Located on Spain's Mediterranean shore, Barcelona combines the history and culture of Catalonia with the modernity of a capital city. Gothic and Gaudi architecture line the streets, sunbathers bask on beaches only a short walk away from the city, and tapas and drinks are aplenty. If you choose to visit and need some ideas for places to eat or drink, the following is a list of ABC's top 10 suggestions.
Full of smoke, often too crowded and a little bit dingy Boadas bar just off La Rambler might not look too inviting at first glance. However, it is the oldest cocktail bar in Barcelona established in 1933 by Miguel Boadas who worked at the Hemmingway's famous Floridita Bar in Cuba. You just have to push your way through regulars and after the first sip you'll realize that you are in a classic cocktail bar where barmen know how to mix their spirits (not shaking, but pouring from one glass to another) and entertain their patrons. There's no cocktail menu, the bartenders can fix an old classic or any other drink of your choice. Try a cocktail of the day if you want to be adventurous.
Another Barcelona drinking institution. Much classier than Boadas, so you'll feel better if dress up a little bit. The waiters here wear white jackets and talk in low voices. The visitors smoke cigars, snack on nuts and (I think) talk politics. Try Dry Martini cocktail (the number of dry martinis sold is being counted since the opening) or a small bucket of Gin & Tonic served in a huge glass with lots of ice. The bar also has a private dining room, a restaurant through the kitchen at the back and its own regular transvestite selling roses.
Hotel Arts is famous for its modern architecture, exclusive service and Frank Gehry's (the same guy who did the Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA) sculpture Pez de Oro or Gold Fish. The Bar serves a selection of malt whiskies, great cocktails and cigars. But weather permitting the terrace bar is the best – try a refreshing Negroni cocktail (gin, vermouth & Campari) and admire the Gold Fish (which is more or less right above you) as it changes the color as the sun moves across the sky.
This is a great place for beer and snacks with Barceloneta locals. It seems everyone knows each other in this narrow tapas place - patrons bring their dogs and chat with barmen (who I imagine are working here all their lives). Barceloneta is a traditional district of sailors and fishermen and the Cerveceria has a similar theme – the lamps are in the shape of ships and the barmen wear white admiral jackets. Try simple tapas – green peppers (pimientos), Spanish sausage (chorizo) or some tuna with tomatoes and onions. The sandwiches are also delicious or you can just nibble on some almonds served with smoked ham while you enjoy a cold glass of beer brewed in-house. If you fancy some seafood just wander around the neighborhood and pop in a local seafood restaurant.