The friends who launched Red Rocket Bar have also got a pintxos bar going in C/Blai: Es Xibiu benefits by having a Mallorcan in co-owner Bel, as well as a selection of pintxos (similar to tapas, mounted on small pieces of bread) with an unbeatable value for money and a dish of the day. Be sure to try the Mallorcan speciality drink, palo amb sifó. Saturdays at lunchtime mean vermouth hour with music spun by the best rock 'n' soul DJs on the national scene.
Some people will never get over the fact that Barcelona has three cold days a year. If you’re one of those people, then head straight to Barramon. Have a glass of wine, a dish of the house crinkly fried potatoes and imagine that you’re in the Canaries. The quiet intimacy of the tables, the black-and-white movie stills and the muted bar lights will multiply your nostalgia for palm trees tenfold. Also has a terrace on Carrer Blai.
This bar belongs to the Slow Food movement – they use local, sustainable produce to make the dishes for a menu that is quite short but more than sufficient to satisfy hungry bellies. Their bio-patatas bravas are rightly renowned. As is the outdoor terrace, just in front of the Montjuïc air-raid shelter.
Don’t be suspicious of beautiful places: The interior decor at Federica is delightfully vintage (1970s Formica and plastic), while it serves such delicacies as dried tomato mousse and marinated eggplant, together with other Italian specialities fused with Argentine cuisine. Good list of wines and cocktails.
I don’t like to go against a puppeteer and a stagehand, because they are the kind of people who pulls the strings. If a couple like this owns the Tribal bar, and when they say that they prepare the best mojitos and caipirinhas of Poble Sec, I shut up my mouth, believe them and drink three in a row. While swallowing, I take a look to the puppets hanging everywhere, the imported beers and tables for couples who still have something to say each other. Okay, you've won; I'm a puppet in your hands!
La Saltó is a pioneering venue that has helped to turn Poble Sec into one of the liveliest districts in the city. And even though their opening hours are more night-time bar than local shop, neighbours often drop by in the evening to fill up their jugs of wine from the barrels. But the wine is not Bodega Saltó’s main attraction. There are not many places as picturesque as this in Barcelona. Renovated by designer Steve Forster in 2002, the bar operates as a small, quirky exhibition with all kinds of weird and wonderful things – antiques, stuffed tigers or dolls drinking from porrones.
Named for the song by the Sonics, Psycho is a rock and roll bar that ticks all the boxes: red bar and walls, posters of The Who, The Dead Boys and Mystery Train; stickers of Black Flag, Shaft, Route 66, 13th Floor Elevators, Motorhead and Misfits; and a small back room where you can dance and sweat alongside the excellent sound system.Psycho's clientele is varied, but tattoos and the '50s look abound, with an age range from late-20s to early-40s. The big draw is Psycho's proximity to Apollo, and as it's open daily, it's the perfect place for a pre- or post-concert drink. You might even end up rubbing elbows with some of your favourite band members, as has been the case with Neurosis, Deer Tick and Swing Kids, who have all knocked back a drink or two in Psycho.
The war story goes something like this: the city government, in an effort to discourage private entities from getting into debt in the name of culture, prevents live music from playing the prominent role in Barcelona nightlife that local groups (and music lovers) are dying for, by laying down increasingly strict regulations. One of the few places that once gave life to the city, El Clandestino – which in little more than a year and a half had become one of the epicentres of local music – was dismantled.Gràcia's Roxanne is the most recent victim, and we offer our condolences and our rage. This fight is fierce and we will not surrender. We are like weeds: no matter how much you pull us up by our roots, we will continue sprouting up through every crack and crevice. We will win because we’ve got nothing to lose. They do: the next election.The staff of El Clandestino – Dani, Jorge, Ghenadie and Berta – have come back with El Rufián, a Poble-sec locale specialising in beers, vermouth, and aperetifs. The ingredients are simple: a cosy spot with modest aesthetics, excellent music, a friendly atmosphere and premium drinks – dark Moritz (not Epidur) from the barrel, La Secuita vermouth, olives and anchovies from L’Escala, tomatoes preserved in pesto from Navarra …Saturdays and Sundays are a party: go in for some vermouth and you’ll find a great place to meet kindred spirits spending the afternoon in good company. Conversation is flowing and energetic, the house beer – a mix of pale and