KER Club Welcome to the big league

Whispers of a new party spot had been circulating for a while until a riotous opening bash shredded any semblance of underground cred. Nevertheless, while it may be no secret, KER is still hands-down (or should that be hands in air) one of the most exhilarating clubs in the city.

Those in control of the sound streams are at the top of the game. Let’s name drop the likes of Seth Troxler and Levon Vincent, alongside electro royalty in the shapes of Laurent Garnier and DJ Harvey. Music-wise, you get the picture already, but what about the bricks and mortar? Taking their cues from the iconic Spanish interior designer, Javier Regas, it’s a pretty sleek affair that pulls off the trick of being both intense and intimate.

That’s not to say there aren’t a couple blots on their scoresheet. The old ‘buy a bottle and be a VIP for the night’ policy is just not what we call a party. And the marauding official photographer doesn’t do anything for the vibe either. Needless to say, you won’t notice such nuisances when the dancefloor starts to throb.

Barraca A xiringuito like you've never seen featured

Barraca has more than a few things in its favor. Sitting pretty on the sandy edge of Barceloneta, it is a mere croqueta’s throw away from the Mediterranean. Quite literally. You’ll therefore be perhaps unsurprised that the seafood here is wriggling fresh. Not literally this time, though nevertheless exceptionally fresh.

But the reason that this restaurant’s opening was the worst kept secret of summer 2013 had nothing to do with the location nor the fresh fish. The buzz in the air was all to do with the hype-worthy, Michelin-studded record of head chef Xavier Pellicer – a gastronomic wizard who has decided to put down his haute cuisine conjuring spoon for a while and instead go back to doing real people’s food, for real people’s prices.

The all-time peasant favorite paella has taken pride of place here—a deep sticky concoction that is crisped briefly in the oven before serving. Beneath the rich rice crust lurks a near anthology of the ocean, as can be seen in the arroz bomba—complete with squid, rock fish, mussels and clams. Barraca is also organically-minded and kitted out in a modern, nautical manner. But need we really say more…

Negroni Catalan kicks right through the night featured

Been looking for a cocktail place that moulds its extensive mixology expertise to you, and then to each of your friends in turn? Then let Negroni sweep you into its low-lit minimalist black and red surrounds.

The menu isn’t the law here, it’s a mere suggestions board. After the rum-based kick of a Mai-Tai but not so keen on the sweetness, or like the idea of something minty but bored of Mojitos? No problem. Just tell the black-clad bar staff what you like, and what you don’t, and they’ll set to work on mixing and melding a bespoke cocktail tailored to your taste buds—no matter what you’re in the mood for.

Be sure you don’t overlook the eponymous Negroni though. They’ve taken this Florentine classic and given it a contemporary Catalan twist, and once you’ve taken a sip you’ll be in no doubt as to why they named their bar after it.

Otrascosas de Villar-Rosàs Mainly a design gallery featured

The progeny of an advertising firm, Otras Cosas de Villar-Rosàs was set up simply with the idea in mind to showcase “otras cosas”, or “other things”. While not necessarily an art gallery, it leaves its creative manifesto open, and is home to a widely ranging program of architectural exhibitions, live music, screenings and graphic design. Step inside to one of its six spaces and be amazed by the spectrum of possibilities on display.

Aire de Barcelona Soothing waters featured

These impressive Arabian-style baths are the result of an ambitious warehouse renovation in Barcelona’s trendy Borne district, conceived by a group of Andalucians and designed by renowned Catalan architects Luis Alonso and Sergi Balaguer. Initiated in part to breathe new life into unique 19th-century architecture—the warehouse formerly housed myriad bodegas (wine cellars)—and in part to resurrect a forgotten leisure activity, Aire de Barcelona now offers ancient modes of relaxation and replenishment in a space with its own unquestionable appeal.

Underneath the cavernous stone arches are multiple means of escape from stress and tension: salt water baths cleanse the skin and enable meditative flotation; pools of broadly varying temperatures impact body and mind; jacuzzis, saunas and steam rooms complete the program. The idea is to free your mind by soothing the toils of the body, thus allowing the unfettered pursuit of wisdom. Whether or not any deep contemplation ensues, your experience of Aire de Barcelona will undoubtedly be one of profound relaxation.

Hotel Cram Anything but crammed featured

This four star hotel features 67 rooms, each decorated with designer fabrics, mattresses, pillows, showerheads, flat screen televisions and partitioned lighting arrangements. Beatriz Cosials’ interior design compliments architect Joseph Rui’s vision for the hotel on the whole, orienting functionality foremost, while incorporating historic elements such as the building’s original 1892 facade with creative modern installments of light, water and color moving through the common areas.

The hotel’s restaurant, GAIG (honored with one Michelin star), offers guests excellent Mediterranean fusion cuisine from renowned chef Carles Gaig. The Mareva Lobby Cocktail Bar is a serene setting to relax with a drink, or consider the humidor for a fine selection of cigars. If it’s fresh air you prefer instead, lounge by the hotel’s outdoor swimming pool.

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