A paradise for skaters, street artists, and alternative music lovers, Barcelona has everything you could ever want. Cooler than Paris and hotter than Berlin, the capital of Catalonia is made for exploring all day and living it up all night. From the best hidden theater in the city to the epicenter of indie culture in Raval, let underground Barcelona take your breath away with these five spots taken from our city guide Indie Guides Barcelona.
The Gallery by Error: Design studio of the punk and DIY scene
Error Design is punk music and DIY lover Xavi’s design studio. Known for his serigraph prints and tour posters for national and international artists with punk and/or obscure leanings, Xavi opened this gallery in the bohemian neighborhood of Gracia as a space for fine and graphic arts. You can check out Xavi’s work in addition to the work of both new and well-known artists at his monthly shows. The music and art are on point at The Gallery by Error. Make sure to stop by!
Carrer Torrent de les Flors 115, 08024 Barcelona
Open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10am to 1pm and Tuesday and Thursday from 10am to 1pm and from 4pm to 7pm
Freedonia: Hub of the indie and underground scene in Raval
Freedonia is a multidisciplinary space that hosts a variety of concerts and parties. On top of its on point line-up, the place also puts a lot of emphasis on non-profits and community initiatives in the neighborhood and organizes workshops, yard sales and other community events.
In the somewhat labyrinthine space, you enter through the bar (shout out to the cheap beers!), where you’ll find acoustic concerts and DJ sets on the little stage. A bit further down at the end of the long hallway, you’ll find the main room, which hosts larger concerts, parties and theatrical productions. With its small stage and low key vibe, there’s no separation between the artists and spectators, so everyone is treated equally. With its indie and underground line-up, Freedonia is a space for those with nowhere else to go, all the while being an active supporter of neighborhood social and cultural activities in Raval. What’s not to love?
Carrer de Lleiatat 6, 08001 Barcelone
Open Wednesday through Saturday from 7pm to 1am and Sunday from 7pm to 12pm
Pesca Salada: The tiniest cocktail bar in Barcelona
This bar is so tiny; you might not be able to find it! Located in a former fishmonger’s shop only 30 square meters in size, Pesca Salada makes you feel like you’re looking out at the fantastically animated Raval neighborhood from inside some kind of aquatic world. Sergi, the owner, has decorated the place with a variety of curious elements calling to mind the deep sea. In this intimate and friendly bar, you’ll find a classic drink list populated with delicious house made cocktails. If you’re hungry, excellent sandwiches are also available, in addition to the traditional plancha of Spanish hams & cheese.
Carrer de la Cera 32, 08001 Barcelona
Open Monday through Saturday from 20:30pm to 3am
Ultra-Local Records: Indie Catalan bands and labels
If you want to get a feel for Catalan music, head to Ultra-Local Records, where you can explore Catalan labels (Domestica, El Genio Equivocado, Discos de Kirlian, Bankrobber, Famèlic, La Castanya, Petit Indie, Boston Pizza, Buenritmo, Foehn, etc.) and check out self-released records by local bands. You’ll also find a selection of Spanish pop records and a few mainstays from independent international labels (Sufjan Stevens, Mac DeMarco, etc.) Don’t hesitate to dig through the used section: you’re sure to find a few pearls—vintage funk, house or French pop for the sweet price of one euro. Raul and Carme also organize a variety of events in the store that tend to bring together everyone from the local scene. Make sure to stop by to get to know some of the artists making up the local Catalan scene.
Carrer Pujades 113, 08005 Barcelona
Open Tuesday through Friday from 4pm to 8:30pm and Saturday from 11am to 8:30pm
Barts Club: For a tropical pre-party!
BARTS Club is a little venue with a capacity of 120, located on the second floor of BARTS (Barcelona Arts On Stage). The agenda is rather electropical: Brazilian, cumbia, salsa, jazz, reggae, Catalan rumba, and also flamenco jazz and swing, all at perfectly reasonable prices. BARTS also hosts cabaret and DJ sets some evenings for anyone who doesn’t want to stay out too late (the club closes at 3am) or for those looking for a good place to pre-party before heading to the Apolo across the street…
Avinguda del Paral-lel 62, 08001 Barcelona
Open Tuesday from 9pm to 2am, Wednesday and Thursday from 10pm to 2am, Friday and Saturday from 8pm to 3am and Sunday from 4pm to 2am.
Discover more alternative and cultural spots in Barcelona with our city guide Indie Guides Barcelona.
Photos: Courtesy of the places mentioned and of Janira Muñoz (The Gallery By Error), Gabri Guerrero (Freedonia) and Yury Ostromentsky (main photo)