Complete Guide to the Barcelona Party Scene
WHERE TO PARTY IN BARCELONA
Spain is the country of Fiesta – the party place! And Barcelona boasts one of the best nightlife scenes in Europe. Things start late here, as locals take their time to enjoy dinner with friends (or at home, to save cash), then they go “de copas” (for some drinks), and by the time they reach the clubs it’s passed 1AM. Actually, nightclubs don’t get fully busy until around 2AM, when drink bars close. But then clubs they stay open until 6AM! And after that it’s not unusual to go for some food before heading home to sleep. Luckily Barcelona has now a broad offer of brunch restaurants so party goes can sleep in, and if necessary, tapas bars and restaurants serve their lunch shift until 4PM!
It’s also easy to move around Barcelona at night: the metro stays open until midnight Mon-Thu, 2AM on Fridays and non-stop on Saturday night. Plus there’s 21 night bus lines, all of them stopping in Plaça Catalunya except the circular N0, and some of them also connecting with the suburbs and the airport. You can often find taxi stops near the top clubs or flag a taxi (if it’s got a green light on it’s available) or call one using a taxi app like FreeNow or AllMove. Uber doesn’t work very well in the city (the platform doesn’t have many drivers) but Cabify is a good alternative.
As for dress code, the fancy clubs by the sea and in the Zona Alta are quite strict and you’ll need to dress to impress to go there (check the clubs websites to find out their dress code), but at the other ones they are more relaxed about that. Avoiding white trainers and flip-flops and changing from your beachwear to something more urban is always a good start, though.
Finally, drinking age is 18 years old in Spain, and you are likely to be asked to show an ID for prove. So don’t forget it in the hotel. Drinks inside nightclubs tend to be super expensive, which is why locals tend to drink before heading there, either at home or at cheaper drink bars. A good trick is to stick to shots, which are cheaper. Even orange juice or soda with lemon (not as expensive as alcohol, and since they look like a mixed drink people won’t think of you as a teetotal).
As for drinking in the street, this is known as “botellon” in Spain, and it’s technically forbidden but the police isn’t likely to bother you as long as you are discreet. You can get cheap drinks at the many small groceries and supermarkets run by Indian and Pakistani, then head to some plaza or park. But please don’t make a mess, pick up your trash when you are done. And remember bouncers might not let you in the clubs and taxi drivers might refuse to take you if you look too drunk.
Now you are ready to party! Let me show you where to go!
These are the best Barcelona party places:
Barceloneta and Vila Olimpica
The area along the Barceloneta Beach and the Vila Olimpica is a classic party area of Barcelona. It attracts a lot of tourists, but also the local jet-set including FC Barcelona players and models. After eating at one of the fun restaurants by the beach, you can start the night with some drinks at the Ice Bar or the Lounge of the W Hotel (until their spectacular Eclipse Bar reopens after the renovation works are over). Then you can you can dance the night away in one of the many cool nightclubs in the area:
Opium for the most sophisticated and exclusive night, dancing to the best electronic music and world-class DJ’s (you may want to eat dinner at their beach terrace and get a VIP table for a complete experience). It is definitely one of the best nightclubs Barcelona has to offer. Shoko is an alternative also glamourous and with an Asian touch, but maybe not as uptight as Opium, and they are famous for their theme parties. The music is more varied than Opium which is mostly electronic.
Pacha is the Barcelona branch of the iconic Ibiza club, and you’ll find here famous DJs and different music styles every night. The crowds there are older than in the other two places, and slightly more local despite also attracting tourists. CatWalk is the second largest nighclub in the beach area (after Opium), and it’s the best place if you are into R&B, as they have a dedicated room to this music style, besides two more dance floors, one of them huge. And CDLC is more of a beach club with a dance floor, but their sunbeds are highly coveted as the best location to spot the celebrities that come here to enjoy cocktails by the beach.
If you need a pick-me-up before bed, the McDonalds in Vila Olimpica has the restaurant open until 3AM and they do window service until 6AM. Or you can get a fancy snack at one of the bars of the Casino Barcelona.
You can start your evening with some tapas at Paco Meralgo or Tapas 24 Diagonal, a salad and some healthy food at Honest Greens, pizza at Parking Pizza or just try one of the many restaurants along Enrique Granados. Then you can continue with one of the best cocktails in Spain at Dry Martini, or listen to live bands at Slow Barcelona before their DJs arrive, or go for a gin&tonic with locals at Museum Bar.
When it’s time to dance, Sutton is the place to mix with the local elite. Super classy and exclusive, it’s known to have some of the strictest bouncers in Barcelona. Dress elegant, smart and sexy and get on the Sutton guestlist to live one of the most amazing nights in your life. Bling Bling is very close to Sutton and almost as sophisticated but with a vintage decoration. The music selection progresses through the night, and their dance floor is one of the largest in Barcelona. A few streets further, Otto Zutz is another iconic club of the Barcelona party scene, located inside a refurbished old textile factory. It’s got three rooms, for hip hop, R&B and funk, and it attracts maybe a younger crowd but still quite fashionable.
Luz de Gas is favored by party goers over 30 and beyond attracted by its life music, and they also frequent the further away Bikini for the same reason (BTW, Bikini is the oldest nightclub in Barcelona, open since 1953). For a less sophisticated evening in the area, try La Fira Corsega, a fun club frequented by local college students and often programming themed parties.
Once you are ready for a bite before heading to sleep, there’s the Macxipa bakery on Tuset street open 24/7, the classic Bar Velodromo open from 6AM to 3PM.
Old Town: Barri Gotic, Born and Raval
Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter)
Besides all the many great restaurants in the area, you’ll find affordable pre-party bites along Ferran street (pizza, kebab, burgers, paninis…), as well as along La Rambla (where it’s mostly fast food and tourist traps, so be warned), and don’t miss the meat sandwiches at Conesa in Plaça Sant Jaume.
Then the party concentrates in Plaça Reial and the surrounding streets. Old fashioned cocktail bars such as L’Ascensor (with a vintage elevator cabin as entrance door) or the modernist El Paraigua or the mysterious Bosc de les Fades (the themed fairy cafe of the Wax Museum). Then popular clubs and concert halls such as La Macarena, Marula Cafe, Sidecar…, all of them just one or two blocks from each other. Plus Jazz lovers can’t miss the famous Harlem and Jamboree venues. Finding a place to eat early in the morning isn’t easy, however Capuccino on Via Laietana opens at 6.30AM.
The feel is more relaxed in El Born, and a bit more fancy without reaching the levels of the seaside and zona alta clubs. There’s many great tapas bars and restaurants to eat pre-party, and you’ll also find quick eats along Passeig del Born, or you may want to go a bit over the district limits onto Can Paixano for a lot of cheap food and pink champagne surrounded by local and foreign college students. Then, start your night with a cocktail at Cactus Bar, Miramelindo or Dr. Stravinsky, then go rock&roll at the mythical Magic Club.
An area that can be scary if you get in the wrong street, but that shows you the wild side of Barcelona. You’ll find cheap shawarma stalls, bakeries and cheap eateries along Nou de la Rambla, Rambla del Raval, Hospital and Tallers street. Make sure to try the gourmet sandwiches at the whole-in-the-wall Mendizabal or the popular Guixot, have some basic tapas at the smallest bar in Barcelona, La Cazalla, or get some pizza by the slice at Pizza Circus.
Continue with an old-school cocktail at Boadas or La Confiteria, a shot of absinth at Bar Marsella where Picasso and Hemingway used to go, enjoy a drink at the bohemian Pastis or the go for beer and play drink games at Ovella Negra. Start dancing at Nevermind, then finish the night at Moog. And if you need some food before bed, Bar Clemens is the first to open at the Boqueria Market at 7AM, and El Rincon de l’Artista is a restaurant on Nou de la Rambla open 7AM to 3AM.
Montjuic & Poblesec
What are your favorite party places in Barcelona?
Marta is the founder of ForeverBarcelona. She is a passionate tour guide that loves Barcelona and loves writing too. She is the main author of our Blog, and is committed to sharing her knowledge about Barcelona and her best tips with our readers.
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