C/Verdi can seem like another planet, where culture and nightlife go hand in hand. There are cinemas (eg, the Verdi, which shows original language films) but also the Taifa bookshop (No 12), which the owners open at will, meaning you can browse the stock of second-hand volumes on a Sunday afternoon before heading to see a film. I’ve found quality titles there such as Flaubert’s Parrot by Julian Barnes, and Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus. Just next to Plaça Revolució is the jewellery store Pia (No 3), which has only been in the area for a few years, but has established itself as a space you rarely leave empty-handed. The shiny silver pieces are eye-catching.
The reopening of the Gràcia part of the Teatre Lliure a few years back marked the completion of the theatrical landscape of this formerly independent town. And it’s a landscape that’s been thriving for some time now. Porta 4, Sala Beckett, Teatreneu and Almeria are the smaller siblings of the Lliure, a space that is the crib of contemporary Catalan theatre and which, in addition, was reborn with an excellent tapas and gin bar. The only bad news is the possible future departure of the Beckett from the area to Poblenou. Despite this, it’s clear that if you’re a theatre buff, Gràcia’s the place for you.
The cod with garlic mayonnaise at Cal Boter will make you want to stay in Gràcia forever, while their set lunch menu is simply spectacular. Grilled meats are their speciality, and they have a round table that sits eight, ideal for small groups looking to eat and drink well. Along the same street, on Plaça Raspall, the heart of Gràcia’s gypsy community, there’s another bar worth taking your time over if you want to escape the crowds – Resolís. Even though it might not look like much, the tapas are delicious, and when it’s sunny there’s no greater pleasure than relaxing on its mini terrace. It’s the kind of place you could find the inspiration to actually finish that novel you’ve been working on.