The best live music venues in Barcelona
The city's best places to catch a gig
Sala Apolo, one of Barcelona's most popular clubs, is a 1940s dancehall, with all that implies for atmosphere (good) and acoustics (bad). Live acts range from Toots & the Maytals to Killing Joke, but note that buying tickets for the band doesn't include admission to the club night: you'll need to re-enter for that, and pay an extra charge. On Wednesdays, the DJs offer African and Latin rhythms; on Thursdays, it's funk, Brazilian, hip hop and reggae; and Fridays and Saturdays are an extravaganza of bleeping electronica.
This monstrous club's five distinct spaces form the night-time playground of seemingly all young Barcelona. There's indie rock in Razz Club, tech-house in The Loft, techno pop in Lolita, electro pop in the Pop Bar and electro rock in the Rex Room. Live acts run from Arctic Monkeys to Banarama. The price of admission will usually get you into all five rooms (no matter what's on in each), though the gigs are normally ticketed separately.
Sidecar still has all the ballsy attitude of the spit 'n' sawdust rock club that it used to be. Its programming, which includes breakbeat, indie, electro and live shows, has changed a bit, but continues to pack in the local indie kids and Interrailers to its bare-bricked, barrel-vaulted basement.
Every night, the cave-like Jamboree hosts jazz, Latin or blues gigs by mainly Spanish groups - on Mondays, in particular, the outrageously popular WTF jazz jam session is crammed with a young local crowd. Upstairs, slicker sister venue Los Tarantos stages flamenco performances, then joins forces with Jamboree to become one fun, cheesy club later on in the evening. You'll need to leave the venue and pay again, but admission serves for both spaces.
This lovingly renovated old music hall, garnished with chandeliers and classical friezes, is a mainstay on the live music scene and is one classy joint. In between visits from international artists and benefit concerts for local causes, you'll find nightly residencies: blues on Mondays, Dixieland jazz on Tuesdays, disco on Wednesdays, pop-rock on Thursdays, soul on Fridays and vintage and Spanish rock on weekends.
The latest from Berlin's minimal electro scene reaches Barcelona via this uptown concert hall. After the live shows by local rock stars or international indie success stories, a packed and music-loving crowd throbs to sophisticated electronica and its bizarre attendant visuals. Upstairs, in the Red Room, DJs playing indie pop rock provide an alternative to the pounding beats of the main room.
Loved by habitués of the Gràcia arts scene, this low-key bar and performance venue is filled to bursting with neighbourhood cutie pies in cool T-shirts who just really adore live poetry. Events change nightly, running from live music to film screenings, art openings and readings, and programming focuses mostly on local talents. On concert nights arrive early for an 'at-least-I'm-not-standing' folding chair.
Bikini lost some muscle in recent years, with the big-name stars it once booked replaced by little-knowns and ageing rockers. Gigs are staged with the professional vigour of gold-ticket shows, and the club nights that follow are legendary. Divide your time between the rooms playing hip hop, pop, lounge or Latin sounds.