Satan is in the chapel. No, that’s not the name of some Slayer song. Satan's Coffee Co. and Stefano Colombo (of Xemei fame) co-manage the café-bar at La Central bookshop, in the gardens at Casa de la Misericordia (itself a former orphanage). This outdoor space now open to all of Barcelona was once part of the home of a priest that was closed for decades following his death.
And this is not just any run-of-the-mill outdoor café – the self-service Bar de La Central boasts an interior garden divided into two parts. One is the main patio, a Gothic fantasy complete with palm trees, gnarled trunks and orange trees, which the owners found in quite a state, covered in dirt and weeds, that’s now paved with cobblestones and century-old tiles. The other part is a smaller patio bordering the Hermanitas de la Caridad nun boarding school. The work is recent but looks a hundred years old, in a good way. Marcos Bartolomé, from Satan's, explains, ‘This was the house of the priest, who died years ago... We found it in chaos.’ This unique place promises tranquility just a minute away from La Rambla, where a tourist or local visiting the bookshop can get a coffee, a sandwich or a good glass of wine from 9am to 10pm. It’s accessible from C/Elisabets or from the gastronomy section of La Central.
Satan’s is in charge of breakfast every morning, and the lunch menu consists of sandwiches, salads, soups and a dish of the day. Especially noteworthy are the roast beef sandwiches, pickled/fermented treats and small tapas, plus they’ve got a short but select menu of coffees, wines and vermouths. It’s all quality food and drink at an affordable price. For around a tenner, you can get an excellent cream of cauliflower with toasted garlic, and an exquisite sandwich of crumbled cod and guacamole, with buttery French-style read. And for about €15, you can share a bottle of natural wine in natural surroundings. The space is calm, and they don’t seem to be trying to pull people in off the street to mess with that.
The third part in the story is the ice cream shop Natas, where you can get artisan ice cream year-round, including boozy ones, and combinations of ice cream and sweets inspired by classic pastries. The most popular items on the menu, though, are the floats: ice cream floating in soft drinks or drinks with alcohol. Natas is not a classic Italian ice cream parlour, but rather a pastry chef’s idea of haute cuisine ice cream.