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Tablao de Carmen
Photograph: Maria Dias

The 8 best places to see flamenco in Barcelona

Looking to explore Barcelona’s flamenco scene? These are the bars, restaurants, tablaos and festivals that do it best

By Jan Fleischer
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Flamenco in Barcelona? Why, yes, thank you. Though you may have heard that flamenco shows in Barcelona simply can’t be authentic because flamenco is from the south of Spain, you may be surprised to find out that the genre’s roots in Barcelona and Catalonia go back nearly two centuries. The biggest names in flamenco, including the great dancer Carmen Amaya, singers and guitarists El Pescaílla, Peret and Gato Pérez, the fathers of Spanish rumba, and many others, roamed this city’s streets and squares, and transformed them into places with a rich (and still thriving) flamenco scene.

Local cantaors (flamenco singers) like Miguel Poveda play to sell-out crowds at the Palau de la Música Catalana and smaller venues such as Luz de Gas, as do singers and guitarists from the south such as Paco de Lucía, Diego de Cigala and Vicente Amigo. Dancers, including Rafael Amargo and Sara Baras, appear at the Liceu. And prestigious festivals such as De Cajón! have helped keep Barcelona at the forefront of the international flamenco scene. Whether you like your shows with a drink, tapas or a full meal, we’ve rounded up the very best places to see flamenco in Barcelona – so put on your dancing shoes and get out there.

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Best places to see flamenco in Barcelona

1. De Cajón! Festival

After taking a break for a couple of years, Barcelona's top flamenco festival, De Cajón!, came back in 2017 and has been going strong ever since, with live performances by greats such as Estrella Morente, Diego el Cigala, Antonio Carmona, Rocío Márquez and Duquende, and the art of the guitar by the likes of Niño Josele, Tomatito Sexteto and Chicuelo. Check the festival website for the annual dates starting around October. Performances are also in stunning settings, including the Palau de la Música, BARTS, Luz de Gas and the Conservatori del Liceu.

2. Tablao Flamenco Cordobés

Music Music venues El Raval

This historical 'tablao' (aka, flamenco venue) has welcomed the biggest flamenco legends – including Camarón, Farruco, Eva La Hierbabuena and Chocolate – to its stage on La Rambla since 1970. Tablao Flamenco Cordobés is run by a family of artists who are deeply connected and committed to flamenco and bringing you the best current artists. Antonio 'El Farru', Belén López, Karime Amaya, José Maya, Juan de Juan, Pastora Galván and Jesús Carmona, among many others, perform regularly on the well-stomped stage.

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3. Tablao de Carmen

Restaurants

A venue guaranteed to come as a pleasant surprise to anyone who thinks Poble Espanyol is just for tourists. El Tablao de Carmen, opened since 1988 in tribute to Carmen Amaya, boasts a spectacular regular line-up of dancers, including charismatic and talented brothers Tete and Yiyo. Don’t miss the chance to see the latter, tipped by many as the next Joaquín Cortés. The food is serious business too: the menu is the work of Juanjo Martínez, former head chef at the now-defunct El Capritx in Terrassa (which earned itself a Michelin star) alongside his brother Artur.

Tarantos
Foto: Francesc Melción

4. Tarantos

Music Music venues Ciutat Vella

Right in the centre of town in Plaça Reial, this tablao first opened in 1963, making it Barcelona's oldest. Tarantos has a long history of hosting performances from some of the greatest names in flamenco and Catalan rumba. The current programming features flamenco shows based on improvisation, and you'll still see big names from the flamenco scene, as well as local and national emerging artists. Located next door to legendary jazz venue Jamboree, it’s not unusual to see the flamenco and jazz crowds mix at the entrance.

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5. Los Juanele

Music Eixample

Los Juanele is an authentic Andalusian bar, where if you want you can settle in with your tapas and your rebujito and sit back and relax. But bearin mind they do offer sevillanas dance classes on Thursdays, so you can get yourself ready for your big moment when you can't sit still any longer and simply must take to the dance floor. They're only open Thursday to Saturday, but until 3am, so you can can dance a 'zapateao' and move to the rhythm of the 'ventilador' well into the night. Just mind your hands (or head) on that low ceiling.

Bar Leo
Photo: Iván Moreno

6. Bar Leo

Bars and pubs La Barceloneta

Bar Leo pulses to the rhythm of upbeat rumba tunes, hand-picked by the clients on a coin-operated jukebox, the floor covered in paper napkins, toothpicks and sawdust. This legendary tapas bar in Barceloneta is a temple to Barcelona’s home-grown rumba style, the walls plastered with photos of late flamenco star Bambino (as well as snaps of the clientele or family members and friends of Leo herself). You'll always find plenty of music, conversation, beer and vermouth flowing at this flamenco outpost in the heart of the touristified seafront district.

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7. Palacio del Flamenco

Restaurants Spanish

A flamenco institution (and the biggest in town) where you can dine on tapas or a more hearty meal while watching a real flamenco show – one that will hit all the buttons for tourists and locals alike. It may be unashamedly mainstream and squarely aimed at the cruise ship crowd, but it packs enough of a punch to make even the most sceptical concert-goer’s jaw drop. Dinner and shows are available in three sessions, at 6pm, 8pm or 10pm, every day of the week. You can also book in for a one-hour flamenco dancing lesson Monday to Saturday between 11am and 4.30pm.

Jesus Cortés, El Patio Andaluz
Photo: El Patio Andaluz

8. El Patio Andaluz

Restaurants

The shows at El Patio Andaluz are run by award-winning flamenco dancer from Sevilla Jesus Cortés, who also chooses all the performers who dance his choreographies. Cortés is known the world over and has performed for royals (including Oprah!), famous fashion designers, politicians and everyday flamenco fans. You can get your flamenco show, offered twice a day (8pm and 10pm) every day, with a meal or without, and they offer a special kids' menu. Or get clapping and stomping in a flamenco or rumba class tailor-made just for you. They also rent out the Patio's Tavern for private events.

Want to keep the party going?

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There’s a beat to suit every mood here: techno, disco, house, hip hop, rock, dubstep, reggae... you get the point. So don your finest clubbing gear, keep your eyes peeled for your favourite DJs, and head straight for the dance floor.

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