It’s one of those announcements it’s a pleasure to make: Barcelona’s flamenco festival is back! After a two-year break, Time Out and The Project have joined forces to organise 5 concerts under the De Cajón! banner between 27 October and 8 November, as part of the Barcelona Jazz Festival.
Located in the Rambla since 1970, this historical tablao has been the meeting point for all flamenco legends: Camarón, Farruco, Eva La Hierbabuena, Chocolate…are only but a few of the names that have performed in this historic venue. It is an authentic tablao, one of the only two left in Barcelona, managed by a family of artists committed with flamenco who always guarantee the presence of the best current artists. Antonio “El Farru”, Belén López, Karime Amaya, José Maya, Juan de Juan, Pastora Galván o Jesús Carmona, among many others, usually perform on its emblematic stage.
Surely, this is the most authentic 'tablao' in town, it seems an Andalusian 'fair' stand and nothing has changed since it was founded nearly three decades ago. On Thursdays they give Sevillanas classes but the place also has the ideal atmosphere for dancing ‘rumba’ and party. There are costumers of almost all ages, but all of them are happy to relax while having some tapas and a 'rebujito'.
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. A flamenco outpost in the heart of the touristified seafront district.
A venue guaranteed to come as a pleasant surprise to anyone who thinks the Poble Espanyol is just for tourists. El Tablao de Carmen 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, head chef at El Capritx de Terrassa (with one Michelin star) alongside his brother Artur.
The venue next door to El Suculent is much more than an appendix to the main restaurant, even though it’s officially just a bar: you’ll find tapas that combine imagination and tradition in exactly the right proportions. Such as, for example, their ultra smooth mussel paté, or the Swiss Roll made with Russian salad. They have a predilection for creative offal dishes, and the authentic feel of an Andalusian tavern. The live rumba and flamenco concerts on Thursday nights are a Raval classic.
A flamenco institution where you can dine on tapas while watching a real flamenco show - one that will hit all the buttons for tourists and locals alike. OK, it’s unashamedly mainstream and squarely aimed at the cruise ship crowd, but it packs enough of a punch to make even the most skeptical concert-goer’s jaw drop.