Jordi Boixareu / Alamy
Toni Garcia
January 02, 2015

Barcelona has countless bars, clubs, and restaurants—but what sets the best ones apart in this city is a relaxed mood. Many visitors here think of Las Ramblas as the place for nightlife here, but actually the opposite is true: it's the best place to avoid when the sun goes down.

Nightife-wise, Barcelona is divided into two big areas: above the Diagonal and below the Diagonal. The Diagonal is the very large avenue that cuts the city in half; north of it, you’ll find the expensive clubs that are filled with crowds of “beautiful people.” To the south of it, you’ll find the hipsters spots, hip-hop music clubs and dance places. So, depending on your mood and budget, you can choose which direction to head in. Personally, I think best way to experience city nightlife is to leave the city center and visit neighborhoods like Gracia or El Born—places where the fun starts late, and the streets are crowded with limitless options.

Otto Zutz

This very young, very hyperactive club in Eixample Esquerra is crowded almost every night with a loyal clientele. Music is usually R&B and hip-hop, but the selection can be pretty eclectic. There’s no better place to go to sweat, dance, and drink, surrounded by nice looking guys and girls. The drinks are generous in quantity (something true almost everywhere in Barcelona) and also quality; and if you arrive early, entrance is free.

Luz de gas

This high-end club in Eixample Esquerra is full of beautiful faces, and well-known for being the main spot to see local celebrities. Luz de gas is known for being frequented by football players, singers and politicians; but also for its dance floor, the pedigree of the waitstaff, and the highly experienced crew that makes your experience both pleasant and cool. The music is pop and rock, and the crowd here tends to be 30-something and up—so if you’re in your 20s, this probably won't be the place for you.

El Born

For a truly fun night out in Barcelona, I recommend a visit to El Born—the city's oldest neighborhood, but, paradoxically, the one with the youngest crowd. Dozens and dozens of bars, restaurants and clubs for all tastes are here, in a labyrinth of small streets surrounded by ancient buildings, creating a fantastic environment. Take the subway to Jaume I and then wander down Argenteria Street: There are so many places that it's impossible not to find one you’ll like.

Dry Martini

This is, hands down, the most classic watering hole in Barcelona. Full of journalists, writers, and old-school city characters, Dry Martini in the city center serves the best G&T in the city (you won't believe the size of it, literally seven times larger than what you're typically served in London) and, of course, a dry martini is also a fantastic choice. Next door there’s a speakeasy (a restaurant you can only access with a password) but treat your servers nicely and they may just find a table for you there.

London Bar

My favorite bar in Barcelona (and I love bars), the London Bar first opened its doors in El Raval in 1910. Over the years, it served as a hangout for artists like Dali and Picasso, and was also a favorite spot for circus performers (you’ll see the decoration for yourself). The music is excellent, and there’s Wifi, so you can send emails to friends and relatives while enjoying the ambience and excellent drinks. 

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