Barcelona offers an astounding number of excellent bars to enjoy a vermouth or a caña in. But if you’re looking for something a little different, why not try out some of Barcelona’s oldest bars, places that were once frequented by modernist artists like Picasso and Dali? Here are some you can try out.
If you like old bars that happen to look like the set of a vintage film, you’ll be delighted with this hidden gem. According to old photographs, it still looks very much like it did when it first opened back in 1820, only with more cobwebs and dust! Over the last couple of centuries, it has been the watering hole of several famous figures including Picasso and Hemingway. You’ll find it tucked away off the bottom of the Rambla de Raval, on Carrer de Sant Pau.
Els Quatre Gats
Back in the 1800s, one of the four founders of this bar-restaurant worked at the infamous Paris establishment Le Chat Noir. Later, he decided to set up something equally bohemian here in Barcelona, naming it “the four cats”. Picasso held his first exhibition here at the tender age of 18, and also designed the title page of its menu. It’s also the setting of the restaurant scene in Woody Allen’s film Vicky, Christina, Barcelona. Featuring beautiful arch windows and wooden beams, this ornate building has a lot of character. As a result, you might find yourself waiting a while to get a table at peak times. However, the wait will be worth it! Find it in the Gothic quarter, at Carrer de Montsió, 3.
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There is very little “London” to be found in this old Catalan bar, which first opened in 1910 and has preserved its original modernista décor. Today, it’s one of Barcelona’s oldest bars. You can be sure that some interesting philosophical and political conversations were had here in its day; the bar is another place that used to be frequented by Picasso, and was also a favourite of Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí. It’s on Carrer Nou de la Rambla, just off the Raval side of the Rambla.
The writer of this post might be a little bit biased because she lives only a few doors away from this cool, modernista bar in Raval. But with good reason! It’s situated on one of the neighbourhood’s busiest, quirkiest streets, Carrer de Joaquin Costa and has an amazing Gaudi–style wooden doorway. The bar dates back to 1860 and still serves the two popular drinks of that time, traditional vermouth and absinthe. Inside you’ll find an atmospheric seating area with beautiful moon-shaped lamps on every table. It’s the perfect old bar for a romantic drink and the service is great.