From clandestine bars hidden down the back alleys of El Born to trendy cocktail joints in Gràcia and historic bars in the Gothic Quarter, Barcelona is one of Europe’s great nightlife capitals, with a bar for every occasion.
Cocktail Bar, Snacks
One of the classic El Born nightspots, Míramelindo has been around for years, and is still as popular today. It has a dimly lit interior, dark wood-clad walls and wicker furniture. They also serve excellent cocktails – the mojitos are among the best in the city, finding the perfect balance between zingy lime and fresh mint. Go on Wednesday nights for live Cuban salsa and Latin jazz nights – an amazing soundtrack for partying the night away.
By day, Milk is an incredibly popular brunch spot with queues down the street, and by night it turns into one of the city’s liveliest cocktail bars. This stylish little bar feels like a party in someone’s living room, with floral-patterned wallpaper, lots of comfy cushions and elegant brass lamps. They serve quality cocktails including the classics, various types of mojitos, and those made with Cava. Try the Milk specials, including the milk martini and the milk amaretto sour.
Restaurant, Bar, Spanish, European, Mediterranean, $$$
Located in the Raval district, Milk’s bigger sister, Marmalade not only offers an extensive cocktail selection, but also an elegant space in which to party. With a nod to the 1950s decor of New York and Havana, it’s split into four different areas, and features a handcrafted billiard table, cosy sink-down sofas, beautiful copper-clad walls and a chrome Art Deco bar. The bartenders serve everything from quintessential mojitos and cosmopolitans, to the creative jalapeño superstar, Diavoletta, and a berry caipirinha. The drinks are also surprisingly affordable compared to many others in the city.
Located in the lively area between the old port and the Rambla, close to Carrer Ample, Las Cuevas de Los Rajahs is a great option for a night out. Step into the cave-like, low-lit bar with drippy-looking walls and faux stalactites hanging from the bar and ceiling. They serve an excellent range of tasty cocktails with inventive names such as Smoky Pancho Villa, Gangster No.1 and Children of the Popcorn. When you’re ready to keep your night going, head downstairs to the sports bar for events such as comedy nights, open mic nights and live music.
Hidden down the maze-like backstreets of El Born, finding Rubí feels like stumbling across a secret club. Walk in from the crowded street into a vibrant space, bathed in red light. The bar has ambient backlighting, and the number of gins on offer are almost too many to count. They also serve international beers and tapas bites, in case you get peckish.
Owned by DJ Fred Guzzo, this old-school set up is a restaurant, cocktail bar and club all rolled into one. It’s known for its music and its art, with live jazz and Brazilian nights to blues concerts, and DJ sets by some of the best in the city. It also hosts several art events such as live painting by Barcelona’s street artists. Expect classic cocktails including negronis and old fashioneds, and contemporary inventions including a basil cocktail and a raspberry collins.
One of Gràcia‘s most happening bars, Châtelet is so popular you might have to fight for table space when it really gets going after midnight. It has kitsch colourful decor and a pumping soundtrack of house music. There’s a quality selection of drinks, as well as tapas, and they specialise in Aperol spritz cocktails.
If you’re looking for classic party tunes and lots of dancing, then head to Moeem, a lively gay bar located in the Eixample Esquerra neighbourhood, sometimes referred to as Gayxample. Decorated with brightly coloured murals, this bar is a great place to meet for drinks or for dancing the night away to their range of pop, dance and R&B tracks.
La Fianna might have moved to a new location within El Born, but it’s still the same atmosphere as its previous digs – picture high elegant sofas covered in plush red velvet, bare stone walls and grand wrought-iron chandeliers. They serve a great range of tapas to start the night (with a large selection of vegetarian options) and a traditional cocktail menu for later.
The terrace of the Hotel Pulitzer is a great space to party al fresco, especially during the summer months. Drink and dance among the leafy plants and enjoy DJ sets by some of Barcelona’s best clubs every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, from May to October. There are also live music sessions every Wednesday, as well as vermouth and DJ sets on weekend afternoons. In fact, whatever day of the week you come, you’re guaranteed a good time. Plus, with food options by accomplished chef Olly Melhuish, you’ll have some of the most high-end snacks to choose from to keep your night going. Options include black truffle croquetas, decadent patatas bravas, and the juiciest burgers offered on any hotel terrace in the city.
This trendy late-night bar is located in the heart of the Raval district, close to the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA). It’s popular with the skaters who love to hang out in the big concrete forecourt and offers chill vibes, a creative selection of beers and even tastier burgers. In this lively atmosphere, expect loud music and cult ’90s films playing on the overhead projector.