Cassette Bar

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Critics' choice
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El Raval

An ancient television emits a sinister ominous test pattern ad eternum. To the left sits a radio-casette player that would make Vanilla Ice tremble. At the bar, the paintings are like cave art: a robot, a ribbon in honour of the bar's name and a rabbit are among the hieroglyphics. This bar of tiny straight lines might sound like an asylum, but it's won over today's modern crowd thanks to a singular design, a bold selection of music ranging from indie to experimental electronic, and an indecipherable passion for small plastic objects that our parents might have bought at petrol stations. If you start seeing strange things, don't blame those carefully prepared gin & tonics with a bit of cucumber, lemon, ginger or lime.

Bear in mind that Cassette Bar does have its share of characters. I swear on MC Hammer's trousers that the big guy in the hat on a neighbouring stool was spying on me through his Etch A Sketch... The truth is that this space has got something no other bar has even come close: it has managed to strike a perfect balance between a retro soul and a futuristic spirit. The combination works because instead of trying to reach the masses and becoming a cliché of the cool scene, it focuses on small details that leave a pleasant aftertaste.

And I'm not just talking about the magnificent carved out space at the back, with armchairs and little tables isolated from reality where you do what strikes your fancy, but rather the sparks of genius such as the floor lamp literally covered in cassette tapes. You're not likely to find anything like that in any uptown concept lighting shop.

Venue name: Cassette Bar
Address: Est, 11
El Raval
Opening hours: Daily 7pm-3am
Transport: Drassanes (M: L3)
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