One of the most loved aspects of the Mediterranean lifestyle – apart from the cuisine – is the tendency to spend time socialising outdoors. Squares, or plaças, have been a focal point for civic life since Roman times, and contemporary Barcelona has plenty of these open-air hubs of activity, each with their own vibe. You’ve probably already fought your way through the pigeons on Plaça Catalunya. But have you discovered these spots yet?
1 Cocktails & Falafels in Rambla del Raval
Say hello to the giant cat statue, then cast your gaze along the Rambla del Raval to see what takes your fancy. Hotel Barceló’s roof terrace has great views and cocktails, Barraval offer tasty dishes, and Kapadokya make the best falafels in town.
2 Artisan markets in Plaça del Pi
Located in the heart of the Gothic district, this square is an oasis of contrasts. The Gothic church of Santa María del Pí hosts regular Spanish guitar concerts. Artisan stalls sell local products such as cheese, preserves and cakes, and artists showcase their work.
3 Traditional tapas in Plaça de la Barceloneta
This seafront district has plenty of great tapas spots. Local favourites include the Barça supporters’ haven Jai-ca (Ginebra 13), which offers a varied selection of seafood and vegetarian tapas, and Bar Bitácora (Balboa 1), which has generous portions of freshly made specialties, wonderful salads, and a pleasant covered terrace at the back.
For an open-air meal we suggest heading to L’Ostia in Plaça de la Barceloneta for tapas and ‘raciones’, larger portions, of classic dishes. The restaurant opposite, Can Ganassa, has a more touristy feel.
4 Shandies in Plaça del Sol
Venture up towards Gràcia and discover its characteristic squares. The bars on Plaça del Sol have large terraces where you can watch gypsy guitarists strumming a deep lament, street performers practicing their latest moves, and children playing. Sol Soler do great veggie tapas, Sol de Nit mix a mean mojito, and local artists exhibit inside Joali.
5 Nightlife in Plaça Reial
Just off La Rambla and always buzzing with action, Plaça Reial is lined with restaurants, bars and nightclubs that will keep party animals entertained until sunrise. Jamboree offers live jazz and blues concerts, followed by RnB and commercial dance DJ sessions. Tarantos promote live flamenco shows every day. Karma is a classic underground indie rock joint, whilst Ocaña’s DJs spin all the hits.
6 Street Style in Plaça George Orwell
Also known as Plaça Trippy, attempts to “clean up” this crusty hang-out have resulted in more terrace space for the bars. A strange modern art sculpture of a tuberculosis molecule dominates its centre. There is an eclectic mix of skate shops, bike hire, cafés and clothes stalls around this square, as well as a couple of vegan and vegetarian bars.