We’ve guided you on a tour through the oldest bars in Italy, letting you in on some interesting trivia and stories about them along the way. Then we set off on a trip to discover the most fascinating international cafes, with the old cafes of romantic Paris. And now it’s time for the next leg of our tour: so now, get ready to visit the historical cafes of Barcelona.
Enjoying a coffee in three historical cafes in Barcelona
Cafes in Barcelona: Bar Marsella
Opened back in 1820, in the main road of the Raval neighbourhood, Bar Marsella has retained the same structure and interior and even the same (renovated) furniture as in times gone by; its décor resembling the style fashionable back in the age of Bohemian France.
When you step inside, you are still met by that same odour of weathered wood that has hung in the air in the main room since the olden days. And in fact, everything in this cafe screams history: the floors, the furniture and the mirrors, the drawings on the walls, the bottles with faded labels and a high ceiling of the kind no longer found in modern buildings.
Many important people have been patrons of the cafe over the years. In the early 1900s, its tables hosted the likes of Gaudì, Picasso, Mirò, Hemingway and even eccentric genius Dalì. Its notable patronage is one of the reasons why Bar Marsella in Barcelona still draws artists of every genre and current today, in addition to many art history enthusiasts.
Cafes in Barcelona: Casa Almirall
Another treasure in Raval, strategically located on the corner between Carrer de Joaquín Costa and Carrer de Ferlandina, is the cafe known as Casa Almirall, first opened in 1860. Considered the oldest modernist bar in Barcelona, it still has its original rooms, although these were renovated and extended in 1977.
Inside, wood is the material that reigns supreme: from the furniture to the walls, the bar counter, and the wall-mounted spirit cabinet. The environment is very intimate, and the atmosphere is warm and cosy, ideal for a couple due to the moon-shaped decorations over the tables. And today, just like in the past, vermouth and absinthe are still served.
Here, as well as tasting a delicious coffee, you can also sample the varied food menu, served all day long, and into the small hours.
Cafes in Barcelona: London Bar
On Rue de la Rambla you’ll find the London Bar, established in 1910. Another of Barcelona’s historical cafes frequented by masters of the past such as Picasso, Dalì and Hemingway, today it is a favourite with their modern counterparts, including many up-and-coming artists and performers. In fact, the bar has always offered live music, performed today, as it was back then, on the small stage behind the bar.
The atmosphere inside is old-fashioned, also because of the original furniture, suitably restored. An enormous, curved mirror in a wooden frame, hangs over the bar counter, hosting the spirits. The London Bar is both cafe and pub, open all hours and capable of tantalising the palates of the widest variety of patrons.
When you go to Barcelona, order a nice cappuccino with the city’s characteristic churros, for a real treat! And if stories about historical cafes in Italy and abroad are your thing, you’ll find lots more food for thought in our articles dedicated to coffee around the world!