A bustling nightlife is one of a huge number reasons that attracts thousands of people to Barcelona each year. Gone are the days, though, where one could walk down Las Ramblas and pick up a pint for a few pesetas. Unfortunately, the city has moved on and these days it is full of tourist hotspots where drinks prices are bordering extortionate. Many visitors, though, are often held back by a restricted budget and with these prices, in this economic climate, may not last longer than a day or two before finding themselves out of pocket. But never say never! There are still lots of places to buy a cheap beer or cocktail in Barcelona, you just have to look in the right places!
If you’re out to get the real Barcelona experience, rather than spend your time squeezing into a busy, pricey tourist trap, then my first word of advice would be to venture out of the norm and join in on an old Spanish tradition called ‘Botellón’. For those of you not familiar with the term, it basically entails purchasing some form of alcohol from the local supermarket and heading out to one of the city’s public areas to enjoy a few drinks. Now I know what some of you may be thinking; this sounds a bit like binge drinking in the street. I assure you it is not. ‘Botellón’ has almost become custom in Spain and attracts a young, warm and friendly crowd who are merely looking for ways to have fun with friends whilst saving a euro or two. Head down to Barceloneta beach on a weekend and you’ll be sure to meet similar-minded, fun-loving groups of people. Handily, there often many beer sellers in this area from whom you can buy a can for a mere 1€. Slightly further out is the Plaza del Sol in Gràcia (well-connected by metro) which is full of friendly locals on any night of the week, as well as numerous cheap bars. This is a great way of meeting new people and experiencing the true vibe of Barcelona.
Alternatively, you can opt for the more conventional method and head to one of the pubs and bars in the city to quench your thirst. However, for those unaware of the many little gems scattered around the city centre, a typical “bar crawl” can be quite expensive when you’re not sure where to go. Here’s a selection of bars that should keep the wallet intact:
- La Ovella Negra: Located just of Las Ramblas, this bar is reminiscent of a medieval style tavern, where you can buy beers for €1 up to midnight.
- Polaroid: Located on Calle Codols, this 80’s themed bar is another great hit. Again beer costs just €1 and what’s more you get free unlimited popcorn!
- The George Payne: Located just by Urquinaona metro stop, this Irish Pub is well known for its different promotions and deals. Well worth checking as you’ll always get your hands on a cheap drink.
- Viejo Pop: Located on the Via Laietana, this is a popular spot for locals where a San Miguel beer costs €1 up to midnight. Also does great tapas.
So there you have it, this selection of bars should definitely set you on your way to having a good time in Barcelona if you’re strapped for cash. The only thing that’s left is finding an inexpensive place to stay in the city. A great way of saving money on a low budget holiday is either to stay in a hostel or book one of many rental apartments in Barcelona. And as well as saving you money, you’ll have the freedom to choose which area you’d like to live in, allowing you to stay close to all your favourite clubs and pubs!