Something of a general entry this one, prompted by a very pleasant afternoon drinking vermouth on a terrace. (more of this later). It is fair to say that most of you visiting the city will, at some point, take a small sherry to enhance the Barcelona experience, others will swally Michelle McManus’s bodyweight in alcohol and, in all probability, pish themselves. I suggest finding the middle ground between these two options is recommended.
I hope the subtext of these entries has now become clear, i.e Do the tourist bus thing to see the sights and then head off the beaten track for your scran and swally needs. For that reason there will be no mention of where you can get a good pint of Guinness(the reality is, you can’t) if you want that, go to Glasgow and head to Heraghty’s in Pollockshaws Road. The message here is when in Barcelona drink the local snort.
First up is beer, the local brew is Estrella Damm, and damn fine it is too. In most of the areas I’ve recommended so far you should be paying around 1.60€ a bottle, which is nice. My only warning is that don’t be fooled by the ease with which it slips down. It has a very acceptable 5.4% ABV so it does have the capability to take you into incontinence territory. At the moment Sam Miguel are trying to break Estrella’s stranglehold on the city by selling their beer at a discount, as a consequence they are doing 5.4% San Miguel at a euro a bottle. God bless you, Adam Smith.
Next up are yer spirits, nothing really to report here other than a recommendation for you rum drinkers, the local gear, Pujol, is a very decent gargle. The issue with spirits isn’t the brands, you’ll find your normal tipple most places, it’s the volume. If you are in a bar away from the tourist traps and order a spirit and mixer then be prepared. It costs anything between 4 and 5 euro which in UK terms may appear steep. The reality is that you get anything between 3 and 5 measures in the glass. If the Mrs and have a “cubata” I have usually to take “one for the team” by swallying the first inch in the glass so she can get some of the mixer in. I am nothing if not a considerate husband.
It is one of the dangers of daytime drinking, in particular, that you may not realise that you have imbibed a huge cargo despite only having “had a couple”
This post was prompted by a place that we came across on the walk with the dog yesterday at the very top of Nou De Rambla at Monjuic Park, Bar Seco.
When we sat down we noticed that everyone was sitting with little glasses of what looked like wine, containing ice, a slice of orange and a couple of olives. Checking the sign outside the bar we noticed they specialised in vermouth. Yes, vermouth, wanna fight about it? Now, vermouth for me means one thing, Martini, memories of shit TV adverts and drinking it out the bottle at parties as it was the only thing left came flooding back. A couple of Yzaguirres were ordered, duly dispatched, two more etc. etc. Summer mulled wine is as good a description as any. Very pleasant.
Bars that specialise in certain drinks are not unusual here, my tip is to keep your eyes open, look at what everyone else is drinking, and if there is a pattern developing, get involved. As I pointed out in an earlier post about the Champaneria, it is the Cava Rosado that most people drink so don’t swim against the tide. They are drinking it because they know something you don’t.
When it comes to speciality bars there is one I really should mention. Bar Marsella, on Carrer San Pau. There will be no photographs, taken by me, of this place posted, there will be no reseach visit as ah’m no allowed to go by the wife. It has nothing to do with the fact that it is slap bang in the middle of the dodgiest area in the Raval or that the decor and the clientele are like a scene from Dusk Till Dawn. It has something to do with the fact that I used to live 10 minutes walk from the place and on one notable occasion it took me one hour to walk home.
The reason? This bar’s speciality is Absinthe, not a beverage associated with a low-key evening of civilised drinking. It is also not harmonious marital relationship friendly either.
All joking apart (I’m actually not joking, this place is batshit mental as is the area it’s in) it is worth a visit. Just remember Jimbo’s “Don’t be a wee fanny” advice about the Raval area.