Despite the crowds of tourists descending on Barceloneta because of its proximity to the sea, there are around twenty tapas bars in the area. A former fishing district, Barceloneta has resisted the waves of change sweeping across Barcelona, and has retained a distinctly Mediterranean character. Just look up, and you’ll see the local housewives chatting to each other as they hang their laundry from the windows along the narrow, parallel streets.
Read on to find out about some of the “classic” tapas bars in this lively, authentic area of Barcelona, offering typical, no-frills and supremely tasty snacks… just the way we like them!
Tapas bars: Bar Electricitat, an “electric” place
This tapas bar opened in 1908 in a former electricity substation, serving Barceloneta.
Fear not, you’re not going to get electrocuted as you sip your vermouth! Just make sure you don’t finish the bottle on your own, though, if you want to make it out alive – the vermouth casero is particularly strong, with an alcohol content of 24%. There are bottles of sparkling water on the tables to quench your thirst and limit the damage!
- Order a glass, and the whole bottle is likely to end up on your table, under the watchful eye of the waiting staff. People tend to drink more than originally planned – so just be careful, or the bill may come as a nasty surprise.
With a historic façade, wooden fridges, wine barrels, beer crates, a collection of boats and old photos of the area, the decoration of the bodega is authentic and unpretentious, reflecting Barceloneta’s origins as a fishing quarter.
Bar Electricitat: specialities
- The stars of the show here are the crab salad, lacón (ham) and bombas (meatier than the ones at the Cova fumada). The “señora” cooks her tortillas at 5am, ready for the fishermen as they come in off the boats.
If you’re in early, you’re likely to get a whiff of aniseedy Moscatel. Enough said…
- The bar serves sandwiches made with whole baguettes, great for very hungry clients, or those who want to share.
- There may be a waiting list on match days or on weekends, particularly during the summer. You can’t book ahead.
A historic, “electric” eatery…
Where? Carrer de Sant Carles 15, Barceloneta
When? Every day except Mondays, 8am – 3pm and 7pm – 10.30pm
How much? Tapas €1 – €13
Why? For the crab salad
Tapas bars: Bodega Fermín, a bar with a terrace
This 50-year-old bodega is something of an icon in Barceloneta. Gladys and Roger, who took the reins 4 years ago, are long-time friends of the family who ran the bar over four generations.
Local residents come in to fill up their bottles of wine or vermouth: in the morning, you’re likely to see one or two older ladies coming in for wine to use in their cooking that day.
Like many of the bars in the area, Bodega Fermín is pretty unassuming, but it’s home to a fantastic selection of top-quality wine and beers.
- The bodega has its own brew, La Rosa del Fermín, a light ale which is soft and delicate, like a rose…
- In terms of wine, we recommend the Priorat Laidana, priced at around €3.50/glass.
Tapas at Bodega Fermín
- Gladys makes a range of tasty pinchos, costing €1.50 each, including the Banderilla (anchovies-peppers-olives-onions) and the Gilda del Fermín (olives, anchovies, chilli). The olives are amazing.
- The pan con tomate is better than the average offering in Barceloneta, featuring garlic-rubbed organix bread, local tomatoes and coarse salt. Yum!
- The grilled aubergine with goat’s cheese and onion chutney and the melted cheese pot with chistorra and chipotle, both around the €5 mark, are delicious.
- Try the cheese or meat boards, featuring a varied selection of top-quality offerings.
- If you’re feeling adventurous, ask for your wine in a traditional Catalan porró!
- There’s a small terrace where you can make the most of the sun.
Small and unassuming, but well worth a visit!
Where? Carrer de Sant Carles 18, Barceloneta
When? Every day, 11am – midnight, open until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays.
How much? €1.50 – €13
Why? For the pinchos
Tapas bars: La Bombeta, a bar that’s “the bomb”
There’s a clear message for customers written above the bar here: “ No hablamos inglés pero hacemos unas bombas cojonudadas ”. In short, the staff don’t speak English – implying that the bar is still “authentic” – but the bombas tapas are, well, the bomb!
La Bombeta means “light bulb” (more electricity!), but everyone talks about the bomba, a popular Catalan tapas dish, originally created by the nearby Cova Fumada.
- These round, deep-fried croquettes are immensely popular! Made from potatoes stuffed with minced beef, they’re covered in spicy aioli, just like patatas bravas.
There’s a life-sized and rather realistic octopus behind the bar, keeping an eye on things – but trust us, the seafood used in the actual tapas is far tastier!
- Seafood is another of the house specialities, including clams in white wine, fried calamari rings, tasty sea snails and grilled prawns.
Don’t forget your five-a-day… the chargrilled artichokes and the famous Padrón peppers are delicious examples of typical vegetable tapas. Carnivores will want to leave room for the butifarras (Catalan sausage).
- Queues can develop at the weekend, and you can’t book ahead
- There’s no wifi at La Bombeta, but that means customers tend to talk to each other instead, which is no bad thing!
So… bombs away? 😉
Where? Calle de la Maquinista 3, Barceloneta
When? Noon to midnights, except Wednesdays and public holidays
How much? €3.90 for two bombas. Tapas €3 – €15
Why? For the bombas, of course!
Tapas bars: El Vaso de Oro, a tapas and beer bar
Señor Fort was one of the first people to introduce the concept of a tapas-brewery to Barceloneta. El Vaso de Oro has been serving tapas to accompany its beer – or beer to accompany its tapas – for over half a century.
The bar is literally, well, a bar, with three small tables at each end.
- There’s just enough space left between the bar and the wall to queue up!
El Vaso de Oro produces 18 different beers. The two most popular options are always available, with a third which changes regularly.
Décor-wise, there are around a hundred antique German beer steins set above the bar, like trophies. These original drinking vessels come with a lid to stop the precious contents from spilling out in case of over-enthusiastic toasts!
- Unfortunately, you won’t get to drink from them… unless you bring your own! In that case, the barman will keep it safe for you to use every time you feel the urge to drink from a vaso de oro.
- The beer is more expensive than Estrella (but that’s to be expected): €3.50.
El Vaso d’Oro serves a range of typical tapas, including spiced tuna, morcillas (a sort of black pudding) and delicious callos (tripe), served only on Sundays.
- Specialities include the “ solomillo ” beef filet and the Catalan foie gras. There’s even a solomillo con foie option, priced at €22.50 – not cheap, but sooooo worth it, if your budget allows!
“Prost Señor Fort!”
Where? Carrer de Balboa 6, Barceloneta
When? Every day, 11am – midnight
How much? €1 – €23
Why? For the callos and the beer
Finally, don’t forget the one and only Cova Fumada! Click here for a whole article devoted to this iconic tapas bar. We also recommend the Bodega del Peninsular and the Jai-Ca, covered in a separate article.