Ocaña makes an unconventional splash in the middle of Barcelona’s most vibrant and touristy square, Plaza Real. Far from being a trap for the Ryanair brigade, Ocaña attracts a motley crew of locals, visitors and bohemians alike. Named after Jose Perez Ocaña, the locally heralded street artist who praised every “artist” on Las Ramblas, from the pimps to the thieves, Ocaña is a reflection of his idiosyncratic art and lifestyle. Therefore, everyone is welcome and anything goes.
After eights years of renovation work, Ocaña reopened in 2012 and is more glorious than ever: gilded columns, lustered chandeliers, reclaimed furniture, parquet floors… the whole shebang. But don’t expect any hushed museum-esque reverence on arrival; the terrace is packed all-day long with people sipping cold cañas and grazing on tapas while inside gets louder and louder as the night burns on. Serious drinkers can head into an ornate Arabian cave, aka the Apotheke, where cocktails are served, as is the fashion these days, in mason jars. Which only leaves the chameleon-like club space that will showcase local labels one night then welcome corporate schmoozers the next—quite the range, so choose wisely.