I remember being a bit frustrated when I went out at night. I’d heard all about how lively it was, but wandering around the streets of the Gothic Quarter, I saw lots of people who seemed to be going somewhere, while I kept coming across streets full of closed-up shops.
I felt like all those cool “somewheres” must be just around the corner, but I was just missing them…
When I got to know Barcelona better, I realized my suspicions had been 100% right. There are plenty of streets full of happening stuff round the clock – but sometimes it takes a bit of searching to find them.
So, here are some of the coolest streets in Barcelona, where you’re almost guaranteed to have a good time.
Petritxol (Gothic Quarter)
Good for: coffee and cakes, chocolate!
Chocoholics, step this way! Petritxol street is filled with cozy cafés serving up ‘chocolate con churros’. Diet-friendly this is not, but it certainly makes for a luxurious treat on a chilly winter day. (Yes, Barcelona does get a few of them).
The setting on a narrow, centuries-old stony street framed by a Gothic church at the lower end only adds to its charm.
Don’t miss the ceramic tiles on the walls of the street while you’re here. Many display rules about how to be a nice neighbor, and remind residents to do things like drive slowly and be polite to each other.
Good for: coffees, dinner and drinks, date night
While you won’t find many clubs in the bohemian Gràcia district, there are plenty of tantalizing bars and restaurants that make for an excellent night out – and you might end up staying out til 3 in the morning anyway!
This is also where part of the Cines Verdi is, which shows interesting movies in their original language. It’s one of the best places to see movies in English in Barcelona, especially if you’re looking for things other than Hollywood blockbusters.
A great place to start your night is at the picturesque Plaça de la Virreina, a pretty square presided over by a huge church and lined with trees and tapas bars. Work your way down the small street, and you’ll find a handful of cute bars and restaurants that are perfect for a romantic night out.
Rauric and Còdols (Gothic Quarter)
Good for: bar hopping, general drunkery
These two nearly-adjoining streets near Plaça Reial are a surefire way to find a great drinking spots in the city. From dive bars to cocktail lounges, there are all sorts of fantastic places to drink here. Start at the top near C/Ferran and make your way down until your group can decide on a place that suits their fancy that night.
There are also plenty of pizza places and a handful of kebab joints in case you get a case of the “drunchies.”
Be extra-careful of pickpockets here. This section of the Gothic Quarter is full of tourists drinking the night away – in other words, easy targets. Don’t be one of them!
Ample and de la Mercé (Gothic Quarter)
Good for: bar hopping, more drunkery
Similar Rauric, this is a nearly guaranteed spot to find a watering hole that suits your party plans.
These long streets cut through a huge swathe of the Gothic Quarter’s lower end, and have just about any kind of bar you could want, from campy cocktail bars to traditional fisherman’s taverns, and even an Irish pub or two.
Curiously, there are quite a few Asturian bars around here too (though not many in the rest of Barcelona). Try your hand at pouring ‘sidra’ and enjoy it with strong Cabrales blue cheese. Or, sample the ‘leche de pantera’ – panther’s milk – a painfully sweet and efficient way to get tipsy.
Joaquín Costa (Raval)
Good for: bars, quirky atmosphere
The Raval is always a safe bet if you want to do some people-watching, and Joaquín Costa street is full of some particularly curious characters. It’s got a mix of halal butchers, trendy design shops, and funky bars. Plus, there’s an equally diverse crowd strolling between the offerings.
There are plenty of spots to choose from to start your night out here. You’ll be right in the heart of the old city center – so you’ll be well-positioned for a long night out.