Barcelona's Best Bars and Clubs for an Unforgettable Night on the Town

Barcelona's nightlife scene is one of the most electric in the country, if not in Europe. As the city continues to jump in the rankings for the most desirable holiday destination, new clubs and trendy cocktail bars are springing up all over town, especially in the city center. Ciutat Vella (Old City), is what locals refer to as the downtown core. It's made up of several neighborhoods, including the most historic Gothic Quarter, the chic Barrio Born, the more rustic Raval as well as the Barceloneta right along the Mediterranean. If you're looking to have an incredible time in the city center, you'll have more than enough options from which to choose, between these neighborhoods. The Gothic Quarter in particular is always hopping as there are more bars per capita and since most of them don't require a cover charge, it's not unusual to spend the night jumping from club to club. If you're into funk, R & B, house, heavy metal or want to listen to Taylor Swift's greatest hits, there's a disco with your name on it. Plaza Reial is particularly popular, and although it's very touristy in the plaza itself, if you venture into one of the many side streets surrounding the plaza, you'll come across several local dive bars. If you're brave enough to pull up a stool and order a beer, you'll be sure to experience an authentic Barcelona night on the town. 


Poblet Sec

Not only does Robadors 23 feature great live music venues and incredibly cheap tapas, but they also have Flamenco shows depending on the evening (usually Fridays and Saturdays are good bets). Located on the edge of the Raval neighborhood and close to the up and coming Poble Sec bario, Robadors 23 is a rustic, off the beaten path restaurant/bar/live music and performance lounge. Their mix of jazz, blues and local Flamenco provide for a fun and intimate atmosphere. The bar itself is fairly small so it's best to show up as early as possible if you want to get a seat. Be sure to order their patatas bravas tapas.

Recommended for Best of Barcelona's City Center because: An out of the way Bar and an authentic Barcelona live music experience

Sam's expert tip: No entrance fee if you order food

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This chic nightclub serves a varying choice of music, including hip-hop, jazz and Latin beats. The venue is split level with a dance club downstairs and live Spanish music upstairs. Most nights the place (downstairs) kicks off with live music and then later transforms into trendy and lively club. If you're looking to dance until the sun comes up, then Jamboree is a great choice. Situated in Plaza Reial in the heart of the Gothic Quarter, right off La Rambla, it's surrounded by plenty of other bars and clubs, all with a variety of music. Most places don't charge admission and if they do it includes a drink.

Recommended for Best of Barcelona's City Center because: An excellent place to dance to top 40 beats in Plaza Reial

Sam's expert tip: Arrive before the dj and mixed drinks are half price (selected evenings check website)

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This is a definite local hot spot or a place to frequent for those 'in the know'. One of Barcelona's best live music venues, El Paraigua is a swanky, cocktail and live music bar/lounge, located in the heart of the Gothic Quarter. Just around the corner from Plaza Sant Jaume, the top floor is a local restaurant, but if you head downstairs, you'll be privy to a world of live jazz, blues and delicious drinks. Always buzzing, El Paraigua is usually busiest on weekends, however it's open every day. Their restaurant also has a great outdoor patio which is excellent especially during the summer.

Recommended for Best of Barcelona's City Center because: El Paraigua features live music underground in a beautiful and intimate lounge

Sam's expert tip: Get there early on Fridays and Saturdays if you want a seat on the couch

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Live music in one of the Gothic Quarter's most rustic bars, Harlem Jazz Club is one of the most well known and renowned Barcelona hang outs. Always ripe with a killer weekly line up of funk, blues, Brazilian music, Cuban pop/rock and jazz and all featuring incredible up and coming musicians, this is an excellent place to get a taste of the 'real' music scene in the city. Depending on the night, you'll either be able to see a live show or witness stellar djs, but no matter which night you decide to go it's always a lively and electric atmosphere.

Recommended for Best of Barcelona's City Center because: There's no better place to watch live music in the Gothic Quarter than here

Sam's expert tip: For more well known bands be sure to get tickets in advance via the website

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A relaxed and stylie, primarily girl cocktail bar and pub, amBar is still equally welcoming to gays and straights. They have comfy couches, low-key music and a free pool table, providing for an inviting atmosphere and a nice way to kick off the evening in the heart of the Eixample neighborhood. Their happy hour deals vary daily, with a vast selection of innovative drinks including vodka mixes, martini specials as well as cheap beer. This is an excellent place to start the evening with a few affordable beverages before continuing the evening with dinner and dancing at one of the trendy bars/clubs right around the corner.

Recommended for Best of Barcelona's City Center because: amBar is one of the Raval's best low key bars/clubs

Sam's expert tip: Be sure to try their signature cocktails (on the menu)

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This club, bar, restaurant, cocktail lounge and above all one of Barcelona's greatest party venues is just a stone's throw from the beach and hosts some of Barcelona's most beautiful people nightly. Once the sun goes down the restaurant transforms into a lively club featuring well known resident DJ's and very often themed parties. The space is large and the atmosphere is intense and full of excitement, especially if you're looking to party until the sun comes up. Shoko is beside CDLC and Opium club and is both the cheesiest and least pretentious of the three. Yet you still need to dress accordingly if you want to be let in.

Recommended for Best of Barcelona's City Center because: Shoko is a super fun club with a quirky vibe

Sam's expert tip: Put your name on the list via Facebook or their website, in order to skip the lines, especially on weekends.

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Photo courtesy of CDLC Barcelona

See and Be Seen at Carpe Diem Lounge Club (CDLC). Posh, chic and trendy if you're up for an expensive and elegant night out this is the place to be. This bar, restaurant and lounge has an exclusive VIP area, often frequented by football players but available to anyone as long as you buy a bottle of alcohol (usually 130 Euros minimum). If you're in the mood to experience a more sophisticated evening with great views of the boardwalk, loud music and tons of people, then this is an excellent choice. If you're in town for a while it's worth checking out just once.

Recommended for Best of Barcelona's City Center because: CDLC is Barcelona's club if you want to be and be seen

Sam's expert tip: Put your name on the Facebook list if you want to avoid long lines

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Opium Mar

Ladies throw on the heels and guys switch up the board shorts for trousers, if you want to get past the bouncers at Opium Mar. Overlooking the beach and located next to the elegant Hotel Arts, Opium is one of the hottest nightclubs in town, acting as a restaurant, bar, lounge and club all in one. If you plan on hitting the town for the night, go for dinner at Opium and then stay and watch as the restaurant slowly transforms itself into party central just a little after 12am (while avoiding the lines outside). Be sure to put your name on the list, especially on weekends.

Recommended for Best of Barcelona's City Center because: One of the best clubs by the beach where you can throw on your finest cocktail dress

Sam's expert tip: Saturday nights often have drinks specials

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One of Barcelona's oldest and coolest nightclubs, City Hall is your best bet for late night music, great people and a sure bet for a fabulous evening. With two floors and a small outdoor patio, the club holds a lot of people and is always packed. Situated close to La Rambla at the bottom of Rambla Catalunya, you're in the heart of the city which makes it easy to hop a cab or grab the metro once the lights go off at 6am. The various floors feature different genres of music so if you're not into what's playing on the first level, just walk upstairs.

Recommended for Best of Barcelona's City Center because: It's one of the liveliest clubs on the edge of the Eixample and Old City

Sam's expert tip: Check the schedule for ladies night.

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A Barcelona staple, Macarena Club has been around for years and to locals and tourists alike it is a late night gem. But be sure to arrive early (by 1:30am) as the club is tiny and once it reaches capacity, the doors shut. If you're looking for a mix of house and electronic beats this is the place to go. Centrally located in the Gothic Quarter, it's easy to find and easier to stumble home from, especially if you're staying downtown. The club stays open until 6am, so be sure to make it your last stop if you're hopping around the city center.

Recommended for Best of Barcelona's City Center because: Macarena is the Gothic Quarter 'go-to' club and where most people end up after a big night

Sam's expert tip: Great place for a private party

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Meet Sam Mednick

Sam’s passion for the sea and mountains makes Barcelona the optimal living destination. 

Sam's love for traveling has taken her to Africa, the Middle East, Europe and South America. Before...  More About Sam