Raval used to be known as a no-go area for tourists, but the barrio has cleaned up its act in recent years and is now much more tourist friendly. But there are still some bars that have managed to stay under the radar.
We’ve put together a list of our top five Raval bars so you can drink like a local!
Address: Carrer de Joaquín Costa, 4
Halfway up Carrer Joaquim Costa, 33/45 is the perfect place for an after dinner gin and tonic. Aesthetic is key here, and the salon is furnished with vintage sofás, mismatched armchairs and 60s coffee tables. Its Portlandia style is a big draw for local hipsters, and they host the odd electronic gig at the weekends.
Address: Rambla Raval, 22
This colourful dive bar is a Rambla del Raval favourite where an array of eccentric regulars prop up the bar each night. The decor is a mashup of 50s kitsch and 80s sleaze, and it opens late every night. If you’re thinking of heading along on a Thursday though, be warned – it transforms into a sex bar once a week, with clientele in PVC and wearing masks. Not for the faint of heart!
Address: Carrer del Carme, 63
This bar on Carrer Carme is worth a visit purely for the Catalan art nouveau interior, decorated with beautiful carved wood and etched glass panels. They also mix a great mojito, but you might have to wait for it – service happens at a very relaxed Spanish pace and it’s not unusual for the barman to take your order and then wander outside for a cigarette!
Address: Carrer del Carme, 40
Dostrece, also on Carrer Carme, does the best cocktails in Raval, to be enjoyed while sitting at the floor to ceiling windows and people watching. You’ll need to arrive early for a table at the weekends though – on Fridays and Saturdays it fills with Raval’s most up-to-the-minute crowd sipping drinks and shouting over the music.
Address: Somewhere on Carrer de la Riereta
Last but not least, our favourite bar in Raval, El Armario, is a secret bar on Carrer de Rierera, so named because to enter you have to go through the owner’s wardrobe. Well off the tourist trail, it’s furnished with bits and pieces of old furniture and only opens when the owner feels like it, but the novelty of entering a bar Narnia-style makes it worth a try!