City GuidesFood & Drink

Retro revival: Barcelona’s coolest vintage bars

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Barcelona’s storied past comes alive at many of the city’s charmingly weathered drink dives where, for decades, the classic gintonic (G&T) was the undisputed king of the night. But a recent wave of craft-centric cocktails bars has swept Europe, and Barcelona has, thankfully, come along for the ride. Run by young trendsetters and veteran barmen alike, these watering holes mix time-honoured spirits with unique flavourings in stylishly relaxed, retro settings. Ranging from newly-minted vintage to old school establishments, here are a few notable options all within comfortable walking distance from Hotel Indigo Barcelona:

A bar within a bar

For discerning fans of high-quality sandwiches and idiosyncrasy, The Pastrami Bar might be your promised land. It’s not much to look at, but that’s only because it’s a front for Paradiso, a hopping speak-easy behind a refrigerator door. Paradiso serves kooky cocktails designed by award-wining mixologist Giacomo Gianotti in everything except for glasses—seashell anyone? Try the Mediterranean Treasure, a tasty blend of Ketel One Vodka and sherry, infused with other fine (proprietary) flavours. Fortunate patrons might be tapped on the shoulder by co-owner Lito Baldovinos to visit the loo, “where the real party resides.” Before you gawk at the idea, the “loo” refers to a hidden mirror door leading to yet another hidden bar (within a bar within a pastrami bar). Madness ensues.

What’s in a name?


Photo courtesy of Old Fashioned Gin Tonic & Cocktail Bar

Old Fashioned Gin Tonic & Cocktail Bar is anything but “old fashioned.” This swanky corner bar, just off of the ritzy Paseo de Gracia, has all the makings of a ’40s-style gin joint: black and white with red quilted booths, framed prints on the walls, and dashing barmen in braces. But, master mixologists Bruno & Luca have decadently modern takes on vintage spirits and classic cocktails. They have been spotted with everything from jellybean dispensers to ice-encrusted cocktail shakers. As Bruno puts it, all drinks are prepared according to “your mood of the moment.” Try the namesake cocktail paired with any whiskey in stock, a bevy of garnishes, and a pinch of imagination.

Classics never go out of style


Photo by: Jordi Poch

When a dapper gent in a white coat and bow tie directs you towards the pristine prep area and asks, “How do you like your martini?” you know he means business. Dry Martini is a loving tribute to the quintessential 1950’s English martini bar, complete with wood panelling, brass fixtures, a mirrored bar, and plush leather seating.

“We serve many classic cocktails”, says veteran barman Ceferino Sierra, “but what brings people back are our martinis, served with care and nostalgia.” Well said, sir.

Mary had a little bar


At Alessandro Pasquiucci’s Bloody Mary Cocktail Bar, the time of day dictates the drink choice. For an afternoon pick-me-up, opt for a Bloody Mary Mediterraneo, which mixes up the classic recipe with gin mare, olive juice, Tio Pepe, fresh basil, and Pasquiucci’s “secret ingredient.” Sundown is reserved for the spikier Yokohama Martini, made with vodka, sake, raspberry liqueur, rose syrup, lemons, egg whites, and bitters. Cosy and classic with its chesterfield sofa, polished wood bar counter, and industrial beams, this retro-fab bar is perfect for lounge lizards with a penchant for signature swigs.

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