Barcelona’s alternative nightlife
Live music in Barcelona bars is one of the reasons why they are always crowded. There is a real range of concerts to suit every taste. I will talk you through just a couple of the many rock and jazz venues the city has to offer.
Having held more than 4000 concerts since its inception in 2008, it is the musical spine of the Gràcia district. Heliogàbal has seen some of the leading Catalan and Spanish bands, such as Manel or Mishima, grace its stage. The bar doesn’t technically have a separate stage area for band performances, but this is not a hindrance. The intimate bar is well-known for its alternative bands, from acts that are just starting out to some who are already more established. They say the bands that play here today could be famous by tomorrow. Either way, it is a great place to have a drink whilst listening to good music. Find it at: C/ Ramón y Cajal, 80 08012 Barcelona.
Located in the trendy neighbourhood of Poble Sec, this venue hosts some of the best local, national and international bands (Eagles of the Death Metal and the famous Spanish rock band Lori Meyers have played here). All genres are welcome. During the world-famous Primavera Sound music festival, some bands also play on this stage. Find it at: Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 113, 08004 Barcelona.
If you are a fan of jazz, blues and groove, this is your place. Every night, blues ensembles, pianists and trumpeters do their thing here. Situated in the Eixample district, the entrance looks like a clandestine bar. You have to walk down some dark stairs before reaching the basement, where the bar is actually located. But, once there, the name of the bar doesn’t disappoint: they have a large menu of cocktails, serving everything from mojito to daiquiri. What’s more, when the concert is over, you can still enjoy your drinks over music, thanks to local DJs who provide a lively atmosphere until the bar closes. Find it at: Ronda de la Universitat, 35, 08007 Barcelona.
This small music venue is located in Raval, the centre of Barcelona. It belongs to Taller de Músics, the veteran music school, pioneers in the area for teaching jazz and flamenco in Catalunya. They host concerts and jam sessions of jazz, blues, pop, rock, flamenco and Cuban music on a daily basis. Don’t miss their excellent jam sessions every Wednesday night. Find it at: Carrer de Requesens, 2, 08001 Barcelona.
A famous establishment known for its local bands, most of the time this place has free entry. Its location in the Raval makes this bar a good place to start the night if you are planning on continuing on to other venues across the city. You can try a variety of local beers, like Estrella Damm and Moritz, or stick with a glass of wine or a classic cocktail. If you are hungry, they also serve food, and I recommend their Gipsy burger. Find it at: Carrer de Ferlandina, 55, 08001 Barcelona.
This is the place where the big bands come to when playing in the city. Placebo, Future Islands and the Led Zeppelin Live Experience all feature on this year’s billing. It is good to book in advance because the place usually gets crowded, hosting thousands of people. Aside from hosting concerts, there are more than five halls with all kinds of music being played. Find it at: Carrer dels Almogàvers, 122, 08018 Barcelona.
This Irish pub is really close to La Sagrada Familia. Thanks to its location, you can meet local expats and tourists, with the mix of visitors making the atmosphere of this pub unique. You can enjoy some solid rock band performances, covering everything from Bruce Springsteen to Elvis Presley. It’s worth looking out for their night dedicated to Irish traditional music. Find it at: Plaça de la Sagrada Família, 4, 08013 Barcelona.