Gran Bodega Saltó: live music with a bohemian vibe in Poble-Sec
Article updated 14 November, 2018.
Looking for a night out with a bohemian, but authentic, vibe? The Gran Bodega Saltó is the destination for you, and, what's more, it won't break the bank!
metro: Paral·lel (L2 L3)
concert tickets: whatever you want to pay!
for its wacky décor
for its warm and friendly atmosphere
+34 93 441 37 09
Gran Bodega Saltó manages to be bohemian, but without being self-consciously so. It’s authentic, in the true sense of the word – no fake-authentic, do-it-for-the-tourists here. Warm, friendly and welcoming, it’s a great place for a night out.
The venue is almost 100 years old, and is unique in Barcelona. In 2002, two dreamers, Lidia and José Luis, with a little help from their friends, decided to transform this former wine cellar into a bohemian paradise, the perfect place to enjoy good music, good company and good drinks.
We went along one Wednesday evening, at the insistance of a friend, to see a pair of truly passionate musicians, Madjid et Joan.
Madjid Fahem is an incredible guitarist, and he puts his all into his music: you just need to watch his face as he plays to see that. We’re not the only ones to have noticed, either: Madjid is the guitarist of Ventura and plays for Manu Chao’s Radio Bemba group. Some seriously impressive credentials!
When Madjid can find the time in his busy schedule, he gets together with Joan Garriga, the accordionist from the Catalan group La Troba del Kung Fu, to play and sing at the Bodega.
The Grand Tour
The day we went, we arrived well before 8pm to be sure of getting places at the big table. This turned out to be pointless, since we didn’t stay sitting down for long, but being early had another advantage. We were able to get to know José Luis, AKA “El Tigre”, the owner of the bodega, who welcomed us in person and gave us a tour of the venue before the rest of the evening’s crowd arrived.
Gran Bodega Saltó: wacky décor? Yes please!
Tigers of all shapes and sizes, spiders hung from the ceiling, long steel wires spinning in the air, bald giants, wine barrels, signs, flowers, meteorites and giant suns…
Put that way, it almost sounds ugly, but it really isn’t. The eclectic décor at Gran Bodega Saltó was designed by the artist Steven Forster, and some very clever lighting gives it an almost magical, fantastical feel. It sounds strange, but it’s true!
What we saw
At 8pm, the musicians started to play, and within seconds the audience were on their feet.
Carefully-reserved places were forgotten, tapas and sandwiches abandoned, as everyone took to the floor to laugh, dance and sing (no need to know the words!), drink in hand, spurred on by two exceptionally talented musicians.
The accordionist’s hat was passed round a couple of times during the evening – a great way for people to express their appreciation for the music in the way best suited to their budget.
A note for wallflowers
Not a dancer? Not a singer? It’s still worth a trip for the cultural experience! Find yourself a corner, then sit and enjoy some prime people-watching. The show is not confined to the stage… A word of warning, though: get there early to be sure of finding a seat.
In the Great Bodega Saltó they have decided to collaborate with an ONG of the neighbourhood. On concert days, admission is free, you just have to bring a bottle of olive oil, a product that will be given later to the families most in need.
- In addition, for each bottle they receive, the bar will put € 2 for the musicians, two in one! It’s a good way to collaborate! 🙂
Lots of local groups give concerts at Gran Bodega Saltó, and the programme is very varied. Have a look at the venue’s website for more information. Sure, it’s in Catalan, but it’s pretty and well-designed, and the names of months in particular are fairly similar to the English words, so you should be able to make sense of the programme.
The Gran Bodega Saltó is also known for its “music and vermouth” sessions on Sunday lunchtimes.
Thanks to our great friend Fabienne for introducing us to this fabulous place!
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