Where To Have A Real Vermouth In Barcelona
BARCELONA VERMOUTH BAR LIST – THE CATALAN VERSION OF TAPAS
Do you want to know a secret? Tapas aren’t really a Barcelona thing. Other cities like Seville, Madrid or Bilbao have entire neighborhoods full of tapas bars, and their locals hop from bar to bar enjoying a tapa here and another tapa there. That doesn’t happen in Barcelona, even if we’ve lately adopted this fun way of eating and adapted it to our (healthier and more Mediterranean) taste. BTW, don’t know what a tapa is? Check this other post before you continue reading.
However, there is one similar food tradition that could be considered the “Catalan” tapa equivalent: going for a vermut. And despite what it might sound like, it’s not just about drinking Martini (not about Martini at all, actually). I grew up in a Catalan family where every Sunday we had a vermut before a big family lunch.
My grandfather prepared a few snacks that were served on a small table by the terrace, and we all nibbled some potato chips, olives, canned cockles with lemon juice and paprika, anchovies, almonds, Spanish ham shavings or salchichon sausage slices and small cubes of cheese. Most adults would drink beer, my grandfather would serve himself a glass of whisky and my grandmother preferred cherry wine. Kids were given a soda or fruit juice.
Some other times we’d have our vermut at some local bar, but then we wouldn’t order such a large variety: just two or three different things. And some adults would then order a vermouth. That’s what having a vermouth in Barcelona means. By the way, it’s a pre-lunch thing: people wouldn’t do that before dinner. And on days off, not something you have the time to do on week days, as the socializing around the table is an important part of the ritual and for that you can’t be rushed.
This where to go for a vermut in Barcelona:
La Cala del Vermut
It’s probably not the best food of all the options I’m giving you today, but I like the setting, its location (they have actually 2 venues in the same street, plus one more around the corner) is quite central and easy to find near the Gothic Quarter and I love that when they serve your vermouth they bring an oldfashion siphon bottle of soda to add to your drink. It’s lots of fun to do it!
Besides that they have an assortment of fried tapas: Padron green peppers, fried eggplant slices, chorizo sausages… Make sure to order a “tigre”: stuffed musles are one of their specialties. And their cheese cubes macerated in cheese are lovely too. By the way, their staff is said to be a bit unfriendly (but that’s not always been the case when I’ve been there). So if they seem a bit rude just relax and think… it’s part of the experience! LOL
Bar Calders is a favorite restaurant of the hip Sant Antoni district. They have a busy outdoor terrace, and a cozy inside. Arriving early is highly recommended as the tables fill up quickly. Their vermouth list is quite extensive and that got them the prize to the best vermouth bar in Barcelona in 2019.
As for food, they have an interesting selection of traditional tapas with innovative touches. Your choice will never be boring! The bar is named after the Catalan poet Pere Calders, and you’ll see references to him and books spread around the bar decoration.
The three guys at Morro Fi started out with a blog about food and wine in Barcelona back in 2007, and eventually decided to open their own venue three years later – which was an immediate success. Vermouth is a classic of the house and they sell their own brand of red and white (their recipes are secret) and also canned appetizers that can even be bought online. Try their unusual olives stuffed with artichokes, their mojama (tuna jerky) and their canned razor clams.
People staying at the Duquesa de Cardona or The Serras hotels by the Port Vell couldn’t be happier: they have an old favorite around the corner (if you are staying somewhere else you’ll have a harder time finding it hidden in an alley between the port and the Cathedral).
Famous for their only three tapas (spectacular fried sardines, butifarra pork sausage and a lovely tomato and onion salad, all three served in tiny dishes), many people love ordering wine there to drink as they serve it in a traditional porró (Catalan glass recipient that will challenge your target practice).
But vermouth lovers will also find here the oldest Catalan vermouth brand (and maybe oldest in Spain too): Perucchi, made since 1876 with wine aged with over 50 different macerated herbs. Good to know: they won the Award to the Best Vermouth Spot in Barcelona 2010 by the Time Out Magazine.
Vermuteria del Tano
You’ll often see there gypsies, members of a well integrated community of the neighborhood (and gypsies love giving nicknames to their friends and relatives). You’ll love its old-fashioned decoration with aged barrels, marble tables and vintage ads. Do like locals do and arrive on a weekend around 1PM, squeeze between the crowd to find a place to stand by the counter and order a glass of vermouth, some potato chips with their home-made dressing, a plate of stuffed olives and some canned clams. Yum and fun!
What would be your favorite place to try vermouth 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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