Restaurants El Raval
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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©Irene Fernandez

Bar 68 has been immersed in the depths of the Raval for years now, but if you've never been there or it's been a while since you've stopped in, head over there now that it's had a facelift and reinvented itself. Seriously, get over there, because it's not just a good bar, but has become the most innovative and stimulating cocktail bar in the Old City. Bam! Just like that, Barcelona has given birth to a new temple.

The recycled aesthetic of the space fits like a silk corset on the raggedy silhouette of the neighbourhood. You'll feel comfortable as soon as you walk in, which you'll appreciate, because you're going to need all five of your senses in 68 in order to fully enjoy the first-class drinking and eating experience.

At the bar itself they work some great magic with imaginative, modern and substantial cocktails. Slightly reinterpreted classics live happily alongside thrilling signature potions – works of alcohol engineering polished with loads of inspiration. Best of all is that if you ask for suggestions, they'll tell you what snack or signature dish is best suited for the drink you've ordered (or vice versa) – they're masters of cocktail and food pairing. And the food menu is just as ace as the spirits. I try razor clams that are viole(n)t with cherry, ginger and lemon to go with the Japan Airlines, a deluxe cocktail with echoes of the Far East. The first tear of joy streams down my smiling face. Next they bring me a corvina ceviche that would get a zombie excited and they serve it with a radical reinterpretation of Negroni with a Mexican accent. I'm delirious. The second tear falls.

I'm witness to a new and attractive idea where cocktail and food are the same. Bar 68 in its new incarnation is a beacon of quality in the dark waters of C/Sant Pau. It's my new favourite cocktail bar. If it were at number 69 it would just be too perfect to bear.

Venue name: 68
Address: Sant Pau, 68
Opening hours: Mon-Thu 9pm-2.30am; Sat, Sun 9pm-3am; Sun 9pm-2.30am
Transport: Liceu (M: L3), Sant Antoni (M: L2)
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