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Avesta A twist to the green fairy

Unconventional and pleasantly surprising, Avesta is a secret find that you won’t wanna miss out on. Tucked down one of Barcelona’s narrow dark alleys in the Barrio Gotico, lies a bar that stands no more than six feet high—its low ceilings are lined with original wooden beams and the capacity is what one might compare to a can of sardines. This hole in the wall may be small, but their drinks pick up the slack. Milk and absinthe. Oh yes, milk and absinthe is their signature drink. Although a fully stocked bar, you’d have to be a fool, or just very lactose intolerant, to miss out on this one-of-a-kind concoction. Their ten-euro jugs of absinthe mixed with flavored milk serve about ten shots. Some of their most popular flavors include chocolate, strawberry, banana, coffee, and mint. For an extra kick, the bartenders hand you cinnamon to sprinkle on top at your own discretion. Although they suggest it as shots, the combination is so damn tasty that almost everyone sips on it and before you know it, another jug is being ordered. If milk and absinthe seems wrong, you don’t want to be right.

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.

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.

Sidecar Essential eclecticism

Sidecar can be found on Plaza Real, one of Barcelona’s most hectic locations. How surprising, then, that it also yields a music venue with such a distinguished record for eclecticism.

There’s a sleek ground-floor bar with a permanent screen showing artful projections as well as an adjacent small terrace. Both make for an ideal breather from Sidecar’s real jewel, the downstairs club and live music venue. Dimly lit, with low ceilings and bare brick walls, this simple space forges a real intimacy between the act and audience. Its stellar reputation stems from its electronica and reggae club nights, and great live bands like local experimental rock set, Les Aus. Try the hilarious ‘Anti-Karaoke’ night on Monday evenings, where punters try their hand at an unlikely set of sing-alongs.

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