Not IN BED: Barcelona

Words & Images by Sophie McComas

We spent an indulgent month in Barcelona this year, which was long enough to feel snobbishly local. When friends came to visit we swanned around the city, showing it off like it was ours. We went back to the same bar three Sunday nights in a row, tried all the good coffee in town and lined up for fried eggs with baby squid for breakfast in the middle of the market. We tried to juice every drop out of that city, here’s a taste of what we found:

Bar Mut

With low lighting and classy service, Bar Mut serves some of the best seafood in the area, plus cool wines and a Paris vibe. Don’t miss the mussels with plankton, cooked in cava.

La Pubilla

This little neighbourhood restaurant is set right near the market in Gracia, where they get all their produce. It has one of the best set-lunch menus in town at three courses for something like $15. Book ahead.


Greek, jam-filled doughnuts and coffee, that’s about it! There are two locations, one in Raval and one in Gracia.

El Quim de la Boqueria

Don’t miss this rambunctious and slightly psycho counter restaurant in the middle of Spain’s biggest market, La Boqueria (the only good thing on the Rambla). Sit at the bar, order vermut and fried eggs with baby squid or prawns with cava and watch the bartenders party as hard as they work, especially when the fùtbol is on.

La Cova Fumada

Carrer del Baluart, 56, Barcelona

This tiny, old-school bar down by the water is packed within 10 minutes of opening. It’s home of the bomba – potato croquettes filled with mince and topped with aioli. Cold beers and fried snacks = delicious and laid back.

Morro Fi

Meet your new friend vermut. Black and slightly sweet, vermouth is the only aperitif to drink in Barcelona. Morro Fi is the king of vermut, and its bars across the city are the coolest places to drink it. They serve conserved things in tins like fish, olives and pickled mussels over thick potato chips, but use them only as an excuse to order another round.

Bar Brutal

This bar-restaurant near El Born serves only wild, natural wines and fresh, delicious snacks. It also has an interesting interior full of taxidermy and papier-mâché animals. Loads of fun.

Quimet & Quimet

A Barcelona institution. It’s basically one tiny room, and three out of four walls are lined with booze. Order beers and some of the tiny, cheeseburger things and stay forever until they kick you out.

Garage Beer Co

Garage is a craft beer hall and brewery in Saint Antoni with some couches to sink into and long tables built for long sessions. Fun music, too!

Nomad Coffee Lab

A small, lab-style coffee bar that takes itself extremely seriously but the coffee is top-notch. If it’s hot try the cold-drip mixed with cucumber soda. Fresssshhhhh.

La Variété

Fell in love with everything in this gorgeous homewares/lifestyle shop. Lots of wood and raw linen. Heaven.

Vila Viniteca

An incredible, huge wine store. Next door there’s a deli by the same company where you can sit in and eat some cheese, drink some wine and buy some gourmet things to take home.

Bunkers del Carmel

The best 360-degree view you’ll find of Barcelona, seen from a few crumbling wartime bunkers. You have to climb to the top of the city to get there (obviously), but once you do you’ll see why it was worth it. Watch the sun go down and sneak beer up there if you can, but there are guards keeping watch.