Monday, 23 May 2011

A Hedonist's Guide to Barcelona: Nightlife

Truth be told, Barcelona was probably the  least productive bit of travelling I have ever done. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it was a 'holiday', one of my least favourite and most insulting words. I embraced the pleasure-seeking Spanish life to the max., and ended up partying all night, snoozing 'til midday, recovery and repeat.

So, in terms of tourism, I am useless. In terms of nightclubs, bars, incredible pasta joints and my favourite tea house, there I can help you. So as to not make my posts too long, lets stick to the nightlife first and the more savoury acitivites I will explain at a later date.

We mostly went out with the crowd in our hostel, as they organised club nights for free. Situated right next to Paral.lel metro station are a couple of bars we frequented before hopping in cabs towards the club.

Malverde is a teensy little mojito place that seems like it's always empty until thirty of us from the hostel arrive and then there's hardly room to breathe. The poor barman dreaded the clock striking midnight I'm sure. The beers are cheap at around 2.5 euros, which believe me is nothing in comparison to how much you're about to spend later in the night.

A stones throw away from our hostel is El Petit Apolo, nestled behind the Apollo Theatre (more to come on that tasty gem). With individual beer pumps on each table and the dangerous ability to pour your own drink without having to wait for service, this place was a regular haunt of ours. You're given a number from 1 to 10, representing your table number, and a couple of screens around the place show you how much you've poured and therefore how much you've spent (its around 7 euros a litre). They even turn it into a competition and have first and last place emblazoned across the top of the screen. The tapas here is hit or miss, as is the service. Don't order the Russian salad, tuck into plenty of fries with spicy sauce and be pushy with the staff otherwise you'll never get served.

So, the clubs. Not much of a clubber myself as I prefer quirky bars, Barcelona was a taste of something different for me. Hyde Club and Boardbar are both pretty standard clubs but worth a visit. Both have walkways from the door opening up to a wider dancefloor, Broadbar's is lit up with UV and white lighting which gives it a classy feel. Get ready to spend in both, drink are rarely less than ten euros a pop. Needless to say I stopped drinking on arrival.

The one club that everyone says in a must-do in BCN is Razzmatazz, a.k.a my worst nightmare. It's a huge clubbing complex, with five rooms, an endless number of staircases, and the capacity for tens of thousands of people. Granted the drinks are cheaper, but intimacy is thrown out the window and replaced with black concrete walls and a funny smells that sticks to your clothes. Still worth a go if it's your kind of thing.

Last but most certainly not least, is the Apollo Theatre, and my favourite clubbing destination in Barcelona. I was but seconds away from getting on a bus to a beach club with the rest of the hostel when a certain lady from Manchester next to me pointed out that the building we were standing next to was supposed to be the best indie night in the city. How could I possibly resist? After some sweet-talking to skip the queue (seriously Anna, mad skills) we found ourselves howling Florence and the Machine and Blondie until the wee hours amongst a huge crowd and next to a stage with it's own bar, a very excitable DJ boosting the crowds energy and, mysteriously, a telephone which the DJs used to call...the bartenders? Their mates? Pete Tong?! To this day it annoys me that I don't know what it was for. Anyway, as far as club nights go for me, this I would definitely recommend.

Go forth and enjoy, and drink lots of sangria in the process!

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