Barcelona has a reputation for becoming one of the trendiest party cities in Europe, and not without reason. It may start a bit hesitantly in the evening with a meal and a few drinks after the siesta has ended (around 5 p.m.), but soon the streets fill up and around 11 p.m. life rages. Friday and Saturday nights are the most popular in the city, but there’s also partying and dancing during the rest of the week. Bars are usually open until 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., while clubs and discos do not close until 5 a.m. or 6 a.m.
Port Olímpic is particularly lively on summer nights, as is Port Vell, where the Maremagnum shopping mall bizarrely transforms into a wicked collage of cafes, bars, and nightclubs. In recent years, the so-called bars modernos with music and designer equipment have become increasingly popular with young, ultra-hip customers all over the city .
In Barcelona you can drink alcohol from the age of 16.
The nightlife will be cheaper with the Barcelona NightCard, with which over 18 or 21-year-olds have free entry to the 18 most popular clubs and discos in Barcelona for seven nights (more information at www.barcelonaturisme.com).
Barcelona’s reputation as a metropolis of art, architecture and design is confirmed annually with an enormous wealth of cultural offerings. And as if it needed some further confirmation, the entire city was awarded the prestigious Royal Gold Medal for Architecture by the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1999. Barcelona’s cultural scene is shaped by the fertile ideas of artistic light figures such as Antonio Gaudí, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró and Antoni Tàpies. Barcelona is also a stage for local Catalan traditions: every year dozens of festivals, religious celebrations and other special events are celebrated in the city. The most important are listed here.
Traditional festivities take place on April 23 in honor of Sant Jordi (St. George) and on June 24 in honor of Sant Joan (St. Johannes), with bonfires and fireworks illuminating the night. There are two major celebrations in early autumn: Diade Nacional de Catalunya (Catalan National Day) on September 11 and the spectacular Fiesta de La Mercé (Festival of Patron Saint of Barcelona) on September 24. The latter festival includes parades, traditional dances, sporting events and religious ceremonies. In the streets you can admire human pyramids known as castellers.
General information on events is available from the Palau de Congressos, Avinguda Maria Cristina 1 (Tel: (93) 233 23 72). The Grec-Barcelona Festival (Tel: (93) 318 85 99. Internet: www.grec.bcn.es), which takes place every summer from June to August, is the main event of the city’s cultural life. Theater, music and dance are presented at venues across the city, including the Teatre Grec open air auditorium on Montjuïc and the Convent de Sant Augustí. The annual Festival Internacional de Jazz, organized by The Project (Tel: (93) 481 70 40. Fax: (93) 481 70 41), takes place in October and November.
The annual Barcelona Poesia celebrates poetics for a week. Another big and annual literary festival is the Diada de Sant Jordi.
In the Guía del Ocio (available in newsagents and kiosks) you will find information on cultural and other events in the city as well as the addresses of the advance booking offices. A culture information point is located in Palau de la Virrena, La Rambla 99 (Tel: (93) 301 77 75) .Caxia Catalunya operates the central ticket office Entrada (Tel: (90) 210 12 12. Internet: www.telentrada.com ).
La Bodegueta del Xampú
In the xampanyerías (sparkling wine bars), Catalan sparkling wine (cava) is served, which is considered a specialty of the city. A recommended place for a cava is around La Bodegueta del Xampú, Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 702.
Address: Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 702, Barcelona
The Xampanyeria Casablanca, Carrer Bonavista 6, is a typical sparkling wine bar, in which the Catalan sparkling wine (cava) is served.
Address: Carrer Bonavista 6, Barcelona
El Xampanyet, Carrer Montcada 22, is a typical xampanyería (sparkling wine bar) in which sidra (cider) and tapas are served in a lively setting in addition to cava.
Address: Carrer Montcada 22, Barcelona
The Pastís bar, Carrer Santa Mònica, boasts that Picasso was once one of its regular guests.
Address: Carrer Santa Mònica, Barcelona
El Quatre Gats
El Quatre Gats, Carrer Montsió 3, is a modernist bar with good beer and live music from 9 p.m. Picasso was once one of the regular guests of this restaurant. The original menu, designed by the famous artist, can be admired in the Museu Picasso (see the main sights).
Address: Carrer Montsió 3, Barcelona
La Oveja Negra
La Oveja Negra, Sitges 5, is as popular with international backpackers as it is with local students.
Address: Sitges 5, Barcelona
The Marsella bar, Carrer de Sant Pau 65, is the place to indulge in an absenta, a close relative of absinthe.
Address: Carrer de Sant Pau 65, Barcelona
Torres de Avila
For the style-conscious connoisseur, the spectacular Torres de Avila, Avinguda Marqués de Comillas, Poble Espanyol on Montjuïc is definitely a must.
Address: Avinguda Marqués de Comillas, Barcelona
The always stylish Dry Martini, Carrer Aribau 162-165, attracts style-conscious connoisseurs.
Address: Carrer Aribau 162-165, Barcelona
Ideal cocktail bar
The Ideal Cocktail Bar, Carrer Aribau 89, is the ideal place for style-conscious connoisseurs.
Address: Carrer Aribau 89, Barcelona
Mas i mas
The stylish Mas i Mas, Carrer Maria Cubi 199, is the ideal place for connoisseurs.
Address: Carrer Maria Cubi 199, Barcelona
The Mirablau, Plaça Doctor Andreu (at the foot of the Tibidabo cog railway) is very romantic and offers a wonderful view of the city.
Address: Plaça Doctor Andreu, Barcelona
The popular Berimbau, Passeig del Born 17, serves good cocktails with Brazilian rhythms.
Address: Passeig del Born 17, Barcelona
Up and down
Barcelona’s ‘beautiful people’ frolic at Up And Down, Carrer Numància 179, the city’s most exclusive nightclub.
Address: Carrer Numància 179, Barcelona
Younger audiences meet for the latest music trends in bikini, Carrer Deu i Mata 105.
Address: Carrer Deu i Mata 105, Barcelona
The Moog Club, Arc del Teatre 3, in the Chinese quarter presents the best European techno on its staggered floors and has many international top DJs as guests.
Address: Arc del Teatre 3, Barcelona
Salsitas, Calle Nou de la Rambla 22, with a designer bar, restaurant and dance floor, has quickly developed into one of the hottest night spots since its opening in summer 2000.
Address: 22 Calle Nou de la Rambla, Barcelona
Torres de Avila
The trendy Torres de Ávila, Avinduga Marquès de Comillas, Poble Espanyol, has long been known for its trance techno discos that last all night on summer weekends.
Address: Avinduga Marquès de Comillas, Barcelona
A very popular open air club is La Terrazza, Avinguda Montanyans. The club is only open in summer.
Address: Avinguda Montanyans, Barcelona
Tablao Flamenco Cordobes
For flamenco, the Tablao Flamenco Cordobes, La Rambla 35 is recommended.
Address: La Rambla 35, Barcelona
For flamenco, we recommend Los Tarantos, Plaça Reial 17.
Address: Plaça Reial 17, Barcelona
Tablao del Carmen
For flamenco, the Tablao del Carmen, Arcs 9, Poble Espanyol is recommended.
Address: Arcs 9, Barcelona
La Paloma, Carrer Tigre 27, is a turn-of-the-century ballroom. The band plays a repertoire of Paso Doble, Tango, Salsa, Flamenco and other dances in front of an enthusiastic audience.
Address: Carrer Tigre 27, Barcelona
The Punto BCN, Carrer Muntaner 63, is a popular gay club.
Address: Carrer Muntaner 63, Barcelona
Palau Sant Jordi
Great rock and pop concerts by international stars take place in Palau Sant Jordi, Passeig Olímpic 5.
Address: Passeig Olímpic 5, Barcelona
The best medium-sized stage is the Zeleste, Carrer Almogàvers 122, in Poble Nou, where Spanish and international pop and rock groups perform.
Address: Carrer Almogàvers 122, Barcelona
Harlem Jazz Club
The Harlem Jazz Club, Carrer Comtesa de Sobradiel 8, has jazz and other live music every day until 4:00 a.m.
Address: Carrer Comtesa de Sobradiel 8, Barcelona
The Jamboree on the Plaça Reial has been an institution for good jazz, blues and funk for many years.
Address: Plaça Reial, Barcelona
Flamenco is played in Los Tarantos on Plaça Reial.
Address: Plaça Reial, Barcelona
Center Artesà Tradicionarius
Traditional folk music from Catalonia, Spain and all over Europe is presented Thursday and Friday evenings at the Center Artesà Tradicionarius, Travessera de Sant Antoni 6-8.
Address: Travessera de Sant Antoni 6-8, Barcelona
Major rock and pop concerts by international stars take place at Estadi Olímpic, Avinguda de l’Estadi 52.
Address: Avinguda de l’Estadi 52, Barcelona
Palau de la Musica Catalana
The most important concert building is the Palau de la Música Catalana, Carrer Sant Francesc de Paula 2, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most extravagant stages in the world. The Sunday matinees taking place here are an institution in Barcelona. The palace was designed by the modernist architect Domènech i Montaner as a model of the Catalan Renaissance.
Address: Carrer Sant Francesc de Paula 2, Barcelona
Telephone: (93) 295 72 00
Orquesta Sinfónica de Barcelona y Nacional de Catalunya
The Orquesta Sinfónica de Barcelona y Nacional de Catalunya is based at L’Auditori, Carrera Lepant 150.
Address: Carrera Lepant 150, Barcelona
Telephone: (93) 247 93 00
L’Espai de Dansa I Musica de la Generalitat de Catalunya (L’Espai)
Ballet and contemporary dance are offered by L’Espai de Dansa I Música de la Generalitat de Catalunya, or L’Espai for short, at Travessera de Gràcia 63.
Address: Travessera de Gràcia 63, Barcelona
Telephone: (93) 414 31 33
Catedral de la Seu
It is relaxed on Sunday morning in the square in front of the Catedral de la Seu, Plaça de la Seu, when the locals gather to attend the local dance – the sandrana – or to take part in it.
Address: Plaça de la Seu, Barcelona
Barcelona’s theater scene does not enjoy the international reputation that Madrid has, but what it may lack in literary authority makes up for in the visual and acoustic implementation of the performances. Barcelona’s vibrant and well-attended theater scene includes works by local and international authors. The most popular venues include the Teatre Lliure, Carrer Montseny 47, Gracia.
Address: Carrer Montseny 47, Barcelona
Telephone: (93) 218 92 51
One of the most popular venues is the Títre Tívoli, Carrer Casp 8.
Address: Carrer Casp 8, Barcelona
Telephone: (93) 412 20 63
One of the most popular venues is the Teatre Poliorama, La Rambla 115.
Address: La Rambla 115, Barcelona
Telephone: (93) 318 81 81
Teatre Nacional de Catalunya
The Teatre Nacional de Catalunya, Plaça de les Arts 1, offers a mixed program of dramas, music and dance.
Address: Plaça de les Arts 1, Barcelona
Telephone: (93) 306 57 00
El Mercat de les Flors
El Mercat de les Flors, Carrer Lleida 59, offers a mixed program of dramas, music and dance.
Address: Carrer Lleida 59, Barcelona
Telephone: (93) 426 18 75