Going clubbing requires planning and premeditation – but sometimes it just doesn’t happen that way. You start out with a few innocent beers and plenty of good intentions, and end up struggling to find your way home. It's a familiar story in Barcelona where drinks with work colleagues can easily segue into a 7am breakfast of samosas outside Apolo club. A rough game plan for a lost Friday night might start at what's called the 'afterwork' session at Collage, with its top-notch cocktails and free tapas. Then, as it’s next door, how about a stand-up supper at Bar del Pla? Try the oxtail with foie gras – it’s delicious, sustaining and comes in small portions (after three cocktails at Collage you won’t have room for much more). You’re on a roll, so mosey across the Born to the venerable Magic Club to dance to punk, rock and new wave until 6am. Now it really is time for bed, but on the way home, drop in at Xurreria San Roman and stave off the inevitable hangover with churros con chocolate. Or one last beer, who knows?
The best parties in Barcelona
They call it ‘Internet club music’. Spain’s biggest Future Beats club night takes over Barcelona’s five-room Razzmatazz club every Saturday evening, and features the up-and-coming stars o fthe hardcore continuum – artists who are writing the future of dubstep, garage and jungle, such as AarabMuzik, Baauer, Nguzunguzu and local Alizzz.
In 2008 Gon and I started our adventures on the edges of electronic music at Nitsa@Apolo, and we’re still going hard. With an upbeat soundtrack of ’90s house, served with plentiful helpings of disco, boogie and soul, Libido has become an institution. The line-up mainly consists of local DJs, although to mix things up a bit we also invite monthly international guests, among them Rick Wilhite, Mr. Mendel, Jovon and more.
If you end up at Switch, you might well find Sunny Graves, Fede Erdán, Abu Sou or Nehuen at the decks. At this half-bar, half-club hybrid hangout, which is managed by the impeccable Deckard, they serve generous cocktails that you can enjoy in two connected spaces (one more laid-back, the other with a DJ booth and bar) with music selected by the best DJs in town. Not to be missed.
The ideal place for a quick drink before the night really gets going – but don’t be surprised if you get stuck (in the best sense of the word) with a soundtrack that runs from Burial to Bonobo via Björk and James Brown. At 33/45, you're in a haven of great taste that's become a BCN nightlife essential.
Nitsa’s claim to be Barcelona’s top club night for electronic music is undisputed, but if you can time your visit to coincide with Duets you’re doubly fortunate – this is a session that features two top-name DJs sharing the decks. Past nights have starred Prins Thomas and Skatebard, Madteo and DJ Sotofett, and Ivan Smagghe and Marc Piol. Double trouble.
The city’s pocket-sized Berghain keeps delivering big names in international techno, with the most authentic atmosphere in Barcelona. Its only remaining real techno club has an uncompromising music policy that mixes local regulars – Gus Van Sound, Olmos, Uroz – with label nights and special guests.
Competing with Nasty Mondays at Apolo for the title of the wildest party in town, El Dirty at Razzmatazz has a tag line that says it all: ‘All the hits you can imagine mixed all together (now!)’. With all the attitude and energy of a gay-friendly party night, it’s ideal for clubbers who can’t wait until the weekend.
Churros con Chocolate features a playlist that’s a potpourri of kitsch (from commercial radio hits to mariachi hymns) plus an anarchic, up-for-it atmosphere. Entrance is free, everyone is welcome and it takes place once a month at Apolo. If you want to discover the secret of happiness, mark it on your calendar. You won’t regret it.
Nomadic Sunday party VenTú has redefined the concept of the afternoon vermouth for a new generation. That means fewer grandpas sipping aperitifs and nibbling olives, and more live music, party atmosphere and uninhibited dancing, all with a glass of chilled vermouth in hand. With ever-changing venues, this is a perfect early afternoon shindig for the last day of the week, proving that Sundays are the new Fridays.