Barcelona has several fantastic bars in which to relax during the day or in the evening. They offer great opportunities to hang out with your friends, meet new people, or just have a drink. However, most of the legal bars in Barcelona open during the day and close no later than 2:30 or 3:00 am. For some people, this is way too early. You may have already heard that in Barcelona the nightlife starts really late. What a shame when you come into the city only to suddenly find out that all the bars are closing. You might not be in the mood to dance and thus not want to spend the rest of the night in a nightclub.
Maybe you prefer drinking in a nice and quiet place where you can talk to people and have fun without extremely loud music and people dancing all around you. Barcelona´s secret bars do not open early, and they stay open until the early morning. However, secret underground bars are difficult to find unless you know where to look!
Secret bars came to exist as a result of the housing crisis, during which people in Barcelona were not able to pay to live in their houses any longer. This led to many unoccupied houses and dissatisfied tenants and people unable to get a job. Squatters (okupas) took over these houses and transformed them into authentic, cool drinking establishments. The bars are underground, so do not expect a ”fancy” atmosphere when you get there. Often the bars are marked with graffiti, holes in the walls, mismatched chairs or sofas, etc.
Where to find these bars?
These bars are especially difficult to find as they are well-hidden throughout the city. Rumor has it that there are around 40 secret bars in Barcelona, though this number is constantly changing as the police shut them down as soon as they find out about them.
Most of the time you can recognize these bars by their graffiti or paintings in and outside the bar. The easiest way to discover the secret bars of Barcelona is to go with locals who know where to find them. Most of these establishments are located in the neighborhoods of Gracia, El Raval and El Gotico. We did some research and compiled a list of them for you to try out this weekend!
- El Mariachi Bar – El Mariachi is a bar owned by the famous band Manu Chao. The place is very difficult to find, though it is located on the corner of Carrer dels Codols and Carrer d’en Rull, in the heart of Gótico. It’s a really tiny, quirky, colourful bar that is characterized by its relaxed and fun atmosphere. If you are lucky, you might even get to witness a live jam-session with Manu Chao himself! This place is also very popular among the musicians of Barcelona and one of their favorite spots to hang out. Where: Carrer dels Còdols 14, Barcelona. To find the perfect accommodation near El Mariarchi, check out our apartments in el Gótico.
- Papillon – The Papillon is very difficult to find. The bar is hidden in a dark, tiny street and before 3:00 am there is nobody around there. The place opened very recently in the El Borne neighborhood. Drinks are a tad on the price side. You can only recognize the bar by its metal graffiti door, which you have to knock on until they will let you in. Where: Carrer de la Neu de Sant Cugat, Barcelona. To find the perfect accommodation near Papillon, check out our apartments in el Born.
- El Armario – This is another secret bar known only by locals of the city. It is located in the El Raval neighborhood. To enter the bar you have to first climb through a hole in the wall and through the owners’ wardrobe! From there you enter a small bar. You will never know if the bar is open or not, since this depends on whether the owners feels like opening for the night. Where: Carrer de la Riereta, Barcelona. To find the perfect accommodation near El Armario, check out our apartments in el Raval.
- Bar Mutis (Mut) – Bar Mut is known as the best-kept-secret bar of Barcelona. This bar is very exclusive, and you can only go in if you are invited by someone who is already a member. The bar is described by the owner as ”the type of place where a model might stand up to sing on stage, an actor might pick up a guitar and start playing or a politician might make an impromptu speech. But nothing that happens there leaves the front door.¨ Where: Pau claris 192, Barcelona. To find the perfect accommodation near Bar Mut, check out our apartments in el Eixample.
- Pipas Social Club – Pipas is perhaps the least secret ¨secret bar” in Barcelona. It is located in Placa Reial and used to be a smoking lounge. To this day it maintains the elegant and dark atmosphere inside. To get in, you first have to ring the doorbell at the front of a house, then go up the stairs to find the bar. You can play pool at Pipas Social Club or just relax with a drink. Where: Placa Reial 3, Barcelona