Looking for a great night out in Barcelona? It’s not called BARcelona for nothing. This beautiful city has an array of watering holes from sophisticated wine bars and pre-club venues, to popular sports bars and live music settings. Here’s our pick of favourite expat bars in Barcelona.
CocoVail Beer Hall
Carrer d’Aragó, 284, 08009 Barcelona
+34 937 82 24 79
The first Americana-style craft beer hall in the city. Locals Andrés and Toni provide 24 local craft beers along with American style bar foods (chicken wings & burgers and also Hawaiian Poke Bowls). Fun and lively with big screens, good music, and table games. There are also weekly promotional nights with discounts and offers to whet your appetite.
Passeig de Colón, 8, 08002 Barcelona
+34 61 832 65 71
A lively bar serving its namesake Chupitos (shots), this rowdy, fun place features special performances by the bartenders whilst you choose from one of the many intriguingly named shots. It’s packed every night with thirsty locals and internationals alike who come for the show, trying not to be set alight or have their boss witness their antics.
Dry Martini Bar
Carrer d’Aribau, 162-166, 08036 Barcelona
+34 93 217 50 72
This classy mixology masterpiece with waiters dressed in white tuxedos, serving the Bond style “shaken but not stirred dry martini” attracts a slightly older, well dressed clientele who come to sample their sparkling wines and cocktails. With plush green leather couches and mahogany walls, you’re sure to enjoy the finery of a more sophisticated venue.
Princesa 23 Beach Bar
Platja de la Barceloneta, Barcelona
+34 61 079 46 98
With a shaded veranda, this fun drinks shack provides the sun worshipper with welcome shade and a cool sea breeze so they can enjoy a relaxing drink on the beach. It has a great international crowd of beach goers who enjoy both a refreshing fresh fruit juice with friends during the day as well as listening to the uplifting beats in the evening with a delicious cocktail or two.
Plaça de Sant Just, 4B, 08002 Barcelona
Tel. +34 932 68 10 22
Set on a quiet plaza behind the Cathedral, Bliss is the perfect spot for heart-to-heart chats or quiet reading. Intimate and casual, the café is made of two rooms. One is full of mismatched (but oh-so-inviting) furniture, while the other looks like a traditional coffee shop. There are magazines lying about and the menu includes everything from coffees and shakes to pastries and sandwiches to cocktails and mixed drinks. The focus is on a healthy food and beverage experience.
Cafè de l’Òpera
La Rambla, 74, 08002 Barcelona
Tel. +34 933 17 75 85
Constantly crowded and smoky, the Café de la Ópera has been a Barcelona institution since 1890. The chandeliers and marble steps are vestiges of the days when it was an upscale meeting place for opera-goers; though even now the odd opera fan may dash in for a pre-show coffee, these days the house specialties are humble hot chocolate and churros. Locals and tourists fill most of this two-storied café, but it’s also a popular meeting point for groups of expats.
Carrer de Torrijos, 51, 08012 Barcelona
Tel. +34 932 18 69 66
Just beside an original version movie theatre in Gràcia, the Café Salambo attracts a lot of the expats who head out to see films from home in English (or German or Japanese, or whatever the film’s language may be). The café itself serves a full restaurant and dinner, and between mealtimes it’s a comfortably casual place for a coffee and some conversation. The two-story café is spacious with all-wood décor and a sophisticated look.
Plaça de Catalunya, 1-4, 08002 Barcelona
Tel. +34 933 17 91 53
For decades, this spot just off Plaça Catalunya has been the meeting point for Barcelonéses of all ages, professions and nationalities. At most any time of the day or night (and no matter what the weather), the outdoor tables here are full to overflowing with coffees and coke bottles. Just beyond the borders of the café an equally large number of people are milling around, probably just waiting to meet up with a friend. The food here (mostly sandwiches) is not that good, and prices are steep due to the café’s prime location. Nevertheless, you can’t say that you’re a true Barcelona resident until you meet up with someone at Café Zurich.
Carrer d’Avinyó, 25, 08002 Barcelona
+34 936 76 03 15
The young and hip of the Barri Gótic descend on this café in the early evening, when its little square tables fill with international artists, students and the sales clerks that work in the trendy shops of the neighbourhood. During mealtimes, Venus serves light fare (the menu features a dozen different salads); coffee and hard drinks are served up the rest of the day. Grab a newspaper or magazine and while away the time watching the world go by behind Venus’ big picture windows.
Plaça Reial, 3, 08002 Barcelona
+34 933 02 11 63
Most of the clientele heads outside to sit overlooking the bustling Plaça Reial, where nocturnal activity never stops and is bound to give you an eyeful. This is a charming bar that’s earned the reputation as an ideal meeting point. Both locals and foreigners congregate here after sundown, drawn by the lively atmosphere and the friendly service. The bar doubles also hosts occasional art exhibits and discussion groups.
Carrer de Joaquín Costa, 43, 08001 Barcelona
+34 933 17 81 30
Books ranging from Catalan classics to random titles like “Underwater Indonesia” are scattered about this cosy café and cocktail bar. The back wall is lined with couches, and it’s here foreign students come to study and writer types sit with their notes. The space doubles as an art gallery — all the paintings on the walls are for sale — and at night the lights are dimmed, the music is pumped up and the whole thing becomes a chic cocktail bar. If all that isn’t enough to stimulate, head to the café’s tiny bookshop next door, which has a smattering of English titles.
Carrer de Mallorca, 204, 08036 Barcelona
+34 934 51 50 43
Part pub, part country bar and part social club, the Philharmonic draws all sorts with its friendly attitude and varied calendar of events and theme nights. More than one international group uses this bar in L’Eixample as an unofficial clubhouse. Other expats are drawn by the international sports shown on TV and activities like the Thursday night pub quiz. There are other special nights too — every Tuesday night line dancers take over the floor, while Mondays are dedicated to Swing dancing and weekend nights are for live jazz concerts. Yet even with all that on the plate, the Philharmonic’s is most popular for its Sunday morning, English-style breakfast. You won’t need to eat for the rest of the day.
Carrer d’Aribau, 167, 08036 Barcelona
+34 935 32 15 89
This bustling, friendly bar (not open until 8pm, closed Mon) follows in the footsteps of a cherished Milan tradition that’s somewhat like Italian tapas; you order a drink (the red wines are great) and then get to nibble for free on the cheese, pizza bites, or other snacks laid out on the bar. The atmosphere is a bit chaotic, but great fun. Wednesday nights the American Society has an informal meeting here, and you’re sure to run into lots of English-speaking expats from all over the world.