quiet back street of the Gothic Quarter, Ginger is the cocktail bar equivalent of a 1930s-era mobster’s girlfriend: sassy, stylish and with a mischievous sparkle in her eye. The venue has a retro feel which comes through in the cozy leather armchairs and vintage furniture, giving it character. In addition to cocktails the bar also stocks an extensive list of local wines and the kitchen serves a selection of creative tapas. To really join in the festive, retro atmosphere, order a classic cocktail such as the Gimlet – a simple mix of gin, lime juice and soda which packs a refreshing punch.
Time for a drink | Courtesy of Milans Cocktail Bar
This is a no-fuss, no-frills cocktail bar which prides itself on its friendly service, welcoming attitude and laid-back atmosphere. Don’t think for one second that this means they’ve compromised on the quality of the drinks – the bar staff at Milans Cocktail Bar are serious about their mixology. The cocktail of the night is a bargain at just €6 while the extensive range of gin stocked behind the bar is genuinely impressive. Make the most of this chance to try a new gin and ask the staff for a recommendation – the Brockman’s gin is a popular choice.
Located just behind the Marina Port Vell, Guru BCN is a contemporary cocktail bar and lounge which serves a selection of international and local dishes alongside its extensive choice of classic and house cocktails. The atmosphere is decidedly cosmopolitan and attracts a mixed crowd of locals and tourists who come here to socialise. Get out of your comfort zone and try the ‘Dirty & Fishy Vodka Martini’ for something really different – a vodka martini garnished with an anchovy and olive for extra saltiness and a maritime twist.
Technically located on the Raval side of Las Ramblas, Boadas is too iconic of a cocktail venue to escape this list. Having served its first drink back in 1933, this is allegedly the first cocktail bar to open in the city and today has managed to retain much of its old-world charm. Unlike most other places, the barmen here are not trendy twenty-somethings but experienced professionals who can tell a tale or two about the Barcelona of years gone by. The cocktails here stand out for their technical precision and sophistication; ask the barman for any of the great classics – the dirty martini, Singapore sling and whiskey sour are particularly noteworthy – and they will prepare it off-hand as easily as they would make a cup of tea.