Even before The World’s 50 Best Bars 2022 were announced, places like Paradiso (#1), Sips (#3) and Two Schmucks (#7) were heaving with visitors, and not the easiest places to land a seat at the bar. Here’s our insider guide to some of the other many fine bars of Barcelona—and one unusually cocktail-rich dining experience, for good measure.
If you can’t get into Paradiso, here’s the next-best thing: La Confitiera, the group that runs The World’s Best Bar 2022, is also the force behind what looks like an unassuming neighbourhood grocery storefront. Look for the “Super Monk 24h” sign at 10 Carrer dels Abaixadors, and push through to the back to discover a whole other world. Gothic bricked arches, stone floors and trippy light installations complement simple but serious cocktails, many of them art influenced. And no spoilers here, but there’s another, deeper, inner sanctum (where a pop up by Tres Monos, featuring monkey-masked bartenders, disco and mezcal shots right in the gullet) was a highlight of Barcelona Cocktail Week).
This bar at 13 Passeig del Born offers street-style tacos from Pink Taco that help make it a hot late-night hang. Drinks with names like Stiletto (mezcal, berries, sparkling wine) and Machete (tequila, pisco, grapefruit and Aperol) are not for the faint of heart; cocktails named Ménage à Froid (frozen blended from Xoriguer gin from the island of Menora) and Milf Punch (milk punch with a rum twist) are not for the easily offended!
Calling itself a “gastro cocktail bar,” Alchemix has a version of a periodic table of elements on the wall and a lab worth of molecular gastronomy-style tricks up its sleeve. The White Truffle Pisco Sour has a creamy, funky, funghi aroma that creates true dissonance with the bright, sharp and fruity classic cocktail. This bar at 212 Carrer de Valencia is a grown-up funhouse, with a chill, sedate vibe that belies the playful and cutting-edge drinks on offer.
14 De La Rosa
This was the sweetest of breaks from the hectic pace of a bartender-packed city during The World’s 50 Best Bars in Barcelona. This red-façade bar at 14 Carrer de Martinez de la Rosa feels almost Parisian, with aperitifs like Lillet and Dubonnet alongside the typical sherry and vermouth. Seek this one out if you love intimate little café tables, attentive service, and romantic candlelit vibes.
This dark, sexy bar at 24 Carrer del Rec evokes the famous literary detective Phillip Marlowe, who might just have had secret assignations at places like this. Suit-and-tied bartenders are elegant and polite, and women drinkers, take note: two of us were greeted at the curb by a courtly similarly attired host, and soon ushered to some of the best catbird seats in the house—an evolved service standard that’s somewhat rare in this casual, party-hardy city.
Boadas and Dry Martini
The OG of Barcelona bars, Boadas (tucked into a side street at 1 Carrer dels Taillers) is its oldest cocktail establishment. Opened in 1933, it has all the vintage images and paraphernalia you’d expect (do those mirror-backed vintage Negroni taps still work?). Martinis are a mere 10 Euros, the bartenders are all throwing ribbons, with an insouciant day-drinking aura (it opens at noon most days of the week!) Get a similar experience at Dry Martini: though it has only a few decades under its belt, the classic elements are all here (wooden bar, velvet banquettes, perfect Martinis), and it opens at 1 p.m. most days (162 Carrer d’Aribau).
It comes at a rich price (tasting menus from 235 Euros, and wine and drink pairings from 110 Euros in addition), but you will indeed Disfrutar (it means “enjoy”) several hours spent indulging in up to 30 courses that might require you to sniff, snap, touch, dip, pour and smash surprising culinary—and drink—innovations. Though this was #3 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2022, cocktail lovers should request a menu that includes liquid courses like apple cider carbonated in a French press with dry ice, a wafer that tastes like a rum-passionfruit colada, a foamed Margarita or truffle-infused vodka to complement earthy courses. It’s a wild ride!