The best clubs in Barcelona
Where do the cool kids go clubbing in Barcelona? We take a look at the 10 best nightspots and their wildlife
Mon Jul 22 2013
We have taken the temperature of Barcelona's nightlife to find the ten hottest clubs: places that bring together the best music and the liveliest scene so you'll head home late, happy and exhausted.
The Top 10 in BCN
The Apolo brings you outstanding electronica hand-picked by its gurus DJ Fra, William Dafoe and Kosmos. Downstairs, the best pop-rock club in Barcelona with DJs Coco, Graham and Pegatas doing what they know best: living it up with loud guitars. Nitsa is like the Guardiola Barça of nightclubs; the world's finest have helmed its decks and continue to do so. Now that the team turns 20, it's time for a celebration, although in my case that amounts to having a beer. I already burned through my fair share of nights in the legendary 90s. It's time to make way for the next generation. Fridays, Saturdays and nights before public holidays, 1am to 6am.
- Nou de la Rambla, 113, Poble-sec, 08004
Garage, afrobeat, jazz, funk, soul, disco, boogaloo and whatever else the gods of groove decide to bless us with. Marula Café is so real it hurts. No other local club comes close to playing it old-school-style like this elegant space buried deep inside the rank entrails of the Gothic Quarter. It boasts a simply impeccable concert programme for vinyl connoisseurs. And the same goes for their DJ sessions: every weekend features an explosion of soulful, funky grooves with vintage flavour. Coltrane, Hayes, Puente, Mayfield...
- Escudellers, 49, Gòtic, 08002
Along with Nitsa, Loft puts on the most innovative and international electronic music sessions. It is an obligatory stop for big names and one of the 'technoid' temples with the most loyal following. If you're a local, the Razz doesn't need an introduction: we've all walked in and staggered back out at one time or another; the danceable pop-rock hits that come flying off the decks are completely irresistible. Another defining quality of the Razz is that it makes anyone over the age of thirty feel like a decrepit mummy lumbering about a college party. Tons of young people and more acne on the dance floor than you'll see in a teen comedy.
- Almogàvers, 122, Sant Martí, 08018
Cabaret Berlin is a glam affair and probably not the best place to pull the opposite sex. The party getting cooked up at the former Bailèn 22 (for teenagers and visitors who have no idea what I'm talking about, lets just say it was a nightclub that showed a lot of skin) is one of the wildest, most exhilarating and exhausting in all of Barcelona. A blowout of the highest calibre, populated by young, fashionable crowds scented in Jean Paul Gaultier. Every two weeks/once a month, it hosts the Copacabana party, widely touted as 'the place to be'. And watch out for the great, big DJ Arnau Obiols: he'll send you home wide awake with a smile on your face – guaranteed.
- Bailèn, 22, Eixample Dret
- Critics choice
Concerts by rock bands more underground than the metro. Down-and-dirty sessions with screaming guitars by the city's best DJs every night of the week. Sidecar is the devil that looks after its own, the best option for turning one of those stupid nights out into a real party. One of those nights when you've decided to go out on a Tuesday. When you've had seven drinks and smoked something herbal on Plaça Reial. When you really need to find a club that's seriously kicking to good music. The solution? Sidecar. How does the whole thing end? In bed with a girl covered in piercings and a tattoo on your butt that reads, "the best night of my life".
- Pl. Reial, 7, Ciutat Vella, 08002
Hot and sticky in summer, haven of rock'n'roll sweat and raucous crowds, Magic is a rock club even Keith would approve of. The place has enough attitude to blast through the hipster flavour of the Born. Home to tattoos and leather jackets since the first Ice Age, it specialises in satisfying the needs and wants of the anti-techno sister- and brotherhood. I know, you can hear Iggy Pop lots of places, but nowhere will his music have the same bitter aftertaste of beer, bourbon, sweat and dirty sex as in this delicious inferno.
- Passeig Picasso, 40, Born-Ribera, 08003
- Critics choice
The club has had to put up a good fight against the biggest (Nitsa) and the big (Loft) to snag a slice of the techno pie. The club's location in an upscale area – where the Nitsa was in '94 – doesn't help either. Despite it all, BeCool has managed to hold on to the third spot in organising quality electronica sessions and live gigs. The programming is underground, but first-rate, enough to lure even the pickiest dance music lovers. It's the perfect excuse to go dancing in a neighbourhood immune to beer-selling street vendors and pickpockets. Thursdays through Saturdays, 1am to 6am.
- Pl. Joan Llongueras, 5, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, 08021
It was one of the first clubs in Barcelona to unite the open air and house music. The city might be full of them now, but eighteen years later, the club is still the touchstone of its kind. Located in the Poble Espanyol, this vast, Ibiza-flavoured terrace is a grand display of sculpted bodies, jaunty cleavage, marble buttocks, swirling pheromones and frisky foreigners. Little clothing is advised, but don't dress like you're going to the pool. Swimsuit and flip-flops will leave you stranded at the door.
- Av. Marqués de Comillas, s/n, Sants-Montjuïc
Despite its age, the Jamboree is still the best hip-hop and R'n'B club in Barcelona. Thursdays are a must for anyone seeking the latest and best of the two genres, thanks to the BCN Or Die sessions with Flavio Rodríguez. Weekends call for a pilgrimage to see DJ Yoda, one of the greats when it comes to urban sounds. Two other things: Tarantos hosts sessions with more of a dance feel – I recommend Wednesdays with Bulma Beat – and trainers and caps are de rigueur if you want to blend in.
- Pl. Reial, 17, Ciutat Vella, 08002
Of all the places to pull on the seafront promenade, CDLC is home to the finest DNA. Flirtation reigns supreme at this beachfront oasis where the summer's hottest nights unfold. A hyper-tanned international crowd splurges to house beats, crowding onto the terrace to grab some air, and, if lucky, fooling around on the sand with someone equally as attractive. Tuesdays are a good night: statuesque girls, R'n'B and hip-hop with Flavio Rodríguez and Yoda at the decks. Limited budgets best abstain: there are more 500 euro notes lounging on the sofa beds than you'll find in a corrupt politician's pocket.
- Pg. Marítim, 32, Ciutat Vella, 08003
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