For seasoned juerguistas (ravers), Barcelona nightlife is hard to beat. From sundown to sunrise there’s a venue for every taste and the streets buzz as if it were midday. For early evening, wet your whistle at atmospheric cocktail bars Boadas at Tallers 1, famed for its mojitos, and long-established Dry Martini at Aribau 162, or seek out a terrace bar in one of Gràcia’s many squares, where a young, laid-back crowd gather.
The scene really hots up after midnight, much of it centred on the Old Town, where a few remnants of the old Barri Xino mingle with hot new nightspots and restaurants like Iposa at Floristes de la Rambla 14, that are open for drinks well past midnight. El Born is still the place to go for classics like Gimlet (Santaló 46) or Berimbau (Passeig del Born 17), while the Plaça Reial in the Gothic Quarter has every kind of nightspot from disco Karma to Sidecar, with its live gigs.
Uptown, some of the original 1980s designer bars and clubs are still going strong, such as Otto Zutz with its three dance floors, and Ommsession, hip hotel Omm’s club. Bling Bling is a very chic, upmarket club with swagger, challenging these old favourites, and Sala Apolo and Razzmatazz are two of the coolest spots in town.
Halfway up Tibidabo is Mirablau, a bar-club with a thrilling panoramic view of the city. Irresistible in the summer are the beach bars or chiringuitos on every beach from La Barceloneta to Diagonal Mar, where you can dance till dawn with the sand between your toes.
Feeling in the mood for something seriously cultural? A concert at the Palau de la Música, the modernista masterpiece, is a fabulous experience, whatever the performance is. The varied programme includes chamber and symphony concerts, contemporary music and occasionally jazz.
Barcelona’s famous opera house, Gran Teatre del Liceu, hosts extravagant and avant-garde productions and a short ballet season. Tickets are hard to get, despite its seating capacity, but it’s worth a try. L’Auditori (Plaça de les Arts), home of the OBC (Barcelona Symphony Orchestra), has a 2,500-seat auditorium and a smaller one for chamber concerts.
Flamenco is not a Catalan tradition, but some tablaos – live flamenco performances – are staged for tourists. And of course, it’s great fun to tap your heels along to the castanets – who needs to be a regional dance purist? Tablao Flamenco Cordobés is the most popular, while El Patio Andaluz also puts on sevillanas, traditional Andalusian music. There are also daily shows at El Tablao de Carmen in the Poble Espanyol. One of the most authentic shows is at Los Tarantos in Plaça Reial. Live jazz can be found most nights at Harlem Jazz Club in the Gothic Quarter, fused with an intoxicating mix of world music and flamenco. Jamboree in the Plaça Reial is also good. Luz de Gas presents jazz, rock and soul, and it also becomes a dance venue after midnight.
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