Appetising In Barcelona
15 March, 2016
Going out for an aperitif is unquestionably all the rage in Barcelona. Here, it is a pre-lunch ritual, revolving around that heart-warming beverage with herbs and its supporting cast of gastronomic classics such as olives, crisps, mussels, banderillas(pickled appetizers on a cocktail stick), gildas, anchovies and a host of other tasties. A number of cutting-edge gastro varieties have also come into their own, as have a reworking of the classics.
The long-standing, traditional slew of bars for indulging in this not so hidden pleasure has been augmented by new proposals, making Barcelona a veritable paradise for revelling in this “gastro sport”. You can practically tour the city by going from one taproom to the next, although we decline all responsibility for any ensuing hangover or blowout you are likely to experience. We now turn to a selection of venues for giving yourself over to this pleasure on the palate.
Running for just over two years, this bar has managed to elbow its way in among the respectable venues in town. One of its secrets is its broad selection of vermouths – there are up to 40 options to choose from – particularly those they make themselves. Another key to their success is their tapas, notably the papas bravas, a genuine delicacy.
Located at 22 Calle Montcada, in the heart of the Born, this is a classic among classics, where tourists and locals mingle in uncanny harmony. This small wine cellar with its classical air is usually packed, so you are advised to get there early if you want a seat. Their anchovies are the best in town and their ham is sheer delight.
Vermuteria el Tano
A real classic in the Gracia district, with appropriate decor included – casks, old-fashioned fridges and countless objects from the past. They have a magnificent array of cold tapas to accompany your vermouth or beer. This bar has a grass-roots atmosphere, continually livened up by the congenial service dispensed by Tano, its current owner.
This tiny bar on Calle Consell de Cent harbours an intense pleasure – that of savouring a glass of well pulled beer. Manel, the most prominent figure in this bar, takes great pains to serve up a fine vermouth – they are sourced in Reus, the classical purveyor and most noted vermouth-producing town. He also has excellent munchies, like the French fries with mussels and olives and a touch of pungent sauce, which is finger-licking delicious. The family has grown in recent years, so die-hards of this venue have two other alternatives in the Sant Gervasi district, namely Mitja Vida and Dalt de Tot. And, here you can also pick up an aperitif kit wrapped in a simple, original design.
As mentioned above, some spots have splashed out on new trends in tapas, and this wine bar, with Albert Adrià at the helm, has endowed the appetizer ritual with an avant-garde flourish. His vermouth – La Cala – is homemade and his tapas are both innovative and top-notch. Interestingly, this innovation strikes a contrast with the classical decor in the bar.
Gran Bodega Saltó
This unusual bodega is located in Poble Sec, another district to bear in mind if you’re into appetisers. On entering, newcomers are struck by the decor, featuring old barrels clashing with a host of interspersed , ill-matched objects cramming the display cabinets and the area at the back of the tavern. It is well worth visiting, but not only for its outlandish decoration, as here your aperitif and tapas are accompanied by live music.
Ready to explore the bars of Barcelona in search of the best vermouth? Check out our flights here.
Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS
15 March, 2016