Since quitting my job in the spring of 2015, Andy (who also works remotely) and I had schemed about getting away on an extended work-play trip. We finally took the jump earlier this summer and spent a month adventuring throughout Europe for a little taste of the "digital nomad" life.
We went to seven countries from Russia to Spain. We did and saw A LOT - too much perhaps. One of our favorite cities was our last and longest leg - in Barcelona. We spent almost a week in Barcelona, keeping the 'sights' to a minimum since we were (a lot) a bit burnt out on the tourist thing. We prioritized meandering aimlessly and eating everything. Since I had several of you reach out asking for tips, I created this list of some of our favorites.
Here were some of our favorite spots in Barcelona.
COOL SPOTS + NIGHT LIFE
Casa Bonay (link)
Address: L'Eixample. Gran Via de Les Corts Catalanes, 700.
Oooh heaven is a place on earth. And this is it.
We stumbled upon Casa Bonay by chance, on the hunt for some decent wifi. The wifi was cruising and the decor was a dream. We sat in the deep leather chairs and enjoyed an Americano (from the adjoining coffee shop) while catching up on some work. The environment was relaxed but inspiring, scattered with stylish locals having meetings or perhaps just catching up over an espresso. Everyone seemed to be busy thinking up the 'next big thing'. Even the bathroom is worth a peek - with it's lady fruit wall paper that has me re-thinking all of my style choices.
While we didn't get to enjoy the nightlife or other amenities (I think there may be a rooftop or patio?), I'm sure it's worth looking in to. This place doesn't seem like one to skimp on that sort of thing.
Satan's Coffee Corner (link)
Address: L'Eixample. Gran Via de Les Corts Catalanes, 700. (Same as Casa Bonay.)
I'll never apologize for falling head over heels for every little hipster coffee shop I step into. And this one's no different. This spot serves up serious coffee.
There are a few seats in this surprisingly (given the name) cozy spot, but (in their words, not mine)...
"No Bullshit, No Wifi, No Decaf, No fun for children, Fuck Yelp, Fuck Trip Advisor"
Thankfully (for me) there was wifi, a few steps away in the 'lobby' of Casa Bonay.
Cassette Bar (link)
Address: El Raval. Carrer de l'Est, 11.
Cute, half dive-y, half wannabe-dive-y little bar spot with good cocktails, good noms, and good not-too-crowded vibes. What more could a girl ask for?
Sub Rosa (link)
Fun little cocktail bar with a good environment and aesthetic. Good for a drink and then be on your way - to the next bar!
El Nacional (link)
Address: L'Eixample. Passeig de Gracia, 24.
This place is super cute but crowded AF. The vibe is kind of Eataly (in Chelsea, NYC) slash shit-show Chelsea Market slash Times Square tourist-trap-"fine-dining" (all NYC references to drive the point home). I'd say, it's worth checking out for a drink at the bar - if you can find a seat. We had a glass of wine and some over-priced, under-yummy tapas at the bar while we contemplated our other dining options on Four Square.*
Perhaps if you can visit in the morning or for early lunch, it would be more enjoyable - at least for a few cute Insta shots and a glass of wine. I don't have a decent photo to share because, well... shit show. [Insert shrug girl emoji.] Moving on.
(*Side note: Four Square seems to be the tool of choice in Europe, we got results that were much more 'our speed' using Four Square, than with Trip Advisor, Yelp, etc.)
Bobby Gin (link)
Address: Gràcia. Carrer de Francisco Giner, 47.
In the hip Gràcia neighborhood, Bobby Gin is a chilled spot with creative craft cocktails - and a whole lot of gin.
Considering gin isn't my spirit of choice, I was surprisingly pleased with my drink and the overall experience was worth checking out.
Bar Cañete (link)
Address: El Raval. Carrer de la Unió, 17.
This. Is. A. Must.
One of the many reasons I love Instagram... this restaurant was recommended to me by a gal on IG. We follow one another, but don't actually know each other IRL, but totally trust her judgement. And so.
We showed up and it was total chaos. There was some semblance of a host, but no real system for taking down names. We were told it would be about an hour wait. Took a solid 20 min to get a glass of wine with which to wait, then about 20 min later we were seated at the bar.
We were starving and feeling fancy - and lazy - so we asked our waiter, behind the bar, to do all the heavy lifting. He thought for a few minutes and came back to us with his choices for us which we quickly 'okay-ed' and we were off. We had:
- Oysters, yes.
- A big fried delicious meatball with sauce daintily POURED on top - yes. (pictured)
- Tuna tartar, yep.
- Steak with foie grois, mhmm.
- Something else that I didn't take a photo of - can't remember, sure it was good.
- And chocolate mousse(ish) cake.
Everything was fantastic. The staff is lively, loud, inappropriate, and overall hilarious. The beer and wine flowed. We were fully full. And I think in the end we ended up spending like $120 total.
Summary. Go here. Try to sit at the bar. And, if you're open-minded, let your waiter order for you.
(In comparison, we also had tapas at Ciudad Condal our first night in Barcelona, which I will NOT be talking about here. In my opinion, SKIP IT. We got shamboozeled by the 1,000+ reviews and it wasn't worth the hype.)
La Pepita (yelp link) / La Cava
Address: Gràcia. Carrer de Còrsega, 343.
Our last meal in Barcelona. We almost *almost* went back to Bar Cañete - which we *never* do - and then we came to our senses: last night, one last hoorah. La Pepita, a tapas restaurant, had great views and 'hipster vibes' so we hopped in a taxi.
There was a wait, but the hostess showed us to their sister bar La Cava next door where we enjoyed a cocktail and some olives while we waited.
Twenty-ish minutes later, we were sat in the lively dining room at a two top. It was jammed and loud and everyone was happy. We ordered 4-5 tapas that came out as they were ready. I can't remember everything we ordered - but I can remember the V.I.C (Very Important Croquettes), which, as I'm sure you can imagine, were delicious.
Super fun spot - yum, cheap, hip. Yes.
Address: Gràcia. Carrer de Vallfogona, 12.
Located off a charming square in the hip Gràcia neighborhood, I totally judged this book by its cover. And rightfully so. (Full disclosure. I was slight ::very:: hungover when we ate here.)
We popped our heads in around 6pm after a few hours of walk around Park Güell, as the staff was preparing for a 7pm dinner seating in the teeny restaurant. They graciously allowed us to sit for a snack if we could promise to be done by 7p. We ordered chef's choice cheese and a few glasses of wine and rested our feet *slash* I tried to keep my shit together. But, let's be honest, even hungover, I can't pass up a good cheese plate. And this one was good.
We didn't stay long, but the staff was sweet and informative. The 7pm sitting started rolling in and we got on our way. From my experience, I'm guessing dinner is fantastic - make a resy.
Mama's Cafe (four square link)
Address: Gràcia. Carrer de Torrijos, 26.
After a month of traveling, we were getting super burnt out on the heavy meals and constant carb-overload. We stumbled upon Mama's Cafe, and it was just what we needed for a healthy, pick me up lunch. We sat in the back garden and enjoyed some vegetarian fare and iced teas. OH, and then we grabbed a brownie to go as we paid our check.... and it was mindblowingly good. So much for healthy!
Pirineu En Boca (link)
Address: L'Eixample. Carrer de Girona, 17.
This spot was a lovely surprise. We stumbled upon what we thought was a charming little butcher/grocer while looking for a lunch spot; the further back we walked into the long narrow space the better it got.
The front is in fact a little butcher shop and grocer, and the back offers up high quality, mouth-watering meals. The atmosphere is happy and relaxed and the staff is excited about the food, as they should be.
We overate and we didn't care.
Room Mate Gerard (link)
Address: L'Eixample. Carrer Ausiàs March 34.
We spent a few nights at Room Mate Gerard and had a great stay. They were super accommodating and the rooms were clean and nice. The hotel is relatively new with a super walkable location on a quiet street. We worked from the lobby and roof top during the mornings and into the evenings and were well taken care of by the staff who checked in with us to offer waters, coffee, etc (not complimentary). There is a small rooftop pool with a few lounge chairs which were nice.
We had a basic room which faced the interior "atrium". The room furnishings were modern and clean. I don't know if I'd stay here again because I prefer to try new things, but I would certainly recommend it.
H10 Cubik (link)
Barri Gòtic. Via Laietana 69.
We decided to 'splurge' on our last few nights and moved from Room Mate Gerard to H10 Cubik. It was a nice upgrade but had a very similar vibe and ultimately didn't feel that much different.
We enjoyed working from the lobby, and spent one afternoon enjoying the views and some drinks from the rooftop pool.
Great location and amenities. Our room was small but clean. It opened up to a terrace, pictured below, which had comfortable lounge chairs. Overall very relaxing and enjoyable.