Barcelona’s cocktail scene is varied and fun… underground speakeasies or rooftop bars, late night drinking and infectious music, the night life never ends. Though wine and sangria are the most familiar alcoholic beverages in Catalan’s capital, cocktails are increasingly popular, particularly the classic recipes. Though molecular and gastronomic cocktail artistry has not yet taken hold in this city there are still plenty of talented mixologists working their magic behind bars. As a cocktail snob I searched out the very best Barcelona has to offer… it is purely coincidence that my three top cocktail bars are all named after a famous concoction!
Dry Martini opened in 1978 and has remained the top place to drink fine cocktail in Barcelona. Owned and created by barman legend Javier de las Muelas this bar is a homage to the celebrated Dry Martini. Housed in a 1970s apartment block the venue is gloriously old-fashioned and luxurious inside. White jacketed men are cool and calm behind the bar, expertly pouring and mixing in a precise cheographed routine. A electronic board records the number of Dry Martini’s ordered, it reached 1 million quite recently and they celebrated in style. Earlier on in the evening civilised guests sit in the plush leather sofas enjoying a quiet, perfectly mixed drink, later once dinner has finished the speakeasy fills with locals and tourists in the know. We tried a variety of sublime drinks, fruity varieties and sour-sweet combinations, finishing with a strong, crystal-clear martini, topped of course with an green olive.
Gimlet is run by the Dry Martini company and offers a similar menu of twisted classics. The décor is simple and understated with a retro vibe, sitting at the bar I felt like I’d gone back in time. Suited and booted barmen serve immaculate drinks. We tried a traditional Negroni and a more adventurous concoction based on the class Negroni, both were delicious. Located in the lovely El Born area this cocktail bar has unbeatable drinks and an easy-going atmosphere.
Negroni is a small and discreet little bar which barely has a sign indicating its whereabouts, and inside there is no menu to choose from. The moody black interiors are accented with flashes of red and bottles of liquor glow behind the bar. Sit on the high stools and chat to the experienced mixologist about your preference of flavour and ingredients and minutes later your perfect drink will be placed in front of you. Our bartender exhibited creativity and flair in equal measure whipping up deliciously strong and unique cocktails, priced very reasonably.
Many thanks to the Barcelona Tourist Board for their help with this trip, more information here.