One thing I love about living on the Mediterranean Sea is that even though summer is officially over in the rest of Europe, by the time September starts and the kids have to get back to school again (and unfortunately adults back to work), here it still stretches out for a looong time before you have to browse the closet for jeans and light jackets. So even though we have left the hot summer days of August behind, you still have (at least) another month to enjoy beautiful balmy summer evenings out on terraces, sipping a caña (glass of beer) and sharing patatas bravas or another yummy tapa with friends and family, or all by yourself (the pleasure of sitting on your own, watching the world go by, is generally very much underestimated).
Upon strolling through the streets and alleyways of Barcelona, you will find that there is a never-ending number of terraces tempting you to stop whatever you’re doing and sit down for a cold drink. However, a few of them are so well-hidden that the casual ‘walker-by’ would not even suspect that behind unassuming facades and small doors, true gems and oasis’ of peace are waiting to be discovered.
I have selected three hidden gems, all for various reasons, in case you want to wander off the beaten track and discover a different face of the city:
1) The alternative local hangout: L’Antic Teatre
Just a few steps away from the famous Art Nouveau concert hall Palau de la Música Catalana, the brave will find a very authentic local hangout behind a shabby little door and a dark staircase. Welcome to L’Antic Teatre, an alternative theatre and art venue founded in 1879 and housed in a building whose construction dates back to 1650! Aside from being a reference point for independent contemporary performance, L’Antic Teatre also offers a shady courtyard with a bar that is en vogue amongst the young and alternative crowd in the city. Very reasonable prices and a relaxed atmosphere, as well as free WIFI contribute to its popularity. However, do not expect a posh establishment or sophisticated vibe – this is where the young local crowd and some yet to be discovered artists hang out. Maybe you will get to meet the next Javier Bardem, who knows?
2) The best view over the port of Barcelona: “1881” in the Museu d’Història de Catalunya
Now if you are looking for a unique view over beautiful Port Vell and the medieval barrio gótico of Barcelona, then 1881 is the place to go. Hidden on the top floor of the Museum of the History of Catalunya in the Palau del Mar building, the restaurant terrace rewards the adventurous with an amazing view and delicious Mediterranean cuisine. Just walk in the main entrance of the museum and go straight to the elevators (the staff is very friendly, just ask for the restaurant if you cannot find it in the first place). You do not have to pay the entrance fee to the museum, if you just want to go to the restaurant. Once you are on the top floor, go into the restaurant and step out onto the terrace. Especially in the early evening, when the sun starts to set, the view is spectacular. The restaurant offers traditional Mediterranean food in a nice and elegant surrounding and is usually open for lunch and dinner. However, since opening hours can vary and sometimes depend on the museum schedule, call in advance to book a table. “Restaurant 1881 per Sagardi”, telephone: +34 932210050.
3) A secret gem in the heart of the barrio gótico: the rooftop terrace of Hotel Felip Neri
Lost in the maze of the enchanting, but often bustling alleys of the barrio gótico? Looking for an oasis of peace and quiet on the hidden rooftop terrace of a Medieval palace? Nestled in between the former Jewish quarter and the cathedral, you find the exclusive boutique hotel Felip Neri on the homonymous quaint square which served as the backdrop to famous movie productions such as Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”, Tom Tykwer’s “The perfume” or American pop group Evanescence’s video clip for the song “My Immortal”.
Few people know however, that there is a tiny and neat little terrace on the roof of the hotel that opens at five o’clock in the afternoon until midnight. Depending on the season and staff situation, the bar up there is not always open, but this does not mean that you have to miss out on a drink and a little snack. Just walk into the hotel through the main entrance, and ask the friendly staff at the reception desk whether the bar on the rooftop is open. If not, you can order your drink downstairs and they will bring it up for you. Be prepared to spend a few extra euros on this unique experience. But trust me, you will not regret it.
Want more information? Why not get in touch! Visit our website at www.HiThisIsBarcelona.com