This is a guest post by Ash from Barcelona Hacks. He has lived for 7 years in Barcelona as a local and he shares his best Barcelona nightlife tips with me AND YOU! Make sure to check out this fully detailed post with tips on how to enjoy the nightlife in Barcelona as a local. It is full with insider secret tips on the best budget drinking spots as well as the most epic party in Barcelona. Check the map for your favorite Barcelona club near you or download the list with all the recommended bars for the best night out in Barcelona.
Barcelona Nightlife Tips by a Local
Here’s some generic advice: shimmer up to Shoreditch in London, ruin yourself at the ruin bars in Budapest, and marry yourself to a minty tea and an early night in Marrakech.
Believe me? Maybe that wasn’t so convincing.
That said, I think I can get you on my side for Barcelona.
Though my 7 years in the city is being kept in Icarus-like check with the knowledge Barcelona can never be fully domesticated, my liver will tell you I’ve emptied enough Estrella cans to show you around.
From your first sip of post-beach cava to your last bite of mystery meat at 4 am here’s how us locals go out in Barcelona and enjoy nightlife. In case you want to follow below options to a tee, scroll down and find all locations mentioned in this Barcelona nightlife guide marked on the map. Or download a list with all the best places for your night out in Barcelona.
Planning a Night Out in Barcelona
As with everything, preparation is key. Make sure to read this first before you dive into Barcelona’s nightlife.
Locals almost exclusively use the metro since the network has such large coverage. The last trains typically depart at midnight on weekdays and 2 am on Friday.
If you’re planning on having a big one then pick Saturday – the metro runs all night.
Taxis are generally good value compared to similar sized European cities. Expect to pay between €10.00-€15.00 for anywhere central. You can hail the local black and yellow cabs in most nightlife areas in a matter of minutes or by downloading the app MyTaxi.
Read more: How to travel around Barcelona for 1 Euro
Local Time Customs
When I lived in London it was straight down to the pub after work and tipsy by ten past 6. We’d fight off pint after pint until the midnight bell rang, then it was club or kebab or bed.
Let the record show that to any Barcelona local this is justifiably insane.
Most people in Barcelona, accustomed expats like myself included, won’t go out until at least 10:00 pm: so don’t expect much energy before then. Unless of course you’re willing to create it yourself.
I know what you’re thinking. It sucks and you’ve waited all year for a blowout and this candy-ass Canadian is telling you that you can’t have a sip before the sun is long set?
Especially in summer there are plenty of options to get the ball rolling on your Barcelona night out, but you have to know where to go.
Read more: Eating out alone in Barcelona Spain
3 Barcelona Pre-Game Options
You’re not going to find any cocktail bars or hipster joints open at this time.
Here I’m talking about anywhere between 6:00-10:00 pm. Right now it’s all about taking advantage of sunny rooftop bars or authentic tapas places where the wine flows at prices that have barely fermented since the 1970’s.
A few of my favourites are:
Imagine a rustic Spanish spot decorated with bricks, hanging hams, wine bottles, and a massive bar where the usually placed liquor bottles behind the barman are replaced with a grill that could fry off half the pigs in Portugal.
And a bottle of wine costs about €3.00.
Yes, you read right. An in-house rose cava bottle (when purchased with a sausage/chorizo or Spanish cheese plate, also only about €3.00) can be bought with your five-year-old son’s allowance.
Stock up on wine and food here until 10:30.
Read more: Costs for a weekend in Barcelona
Hotel Pulitzer Rooftop Bar
For those looking for something a little less greasy and a bit higher up, know that the hotel rooftop bar game is strong in Barcelona. My favourite for a good after work/Friday vibe is the Hotel Pulizter.
The views here may not match contemporaries like Hotel Grand Central or Hotel H1898 but the original cocktails, spritz, and fried chicken sandwich made a fan out of me. Not to mention the live music schedule.
There’s a real young/networking crowd here and a perfect balance between locals and tourists.
It opens to the public at 6:00 pm (5th of May until October 1st).
Tasca El Corral
Another rustic Spanish bar that would almost be a restaurant if not for the plethora of locals refilling their cups with bargain basement booze.
The specialty here, with a long Catalan drink tradition behind it, is the homemade vermut (a type of spiced wine) which they’ll pour you from an all too homey-looking brown jug into an ice-cubed glass with a generous slice of orange.
It’s not a typo: each glass is only €1.10.
The bar snacks here need tasting: the manchego cheese platter with some of the famous ‘flaming sausages’ (which are seriously doused in liquor and lit on fire) are musts to line the stomach and get you ready for cocktail hour.
Feeling really adventurous? Get a bottle of ‘panther milk’ but don’t ask what’s in it – they’ll never tell.
Barcelona Bars – Picking Your Poison
You’ve had some great Spanish food and got some decently priced drinks in you, or some drinks with a view and maybe even a few new friends. It’s about 10:00 pm now and you want to up the ante and kick of your night out in Barcelona.
From here locals usually hit the bars for some cocktails, beer, or wine.
So, remember that continuous shot in Goodfellas where Henry Hill came in via the side door, went through the kitchen, and got a seat at one of the classiest cocktail joints in town?
At Paradiso it’s sort of like this, only you’ll go through a pastrami sandwich place and be lead beyond a red curtain to this ‘hidden’ bar throwback that has some of the most crafty cocktails in the city.
The bartenders here are a real show and the unusual glasses really stick out: beakers, pipes, and treasure chests. Gimmick? You won’t think so once you’ve tried.
Alternative: Pesca Salada pays homage to a Barcelona drinker obsession, gin and tonics. The dedication at this former fishmonger’s shop with its nautical decor really shows with its varieties of homemade gin, the best in the city.
Imagine a German-style beer hall with the long wooden social benches, but scrap the Lowenbrau for 24 rotating Catalan craft beer taps. Then add a Californian twist with buckets of American style wings (they actually have ranch in Spain!) and poke bowls.
For big groups of beer-guzzling friends CocoVail Beer Hall is the place to be. Americans love it for the NFL football on the screens though it’s great for any major sporting event. The 2 euro shot Thursdays are a great way to get ready for the club.
Alternative: BierCaB, a slickly decorated beer bar with nearly 30 on tap and an even longer list of bottles for folks of every taste – the tapas snacks are just as good.
Spanish & Catalan Wine
Especially for couples on holiday it’s probably best to avoid crowded beer halls and high-end cocktail bars. ElDiset serves a long list local Catalan wines that you won’t find anywhere else. The Garnacha really stole my heart with a great fruit, herb, and licorice flavour (or so the menu said!).
They also have some well-elaborated tapas dishes like salmon tartare with ginger, veal carpaccio, and a wonderful Catalan cheese platter – who said the whole night had to be about drinking?
Alternative: Cellarer Wine Bar is a rustic wine bar where the service and explanations are top notch. The variety here is one of the best in the city owing to the bar’s connection with a nearby wine shop.
Bar Crawl Areas
Don’t fancy any of the specific bars and would rather just roll the dice to get your Barcelona night out rollin’?
Going for an improvised bar crawl is as Barcelona as Gaudi reading Catalan poetry at mega-church Sagrada Familia on September 11th – with pan con tomate. So put one foot in front of the other and let destiny take the wheel.
There are three areas in Barcelona’s nightlife where you can go and find something cool almost by accident.
Placa George Orwell/Gothic Quarter
The area in and around super-central Placa George Orwell (‘Plaza Trippy’) offers a great variety of funky bars including the cheap beer and funky Egyptian decor of Bar Oviso, the live music basement cocktail exploits of La Paraigua, or the 90’s rocker Nevermind.
Expect to pay between €3.50-€4.00 for a beer and around €8.00 for a cocktail.
Carrer de Joaquin Costa
Another option is Raval where bar-beaten Carrer de Joaquin Costa serves up dive bars with standards: try the aptly named Betty Ford’s cocktail bar, the nearly-extinct Catalan vermouth speakeasy Casa Almirall, and the cosy couches of 33|45 with their criminally-priced Italian spritz.
Expect to pay between €2.50-€3.50 for a beer and around €7.00 for a cocktail.
Down at the Port Olimpic you’ll find more than a dozen bars down by the docks. If you and your friends can’t decide between an Irish pub, reggaeton bar, live music venue, house club, and even a Moroccan shisha place then why not do all five in the same night?
There’s even a McDonald’s and the casino. Yes, come one vice come all!
Expect to pay about €4.00 for a beer and around €8.00-€10.00 for a cocktail.
Clubs in Barcelona
This nightlife guide is not complete without information about clubs! I’m not going to pretend I know what you’re looking for.
The Barcelona club scene is as diverse as the people who dance it, but depending on what you want to get down to I’m sure I’ve got the place for you.
For clubbing in Barcelona please make sure you show up around 1:30 or 2:00 am unless you’ve got yourself locked into some sort of ‘free before X:XX’ type of deal with a promoter. Clubs are empty before then.
In the Barcelona clubbing world skipping Razztamazz is a bit like going to Rome and ducking the Colosseum, albeit with much less pain the morning after. This warehouse club spanning multiple floors has five different dance halls: rock, electro, garage/soul, deep house, and electro-rock.
It’s so cavernous here that losing friends is common, but don’t worry! You’ll meet some new ones. Or you can set a reunion point for the expansive rooftop terrace, the hub that brings the 5 clubs together.
Dress code: casual.
Alternative: Sala Apolo, a classy old theater that was converted into a dance club in 1943 and now hosts some of the best pop, rock, indie, and electro nights in the city.
Casual club night in Barcelona
The ultimate casual club night in Barcelona has to go down at Marula Café. If you’re looking for an unpretentious dance to jazz, rock, soul, disco, and funk without the electro-headaches and collared shirts then this is for you.
Cover is a wallet-friendly €8.00 euros including one drink.
Dress code: come as you are (within reason).
Alternative: Moog, a small electro club rammed with locals famous for their upstairs ‘mirror room’ that gives you a pop music respite from the hard hitting beats.
Read more: Cultural Barcelona at night
Upscale Barcelona Nightlife
That half-moon/sail-shaped tower that you can’t miss along Barcelona’s seafront isn’t just just a hotel for people with more money than god. It’s got a club on the 26th floor that anyone looking for an unforgettable night should soon consider.
Eclipse Bar not only gives you a totally unique view angle on the entire city, but an inventive cocktail list, fusion sushi, and a wide variety of club nights that include R&B, hip hop, house, and special theme parties.
Just check the calendar and put your name on the list for complimentary access.
Dress code: elegant and chic.
Alternative: Opium, this slick all-white beach-side dance club hosts a ton of famous international DJs and is the place to go to meet fellow tourists. For convenience you can buy your cover in advance online with one drink included.
LGBT Barcelona Nightlife Tips
Barcelona is famous for its tolerance and lengthy offerings for the LGBT community: one not look any further than the Arena Group of clubs. The two heavy-hitters here are Classic and Madre, two clubs on the same corner in the Eixample district (known to some as ‘Gayxample’).
Younger crowds just entering the scene tend to congregate at VIP while there’s a more lesbian focus at Aire Sala Diana (FYI, it’s free entry on Thursday nights).
Alternative: El Cangrejo, a kitschy bar that’s much more laid-back and less club-like than the Arena establishments, with more of a mixed crowd. The midnight drag show is something to be seen.
Barcelona Late Night Food
Oddly enough, regardless of Spain’s late-night culture the selection of ‘drunchies’ is disappointingly limited to a few fast food chains, some kebab shops, and the odd pizza place.
If your stomach is gurgling around 4 am and beyond let me first say that the only 24-hour restaurant in Barcelona is the Mcdonald’s drive-thru at the Vila Olimpica. You’ll need a taxi and a lot of enthusiasm to go through with this.
I’m a big fan of Puglia in Tavola for some high quality late night pizza (until 3 am). It’s also glorious waking up the next morning with an empty, cream-crusted cup from their takeaway tiramisu.
Towards the bottom of the famous La Rambla on the street Nou de la Rambla you’ll find 3 kebab shops open till about 3 am, all more or less offering the same quality of product. The same goes for the square Rambla del Raval.
Read more: Forget Tapas – Try Tacos Tacos Barcelona
Find all Barcelona Nightlife Tips on the map
Who doesn’t love maps? See where you can find above mentioned bars, clubs and watering holes near your hotel. Need even more details? Sign up for the mailing list and you can download the full sheet, including the addresses and links to the best party places in Barcelona as suggested.
This was a guest post by Ash from Barcelona Hacks. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada. Ash went to London to experience Europe for a year, blinked an eye, and 11 years have passed. Moved to Barcelona in 2011 to teach English, now he teaches tourists how to visit to Mediterranean’s best city! And he shares his Barcelona nightlife tips with us! Follow Barcelona Hacks on Facebook and Instagram.
Anyway, that’s it for that! I think I’ve given a solid cross-section of Barcelona nightlife options that any group of visitor can enjoy. The question is, did I miss anything? What was your favourite watering-hole when you were in Barcelona?