Berta, Sergi and Jordina have been small business owners for years in the Raval, and they've worked together to cultivate a new business-neighbourhood relationship model based on the internet, sustainability and respect for the neighbours. So it was great news when they joined forces to open La Monroe, the bar of the Filmoteca cinema, because they run it with the same love for and awareness of their surroundings as they do their separate businesses. The cobblestones in the square outside are also the floor in La Monroe, there's a spacious terrace with birdcages to help the ivy grow, and small aluminium tables painted in swimming-pool green and coral red. La Monroe is an all-terrain restaurant, where you can spend a pocketful of change and have a coffee or a piece of fabulous home-made cake, or have dinner for around €25 like civilised members of society. You might feel so welcome you'll want to stay there all day. Ducking in and out for a film or two at the Filmo, of course.
The Polaroid Bar is a shrine to the 1980s, paying tribute to those snapshots with the little white frame. Vinyl, VHS tapes and those famous cameras cover the dimly lit walls. The bar area boasts all the colour, with fluorescent lamps that absorb all the nostalgia and use it to make pendants. The crowd rushes in early, to get the night started, and to take advantage of the 1980s-priced beer, at just a euro for a glass. And of course the cocktails bear names like Miyagi, Delorean and Sarah Connor.
This charming café with a French name is not what it seems. It has a privileged location in the Eixample, skipping distance from the Cines Aribau. You cross the threshold into the usual room decorated with the images of classic Hollywood divas: Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Rita Hayworth ... But they also do full meals for around at prices around €10 euros, and they make quite the refreshing cocktail. It's also not just a place for the quiet, glamorous classics: Tarentino fans will find 'Pulp Fiction' and 'Reservoir Dogs' have their own little corner where they can be worshipped. And don't forget to try the coffee: it's the makings of your own great love story.
Who can forget the film this diner takes its name from, with Dustin Hoffman in drag? We have Hollywood to thank for that, as well as for showing us their big-screen version of an authentic American diner, something this Barcelona-based Tootsie aspires to. Here the lengthy menu of burgers and sandwiches conjure big American appetites and all-American film, but with a taste of the local fare as well: order a Burt Lancaster burger with tartar sauce and a tapa of pig snout or 'lacón' on the side.
Bar Filmax is its own scene. Black-and-white photos of Liz Taylor, Antonio Banderas and Cameron Diaz are stuck to the glass of the front door. Propped up at the bar are men who seek style in the shape of the short-brimmed hats of their grandsons, while in a corner mothers and daughters celebrate a birthday. A woman in the middle of the bar holds up two lottery tickets and announces she'll share her winnings with whoever loves her tonight. Among the cropped photos of Bollywood beauties, Montgomery Clift and Rita Hayworth reign with their magnificence and leave the inferior beings out in the street to their dance of the lonely hearts.
The mystery within the walls of Can Josep, behind a bog-standard aluminium door in the Eixample is the kind of Dionysian celebrations. According to its calling card, Can Josep serves up good food. Piquillo peppers stuffed with brandade, tinned snails, chorizo in cider, and a long wine list. Keeping you company as you wine and dine are the likes of velvet-clad and darkly lipsticked Ava Gardner, Anita Ekberg, Kim Novak and Sophia Loren.