Gothic Quarter Bars and Nightclubs

The best nightlife spots to drink and dance in Barcelona's oldest district

Happy women taking selfie at nightclub
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The Barrio Gotico's (aka Gothic Quarter's) narrow, sun-starved streets are the ideal habitat for creatures of the night. So it's no surprise some of Barcelona's wildest nightlife is to be found here. From noisy indie discos to live jazz clubs, Barrio Gotico has nightclubs and bars to suit every taste. Here are just a few spots worth checking out.

Indie/Rock Music Clubs

For indie and rock music head for Plaça Reial. Here, opposite the Las Ramblas entrance, are Sidecar (pronounced 'See-de-car') and Karma. Both are underground and can get extremely hot and sweaty on weekend nights. But they play a good mix of rock, have an uninhibited crowd and are riotously good fun. Sidecar also has a good spread of live bands playing there.

Funk, Soul and Latin Music Clubs

Cafe Royale was much missed when it closed down for several years -- but it's back, and with its gold decor, Latin music and dancefloor sharks it's cheesier than ever. It offers a great night out on the town, in an admittedly unprepossessing alley just off Plaça Reial.

Meanwhile, Marula Cafe is a great place to dance to mùsica negra -- in Spain, this means anything vaguely rhythmical, and therefore negra, from funk to salsa. It's on a particularly seedy stretch of El Gotico, between the George Orwell and Plaça Reial squares.

Hip-Hop Clubs

Located under the columned arcades of Plaça Reial, Jamboreeis the place to go for a slice of Afro-Americana in Barcelona. Whether playing the latest hip-hop and R'n'B or showcasing live jazz and soul acts, it's always a winner.

Jazz Clubs

Jazz, soul, and blues acts are the staples at Harlem Jazz Club, which attracts a deliciously nutty crowd to an otherwise quiet Gothic Quarter backstreet.

Barrio Gotico Cocktail Bars

If you're looking for somewhere small and intimate for a cocktail and you happen to be in the vicinity of Plaça ReialLos Alamos is a good option on Carrer Escudellers.

Around the corner, at Carrer Aglà 9 is Shanghai, which has the ambiance of an opium den and is a favorite with young fashionistas. Opposite Shanghai at number 4 is Pilé 43, full of torn old Italian designer furniture and serving up tasty blackberry mojitos.

Another good cocktail bar, and infinitely more spacious, is Margarita Blue on Carrer Josep Anselm Clavé. Its walls are filled with local artwork and besides cocktails, it serves Mexican food.

Beers and Music

For something equally bohemian, but beerier, try either of Plaça George Orwell's famous bars, Oviso or Bahia. They've been around for years and are always packed with a colorful crowd. 

A good little dive for live DJs and cheap drinks is the noisy Malpaso. If you like heavy rock music head to Tequila Bar, a metalheads' institution at Carrer Escudellers no.28. The indie crowd can find something more to their taste in Manchester Bar, which is obscenely popular any night of the week and has cheap shots.

If the evening appears to be over and you don't want it to be, for one last drink or two there's Pipa Club, which overlooks the square and features a pipe museum of sorts, as well as lots of Victorian, pubby-style furnishings. It's a tad expensive, however.