BALLIN’ IN BARCELONA, SPAIN

 

Hola!
From Barcelona and that’s as far as my Spanish goes. I am reunited with one of my best friends, Linda Hartley who loves her Cafe Patron xo as much as the British love their eight balls. We waste no time familiarising ourselves with our new home.

 

We’ve been informed in great detail by our landlord to make sure we never lose sight of our bags and always have them in front and not behind us, to never leave our phones on a table in a restaurant (no matter how posh the place and alert we are) and by all means: Never walk into a restaurant with pictures of the dishes on the menu or display boards outside (These are for silly tourists).

Our first tapas experience breaks rule number three where we’re swayed into a family owned business and a menu with pictures of what we’re about to eat in El Born. Being with Linda also means that I am almost always convinced to try new dishes, today I try razor clams. In the evening we’re asked to join a Pub Crawl (never done one in our lives) and for 15euros we are taken to four bars and given a drink at each one. Apparently, “you get really drunk,” on these things, we don’t because lolly drinks are not our thing. The only venue I care to remember being at is one that looked like a heroin injecting room. The Pub Crawl ends at BLVD on La Rambla with too much Ke$ha and Pitbull and people going off to ‘Timber.’ By now, we’re ready to hit Opium at Port Olimpic.

Barcelona is a very old city in which you can feel the weight of history; it is haunted by history. You cannot walk around it without perceiving it.

Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Opium doesn’t look like anything special from the outside but once you’re in and walk down the narrow stairs, the grand residence is packed with bars, a massive dance floor, glassed off VIP and an outdoor area with lounges overlooking Barceloneta Beach. It looks like The Ivy on steroids.

“You know, sometimes in your worst nightmare your dreams can come true…” A man dressed in my weakness, a suit, tells me as I’m overlooking the dance floor and podium dancers in unnecessarily ridiculous outfits. A glass of champagne arrives in my hand from a table filled with bottles of Dom Perignon. And this is only the first night.

The following evening we’re invited next door to Opium for dinner at Shoko, later turning into a nightclub. It’s a surprisingly large venue with an oriental theme running right through it. The waiter staff are attentive and quick to refill your wine glass without being asked. After a shake on the dance floor we’re whisked up to VIP and given the Premier table. Linda declares that, “Shoko saved her life,” all over social media thanks to a brush with Geneva.  This is a personal joke.

Monday means more tourist expeditions and our apartment being just off La Rambla keeps us in walking distance to everything we need. Wearing our most comfortable shoes, we take a stroll down Barceloneta Beach and typically end up at Ice Bar, Barcelona.  Although I cannot comprehend spending money to be frozen, especially after arriving from London and minus 12 and snow in Croatia, there’s a cocktail involved so I suck it up for fifteen minutes (Linda says seven). Today, we also sort ourselves with sim cards and finally feel connected to the rest of the world and WhatsApp.

We meet with our new friend, an Elite VP in Europe and have an exquisite dinner at The Room with life changing fois. After a couple rounds of cocktails, we order a round of Grey Goose shots that taste like Smirnoff Red: You can’t fool Elite VP, The Connoisseur of Vodka. They make it up to us with a round of the house.

Despite pre plans of attending the three year anniversary party of Nasty Mondays at Sala Apolo, we’re informed in advance they don’t to table service and this is not good enough for Elite VP.  We carry on and get a table at Shoko involving Belvedere and backpackers that have somehow managed to work their way into the table area without wristbands and attempt to hijack the bottle. This does not sit well with any of us and after a chat to the manager, our inconvenience is compensated with Beluga Gold Line Vodka.  

Carpe Diem is on the cards for Tuesday and thanks to the Mobile World Congress and presumably many midweek client taming ventures by businesses, CDLC is an absolute cock fest. There is more Dom Perignon in the house than the Mo*Vida VIP Room, six years ago. It is a slightly older crowd but we’re informed that is only because of the Mobile World Congress. The music is quite commercial but at least the podium dancers at this venue are wearing tight mini dresses and not pom pom dresses like at Opium. CDLC is potentially the classiest venue in Barcelona, a lot smaller than its neighbours, cosy and intimate with the same views of the Port. I’ll have to check it out properly, when I’m in a better mood.

How do you excite an Israeli? Sit him with five girls at a fancy dinner at Shoko. Being wined and dined again by one of our favourite venues with new girl friends from America, this is what Wednesday night was all about. Thank you Barcelona Night life. If Linda is still bringing up it’s four courses, it must be good. Appetizers were three pieces of Sushi, entree was a large slab of goat’s cheese with strawberry purée, main was Cantonese chicken and for dessert, a brownie with vanilla bean ice cream. All tied in with many bottles of wine.  Mind you, earlier in the day we had the most amazing lunch at Taller De Tapas in El Born. This restaurant is located in a few areas scattered around Barcelona’s prime dining spots but we found that El Born to be the most homely. El Born is also known as the heart of good food.

 

 

With limited sleep contributing to my demented personality disorder, I agree to once again, accompany Linda to The Zoo. Three years ago, we visited The Australian Reptile Park resulting in a Facebook album titled, “Linda Takes Over The Reptile Park.” I was the photographer, she was the star. Barcelona Zoo seems somewhat depressing for the animals.

 

Want an incredible 360 view of Barcelona? Head to W hotel to the Eclipse Bar. The staff here are the finest and the table service is probably the best in Barcelona. Love your Cafe Patron xo? Eclipse was the first venue in Barcelona to satisfy Linda’s taste buds. I no longer go near that devil. W Hotel on La Barceloneta attracts a much older crowd so please avoid this place if you’re under 25 and mix your drinks like you’ve just turned 18.

Just like in London, drop the right name at the door and watch how quickly being on a “guest list” actually doesn’t really matter. Although in Barcelona, you’re only as good as your wristband. And having one VIP wristband does not grant you access to another VIP area. Friday night continues at Opium and ends before sunrise with four colourful wristbands. Does not match outfit, clearly I had three too many.

 

Among our daily adventures, we’ve being acquainted with local businesses such as Big J’s Burger not far from our apartment and I declare, the best Mojito’s in Barcelona for 3.50euros. Note: This place has unfortunately since shut down.

I’ll also give a quick shout out to the wonderful bar staff at The Coconut Club, a little hidden gem only a stone throw away from Barcelona’s hot spots in Port Olimpic. If you’re into fancy cocktails, I highly recommend this place.

So it appears that my first week in Barcelona all I have been doing is drinking and eating well. This is correct but no great friendship or story ever started with cheese and crackers over a glass of water.
Image Credits:
A special Thank you to Linda Hartley for letting me use many of her pictures for this post.Follow her adventures on Instagram here
Love Barcelona as much as I do?
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