12 Vital Tips To Survive Barcelona’s Nightlife
Most tourists are quite familiar with Barcelona’s notorious nightlife. Heck, on any given night you’ll run into more bachelor parties than you can count. While most are familiar, few recognize how exhausting a night out in the Ciutat Condal actually is.
Too many poor, naive souls show up to the club at 11 and expecting to leave by 3, but boy are they in for a surprise. You might be wondering… tell me oh wise
alcoholic partier, how will I survive a night out?
Well, you’ve come to the right place. This guide to Barcelona’s nightlife will hold your hand through every baby step necessary to have an amazing time, and see and do some cool things while you’re at it.
I’ll tell you about my experiences and what I’ve learned from them so that you don’t make the same mistakes I did. I’ve done the suffering for you, so don’t fret!
These are the vital tips you need to get through your
neverending super fun night out in Barcelona. Let’s f*****g do this!!!!!!!!!
1: Get trendy fast by shopping on Portal del Angel
Spaniards are no strangers to fashion, especially when it comes to nightlife. With high fashion clothing accessible at nearly every price range, even the average homeless man is trendier than you. This is good for you because you can quickly make the change from drab to fab in less than an hour!
Your first stop after ending your transport in Plaça Catalunya should be El Corte Ingles (Plaça de Catalunya, 14, 08002 Barcelona), specifically the second and fourth floors for women and the third for men.
This will be the most expensive stop of your trip, and is better for those who aim for the highest of fashion. You’ll find a range of brands from Armani and Burberry to Sfera and other similar low cost brands.
Then, head to Pull & Bear, Bershka, H&M, Zara, and Mango along this pedestrian budget shoppers paradise to find something shiny. The best time to hit these spots is in the early afternoon, around 1, while the sun is shining and people are still at work.
My favorite of these stores, has, is, and always will be Zara. Check out the TRF section for cheap and trendy party clothes.
The only organization necessary here is your money exchange, transportation, and strong arms to carry your shopping bags.
Additional option: The La Roca Outlets are some designer outlets about 45 minutes outside of Barcelona. For a ride and a discount, click here.
Or, if you’re looking for something far higher class and out of my budget, head to Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona’s designer row. Here you’ll find Gucci, Prada, Chanel, and basically every other desginer you can think of.
2: Make your tummy a happy one by eating a hearty, carboloaded dinner
This should be the least difficult item on the list because, well, FOOD IS LIFE! Seriously. Barcelona has some of the best restaurants I’ve ever eaten in. And that’s saying a lot if you know where my mom used to take me. The biggest mistake I’ve seen made by Spaniards and gringos alike is eating a small dinner.
You need to have something substantive in your stomach in order to absorb a bit of the booze. Otherwise, your best friend for the night will be the toilet.
The neighborhoods with notoriously amazing gastronomy are El Born, Eixample, and Sant Antoni. None of these places are sore on the eyes either. With tree lined streets, beautiful examples of Catalan modernisme architecture, and intricate storefronts, your stomach won’t be the only happy one after this trip.
8PM should be the sweet spot here, because it’s early enough to get a table but not so early that only the tourist traps will be open. So, again, hop on the metro or whatever you prefer, and make your way to get a delicious bite.
Barcelona is known for its gastronomy. Below, you’ll see some of my favorite spots, and in parenthesis the best dish (or dishes) on the menu in my opinion.
Somorrostro (Rice with octopus and botifarra)
Out of China (chicken and prawn shumai with oyster sauce, chicken kongbao style, pork spare ribs with sweet soy sauce)
Bacoa (manchego and DON’T FORGET THE BACON)
Mosquito (Won ton soup)
Taco Alto Raval (drown it in salsa borracha)
Ziqi Retaurant Japones (Miso Ramen).
All of these options, save Out of China, are very economic. My favorite of these is Mosquito because I have a special place in my heart for Chinese food.
I would definitely recommend making a reservation at any of these places. Ask your hotel concierge to call for you, send an email, check with your phone company from your home country and make sure you’ve got an international plan, or just stop in!
Additional option: If you’re feeling classy, you can take a Catalan Gastronomy tour. We recommend Food Tours Barcelona.
3: Avoid unhappy neighbors by taking your pregame outside.
You really want to look like a local? Say “let’s botellón” and Spaniards will give you a standing ovation. An outside pre-drink is both a common and necessary step in going out in Barcelona. Plus, your neighbors won’t call the cops on you.
You should begin your botellón around 11:30, when the old lady who is renting the apartment next to you will start to get mad at the noise “you youths” are making.
Grab a coat (if you need it), your booze, and everything you need for the night and head to the beach. This is the best part… no costs!!
And don’t worry, you won’t get in trouble. The only time the police would say something to you is if you are causing a scene, so try not to get too rowdy.
No organization required, friends and booze are the only necessity!
Additional option: Sign up for a bar crawl. If you’re feeling hipster, check out this Hipster Bar Crawl from Tapas and Beers Barcelona.
4: Get yourself out of the bathroom and onto the dancefloor by picking the right drink
From the amount I talk about stomachs in this post, you’d think I’m at the very least a medical student. Nope, no sir I am not. Just experienced. That being said, some liquors are harder on the stomach than others.
Picking the right combo to drink can save you many trips to the bathroom and even get you out of bed and moving. Just follow these steps to pick the perfect drink.
- Locate your nearest chino. These “bazars” have everything from chips to phone chargers to alcohol. Head there to grab a bottle of vodka, or whatever you like.
- Don’t mix alcohols, and keep shots to a minimum. This will make your intake far easier on your stomach. You’ll thank me later.
- When picking your poison for the night, always go with something lighter and not too sugary. When I say this, I mean go with vodka or wine. It is the best for your stomach and even has some heart benefits!! Who would have thunk it.
- If you’re sleepy, drink a RedBull. You don’t want your night to suck because you’re half asleep in the middle of the club. My favorite is Vodka with Fanta Limon and some club soda. But don’t go crazy on the Fanta, because the sugar will make your hangover worse in the morning.
- Be sure to drink lots of water over the course of the night. A general rule of thumb is that for every shot I drink a glass of water. Again, you’ll thank me in the morning.
Additional option: Stay sober. To be honest, I do this sometimes and wake up on a Sunday morning saying wow, is this what Sunday feels like for a normal person? I like this. You’ll gain a full extra day of your trip, and you won’t feel like a piece of trash.
5: Avoid a dud by picking the perfect spot
Imagine…a helpless you, in the middle of a flamenco dance circle. Sad right? There are many ways to prevent this confusion, all you have to do is research, research, research…
First, sit down with your group. Or with yourself if you’re traveling solo. Pour yourself a glass of sangria, and really think about what you want for the night.
Do you want to have a chiller night? Do you want to dance your butt off on some elevated surfaces? Make sure you decide this before you get drunk so that there is no confusion. Decisions are important, people!
Now, I’ll give you my list of preferred clubs in Barcelona. Some of them quite mainstream, some of them you will not see another foreigner.
Opium: Probably the most well known club in the city. Lots of study abroad aged kids. Big DJS on Wednesdays in summer.
This is the place for people who like to be seen. Stilettos, designer labels, and bottles of champagne as big as you all form part of the posh vibe at this exclusive venue.
Passeig Marítim, 34
Pacha: These Ibizan dance gods have made the voyage over from the White Isle to open a franchise in the Catalan party capital.
Don’t be nervous to dress up here. Pacha is certainly no stranger to the luxe part of life.
An older crowd, more locals than Opium but still touristy.
Passeig Marítim, 38
Shoko: Shoko is located on the beachfront. This club is famous for their theme parties, and for hosting some of the most exclusive events in the city such as after parties for big concerts, international movie premiers, and more.
The club has a Japanese theme, with bonsai and bamboo trees covering the club and themed decor taking the centerpiece.
Passeig Marítim, 36
Bling Bling: My personal favorite out of the listed clubs. Bling Bling is a high profile club with a sleek and chic interior. Think shiny.
If you’re looking for something more elegant, put on the cocktail dress or dress shirt you bought earlier and head to Bling Bling. This is one of the most exclusive places in town, and where the young rich professionals head when they want to party.
Women minimum 23, men minimum 25.
Carrer de Tuset, 8
Otto Zutz: Similar to Bling Bling, Otto Zutz attracts a pretty “bling” crowd. You’ll find a younger crowd here, mostly people between 20 and 25.
They play a great mix of RnB throwbacks that will make you feel like you’re at a middle school dance and new top 40 commercial music.
Carrer de Lincoln, 15
Sutton: Across the street from Bling Bling, Carrer Tuset is Barcelona’s luxe avenue.
The inside of this place is extra swanky, with velvet couches and velvet ropes, amazing light structures, and neon lights.
Dress code is strictly enforced, as Sutton has the reputation of a super elite club.
Carrer de Tuset, 13
For any of these places, cover will be at least 10€ unless you find a promoter who can get you in either for free or with a deal. Check out You Barcelona for some great nightlife deals.
Typically, the cover includes a drink inside. As I’ll explain later, this should be the only drink you touch inside the club.
Additional option: Do a VIP Nightlife tour. A lot of the time this will end up cheaper than you going solo, and you get a super cool guide to show you some extra spots. This 40€ includes transport, entry, and some free drinks in each spot.
6: Save a dime and hang with the locals by hitting some bars before you make your way to the club
Honestly, this is one of my favorite things to do in Barcelona, or in any city I visit for that matter. I hear of a cool neighborhood, or I happen across one in my exploration during the day. Head over there once the sun goes down, and you’re bound to find a good time.
In Barcelona, every other storefront is bar, so don’t worry you’ve got options.
You can take the metro yellow line and get off at Jaume I, which will put you within a 10 minute walk of some amazing bars. You’ll be right in the middle of El Born and the Gothic, both of which boast an impressive amount of nightlife options.
You should hit the bars around 11 or 12 in order to spend a good 2 hours checking them out.
Some of my favorite bars in the city are mixology bars because I’m posh and cocktails make me happy.
Dr. Stravinsky L4 Jaume I (their cocktails have won international awards)
PAX49 L4 Jaume I (cocktails are made with fresh ingredients and are extremely affordable (8 euros) for how tasty and beautiful they are)
Dux L4 Jaume I (Owned by two very famous mixologists in Spain. Drinks are big, and very delicious)
Two Schmucks L1 Universitat (original homemade cocktails. There´s one with keffir and coconut and peanut)
Chaka Khan L3 Drassanes (tropical environment, Middle East/Asian flare, GREAT original cocktails)
Chupitos L1 Universitat (if you want to get really lit, this is an essential stop because it’s literally called “Shots”)
You can budget between 5€ and 12€ per drink (beer and wine are cheaper).
Additional option: Don’t go to the clubs. Often times, bars can reel you in with their charming and cozy aesthetic, and you won’t even want to leave. Plus, you’ll have an earlier night this way and will be able to get an earlier start the next day.
7: Download a transport app so that drunk-you can navigate easily
Don’t think your legs are a good enough mode of transportation? No problem. There are endless transportation options, all quiiiittteeeee economic. To avoid getting lost, make sure you download a transport app, or at least save a screenshot from Google Maps.
To get from A to B, Cabify, a taxi from the street, and the TMB (public transport in Barcelona) are the best options.
Cabify is very similar to Uber. A nice black car will come to pick you up, and the cars are all equipped with wifi and water. This actually ends up being cheaper than a taxi, which is why it is so popular and why the taxi drivers are #pissed.
TMB is always a safe bet, but make sure you are informed about the hours of operation which you can see below. Cabify or a taxi will never be more than 15€ total, and it’s 2.15€ per metro or bus trip.
Check out the picture below to see what an available cab in Barcelona looks like.
To organize this correctly, you should set up an account before you start preparing for your night out. You will need to enter your credit card info or login with Paypal, so make sure to have that information available when you sign up.
The Barcelona metro opens daily at 5.00 am, except on days when it runs all night.
Weekdays (Monday to Thursday): until midnight.
Fridays and eves of public holidays: until 2.00 am.
Saturdays: runs all night.
Sundays and public holidays during the week until midnight.
24 December, 5.00 am to 11.00 pm.
Saint John’s Eve (night of 23–24 June): all nightLa Mercè festival (22–23 and 24-25 September): all night
New Year’s Eve (31 December – 1 January): all night
Saturday and day prior to 01 January, 24 June, 15 August and 24 September: All night
Additional option: on Cabify, make a reservation. This way, if you’re drunk, sober-you has already taken care of transportation. If not order 10 minutes before you want to leave.
8: Once you’re in line, act sober even if you’re not so your night doesn’t end early.
Looking fabulous, even if you don’t feel it, is key when entering a club.
Some bouncers, especially if you find yourself at a place north of Avinguda Diagonal, are very picky (especially on a Friday or Saturday night), so put on your sober face for 10 minutes to make it in easily. You can do it! I have faith in you!
Smile, and talk as little as possible. This is a tip I have gathered from many years of experience, and this nugget is free of charge.
Additional option: There are loads of chinos around these clubs, so stop in and grab some chips and a bottle of water if you’re feeling it too much.
9: Take pictures to make your friends jealous of your wonderful life
Ok, I get it. No one wants to be that typical tourist taking photos incessantly. But, having some nice snapshots to look back on after your trip will bring back feelings of
nausea happiness and excitement, giving you flashbacks to your trip to Barcelona! Taking pictures is super important for two reasons.
- Odds of you remembering every detail of your night in the morning? Slim to none.
- Social media FIRE. People at home will clearly envy your wonderful night, however blurry it may be.
Take pictures of LITERALLY EVERYTHING and do it EVERYWHERE.
At the club, outside of the club, with your friends, with the dude who just bought you a drink, hell even with the DJ!
When is the right moment, you ask? All eeeefffffing night!!! Just snap a quick selfie, ask a stranger to take a group pic, or save blurry Snapchat attempts because a picture is worth a thousand words, amiright?
Additional option (upgrade): Check out this phone attachment that takes EPIC pictures both in and out of tha clurb.
10: Don’t waste your money on a drink inside the club
One time, I spent 22€ on a mojito that was probably 68% ice. As I stood, watching the people struggle by, I had a life crisis. A mini quarter life crisis we could call it. I looked to the waves, crashing peacefully on the beach, and thought silently “what the f**k did I just do?” Although it was quite tasty, no mojito should ever cost 22€.
Just think that with that 22€ you could have bought yourself a really nice dinner. Don’t make the same mistake as I did here, and PUT YOUR WALLET AWAY.
Every drink inside the club will cost you a kidney, so unless you happen to be rolling in extra pocket change or have about 5 extra organs, I recommend you pregame decently hard to avoid getting a weak drink for 16€.
But be careful not to pregame so hard that you don’t even make it to the bars. It’s all about finding a medium.
I wish I could advise further here, but everyone handles their alcohol differently.
You can do this in a multitude of places, pretty much anywhere you want, if you throw it back to college when you would put a mixed drink in a water bottle to go to a party. Honestly, whoever thought of this deserves an award.
Drink in your accommodation, on the train, in line, but NOT THE CLUB. EVER.
An average bottle of hard alcohol will be around 10€, vs a 22€ mojito. Your wallet has already sent me a thank you email.
Just be careful to measure what you pour.
Additional option: If you feel REALLY passionate about buying a drink inside, make it a shot. Unless you order something super fancy, it shouldn’t hurt your wallet too much. Often times, a shot is cheaper than beer or wine.
11: Perfectly prepare for the voyage to your bed with a late night bite to eat
You’ve made it through your clubbing experience, now what? Well, you’re lucky that Barcelona is the kebab center of the world. There might be more places to get kebab here than in the Middle East.
You can find all of these and more in El Raval. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any kebab, or pizza.
On top of that, you’ve got some of the other classic late night options like McDonalds (near Pacha in Vila Olimpica, leave the club, cross the bridge, and walk another 100m and you’ll see it) and Burger King (on Las Ramblas, Drassanes metro, get off Las Ramblas exit, and walk another 200m), a billion pizza places, or just running into a chino and grabbing some chips and ice cream.
Prime time for these places is post-4AM. The best part? You can have the fullest tummy ever for less than 8€. No res necessary, but there might be a line.
Additional option: Prepare something before you leave. Run to the closest grocery store and buy a Yakitomo instant ramen, or order a pizza and don’t eat it until you get back.
Leftovers from dinner are also a good option!
12: Don’t waste a day and kick your hangover in the city that does brunch like no other
Hey, look at you!! You’ve had a successful night out, by the looks of the bags under your eyes and the bottle of Powerade you’re hanging on to.
But you might be forgetting potentially the hardest part: the hangover. To nurse this, brunch is an absolute must.
Barcelona has a thriving brunch culture, partially in thanks to the tons of expats living here.
Neighborhoods like Gracia, Sant Antoni, Gothic are the spots where the brunch infiltration has hit the hardest.
Timing wise, you should shoot for 11 (but we all know that’s not going to happen) so try to get there definitely before 3.
I pretty strongly partake in the brunch culture here, and I’ve tried probably 95% of the brunch restaurants. These are my favorites.
Milk (off of the “recovery brunch” menu, huevos rancheros or penny farthing pancakes)
Marmalade (Triple Whammy burger or the Benedict)
Mama’s Cafe (Pancakes)
Federal (French Toast)
Granja Petit Bo (Huevos rancheros)
Picnic (Pulled Pork Chilaquiles, Huevos Rancheros or Peanut Butter and Banana French Toast. Also the drinks here are amazing and the most expensive ones are 6€. I spend a solid 3-4 hours here every time I come)
For any of these places, budget at least 15€ per person, more if you’ll want a drink or two to get some “hair of the dog”.
You can’t make reservations at most brunch spots, so be prepared to wait at least 20 minutes. Bring a snack.
Additional option: If you’re in a rush, or really not feeling good, grab a quick juice and pastry from the famous Escriba (or the closest bakery). Pastries anywhere in the city will be amazing. Spaniards do love their bread products. And fresh squeezed orange juice really hits the spot.
Remember, everyone can take what they want out of this post. Every step has it’s own options, and every option can be interpreted how you see best.
But, my last nugget to you is that you come into your night with an open mind because this wonderful city is full of surprises that can totally change your plans, but in the most positive way possible.
Start small, with a couple of these steps, and see where the night takes you.
Who knows, you could wake up on a yacht in the port (yes, this actually happened once)!
Where your night takes you is up to you, based off of the decisions you make (whether they be planned or not). So, let Barcelona take the wheel!!