You’ve come to Barcelona to embrace the Spanish and Catalan lifestyle, which includes bar-hopping and going out to dance until sunrise. This image of Barcelona isn’t a myth – they really do know how to live their best life and enjoy every moment.
If you want to keep up and enjoy the nightlife like a local, you need to start the night off right.
Have a delicious dinner (be it a traditional, sit-down meal or a more active tapa/pintxo experience), indulge in some handcrafted cocktails, and if you’re up for it, dance the night away!
To have the best experience, follow these expert tips before you head out:
- Although Barcelona is quite safe, it is infamous for pickpocketing, especially late at night. Always keep an eye on your belongings! If you wear a purse, keep it hanging in front of you, and keep your hand on it whenever possible – especially around the metro stations. If you don’t wear a purse, keep your hand on the pockets where you’re holding your phone and/or wallet.
- Separate your money into different compartments. It’s a good idea to have some backup money in your shoe, for example.
- Book a reservation ahead of time whenever possible on the weekends, the restaurants and bars in the center of Barcelona are almost always packed! However, many tapas and pintxo bars don’t accept reservations, so either arrive early or be prepared to wait.
- Wear comfortable shoes. Although public transportation is plentiful, perhaps you’ll want to take advantage of the nice evening weather by walking from place to place. Also, many bars are standing-space only, so come prepared!
Now that you’re ready to explore the incredible nightlife of Barcelona, it’s time to choose where to go. Locals love to go bar-hopping for tapas and pintxos, but these places are often crowded and you might end up having to stand at a small table in the corner. This is an incredible and authentic experience to have, but if you prefer a more relaxed and comfortable route, check out the list of stylish restaurants below.
Trendy Pintxo & Tapas Bars
Bustling & Traditional Tapas Bar
If you want an authentic experience at a family-run tapas bar, head straight over to Quimet y Quimet without hesitation. This place is almost always packed with locals, so be prepared to stand as you enjoy your tapas and drinks. Everything is delicious here, especially paired with a traditional Vermut (a fortified wine) or cava (A Catalan ‘champagne’).
Locals Bar with Authentic Tapas
Surrounded by a lively and comfortable ambiance, enjoy some of the best tapas that Barcelona has to offer while sitting at the bar or a table with some great company. You will find all of the traditional tapas here, but with an added Zing! of creativity and the highest-quality ingredients. Unlike many tapas bars, it has the added bonus of allowing you to book your table online in advance so that you don’t have to fight for a spot!
Traditional Tapas Restaurant with a Cute, Interior Patio
A hipster’s paradise, this trendy bar in Poblenou has an extensive menu filled with tapas galore. They have all of the typical offerings like patatas bravas and pimientos de Padrón, but also fantastic new combinations like scallop ceviche with pomegranate or fried eggplant drizzled with honey and rosemary. There’s likely to be a line of locals going out the door, but you won’t regret waiting! This is a night to truly experience the lifestyle and slow things down a bit.
Fusion Tapas & Trendy Atmosphere
In the heart of the lively Raval district of Barcelona, you will find this trendy tapas restaurant that offers fusion dishes packed with flavor and presented in an artistic way. This is a fantastic and fun place to go with friends for dinner. Order a variety of tapas to share, share a bottle of local wine, and you’ll be off to a great start! Reservations are a good idea at this place (you can book via their website) because it can be quite popular on the weekends. Don’t miss their pork ribs and grilled octopus!
A Gourmet Taste of the Basque Region
If you’re in Eixample, don’t miss a truly unique and surprising experience at Uma. You are served a set tasting menu, and can even watch the chef prepare your dishes from the open kitchen. They are also masters at pairing wine with your meals. People rave that this is one of the best dining experiences they’ve ever had in their life! It is imperative to book ahead of time, which you can do on their website. Dinner is served at 9 pm, and you can expect the entire experience to last about 2.5 hours. This place isn’t cheap, but you won’t regret it!
A Gourmet ‘Food Court’
Along Passeig de Gracia you will find this foodie masterpiece, a modern space filled with a variety of amazing restaurants and bars. Whether you’re in the mood for tapas, fresh seafood, or even dessert, El Nacional has got you covered. The decoration is gorgeous and modern, and changes depending on the area you choose to hang out in. This is a great place to meet up with friends and socialize!
Creative Cocktails in El Born
Think cocktails are about the same everywhere? You’ve clearly never been to Collage Cocktail Bar! Enjoy the super trendy atmosphere with your friends as you sip on handcrafted, unique cocktails, made right in front of you! The glassware and decorations they use for the drinks are incredible, and totally begging to be Instagrammed. For a truly memorable experience, take one of their cocktail classes and learn how to make these masterpieces!
Trendy & Fun Cocktail Bar in El Born
Just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Santa Maria del Mar Cathedral, you will find this lively bar with extremely friendly and talented bartenders. It is generally filled with a young and sociable crowd, and you’re sure to get the night off to a good start here!
The Best Gin & Tonic in Barcelona
Gin has become super fashionable in recent years, and there’s no better place in Barcelona to enjoy one than Bobby Gin. They have a tremendous variety of gin (more than you could count!) and several tonics that you can experiment with. The bartenders are super knowledgeable about the best pairings and characteristics of each one. Let them know what you like (they speak English!), and they’ll surprise you with the best Gin and Tonic of your life! This bar isn’t cheap, but the price tag is well worth the high-quality drinks and chic decor. They also have a food menu in case you want a bite.
Where’s your favorite place in Barcelona to go on a night out? Which of these are you most excited about trying? Cheers!
October 19, 2018 | Words by Jessica Harding for Eye On Food Tours