Barcelona’s Quirkiest Bars
As arguably the most cosmopolitan city in all of Spain, it's no wonder Barcelona boasts some of the most exciting nightlife in Europe. An eclectic mix of bars, pubs and nightclubs offer music and ambiance for all tastes. With so much variety, its no small feat to stand out in a city as rich in diversity as this Catalan capital, but somehow the following bars tend to leave a lasting impression…not so much for their drinks as for their unusual, unique and sometimes down right bizarre décor.
Bosc de les Fades
After entering a small passageway (off the famous Rambla) and walking through the brightly decorated souvenir/café shop (for the adjoining Museu de Cera), you suddenly find yourself in a magical land of make-believe. A beautiful porcelain fairy looks pensive sitting by a tiny pond surrounded by a collection of large “tree monsters,” caves and intertwined vines. You will then come across a “dream-like” room decorated in late-1800s furnishings, featuring mannequins seemingly engaged in various forms of magic. Although the two atmospheres do not really mix, they both add to the mystique of this unique fairytale environment. Drinks and snacks are served until 2 am on weekends and, as an added incentive, the staff will unexpectedly shut off the lights and let the “rain” and “thunder” guide you through the forest.
Ice Bar Barcelona (pictured, top)
Although not the first ice bar ever created, Barcelona’s version boasts the distinction of being the only one in the world located on a beach. The entrance is like any other beachfront terrace bar but, once guests put on fashionable jackets and gloves, they are led into a back area; a sub-zero lounge bar where they can enjoy their favorite cocktails (even the glasses are made of ice!) in up to -10°C (14°F) temperatures while viewing seasonal ice sculptures made by local artists. Most visitors stay just long enough to have a drink and take some photos before heading back out to relax on the warm, sunny terrace that faces the Mediterranean Sea.
Gran Bodega Saltó
The crazy décor of this former wine cellar only adds to the nightmarish charm of your experience. The first impression is that of an old-fashioned wine bar but that soon changes as you come face to face with bizarre creatures; menacing tigers, bejeweled ceramic dogs, open-mouthed aliens and bald-headed ladies are only a sampling of what awaits you here. After meeting the friendly staff and taking a peek at the retro signs decorating the room or catching one of the live musical performances, you will be left wondering whether you are in artsy neighborhood bar or a museum of oddball curiosities. Whatever you decide, you will leave with your own individual interpretation of a bar that dares to be different.
With a name inspired by a 1941 tango song, dramatic lighting, velvet furnishings and period Argentine memorabilia lining the walls, one is transported to a decadent past full of hidden secrets. The first of several rooms in this eclectic venue resembles a retro cabaret stage, complete with sultry performances and dim red lighting. On Wednesday evenings, tango lessons are even offered to those willing to channel the souls of Argentina’s greatest dancers. Two other smaller, more intimate rooms are equally seductive in terms of décor and feel. The bar serves an extensive list of cocktails including regional sugar cane concoctions (such as the liqueur Legui) for the full cultural experience. Tinta Roja invites guests to experience the passionate energy of Argentine culture in a stunning setting befitting its rich heritage.