Between the blazing Mediterranean sun, seaside views, scattered patios and the eclectic mix of residents, people watching in Barcelona over sangria combines all the best elements of travel.
Travel offers a priceless opportunity to observe how different countries, cultures and people interact and lead their daily lives. Within the ordinary and everyday moments of observation, bit by bit you begin to understand the collective psyche and way of thinking.
One of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, Barcelona is a cosmopolitan city that draws locals and internationals alike. From the beach-goers coming from Barceloneta to the young professionals making the commute from Gràcia to the gritty skaters that call Raval home, Barcelona offers one of the world’s most diverse crowds, and is a reflection of not only the modern face of Spain, but the proud province of Catalonia as well.
What better way to people watch in Barcelona than over a cold glass of sangria? Born in Spain’s southern province of Andalusia dating back to the 18th century, today it is the summer drink of choice for many across the world – and it’s not hard to see why! The delightful drink is a combination of red or white wine (or cava as sometimes preferred in Barcelona), fresh fruit and juices, and topped off with a splash of liquor such as brandy or rum. Between the blazing Mediterranean sun, lively shores and scattered patios, it’s almost an obligation for the millions passing through each year to enjoy a cold pitcher of sangria at some point.
Here are the best places in Barcelona to people watch over a cold glass of sangria.
Bubó Bar, El Born
One of the best places in Barcelona for their unique pastries and sweets, Bubó Bar gets creative with their sangria as well. The now world-famous brand has locations in Abu Dhabi and Tokyo, but look no further than its birthplace in Barcelona for the true Bubó experience. In El Born’s Plaça de Santa Maria lies Bubó’s conveniently-located patio. Sit back and enjoy the view of the famous cathedral of Santa Maria del Mar where you’ll witness everything from the thrifty young people and bohemian artists that reside in El Born to groups of religious wayfarers, and perhaps even a traditional Catalan wedding.
BarCeloneta Sangria Bar, Barceloneta
A sangria bar steps away from the lively shores of Barceloneta? Sign me up. This intimate establishment has come to be known for its sangria options made from fine organic wines and freshly picked fruit, and combines it with spices that highlight the flavors and senses with Mediterranean aromas. Formerly a fisherman’s quarter, today Barceloneta retains its small village feel and is home to an eclectic mix of people, landing it on our list of one of the best places in Barcelona for people watching – gossiping elderly couples on the benches, young families, sweaty joggers and paddle boarders. Did I mention it’s by the beach?
Cerveceria Catalana, Eixample
One of the most popular tapas restaurants in all of the Eixample district, an outing to Cerveceria Catalana is as much a social experience as it is a culinary one. If nothing else, Eixample is a striking reminder why Barcelona is such an internationally renowned city. Under the modernista buildings of Antoni Gaudí, you’ll find groups of international students from the esteemed nearby universities passing by. Look in another direction and you’ll spot fashionistas exiting the high-end designer stores, bags in each hand, an indication of the glamorous side of Barcelona.
La Oveja Negra, El Raval
In the heart of El Raval lies Ovella Negra, which does a great job blending into the medieval architecture that surrounds it. Once you get past the dingy, dim and cavernous exterior, you’ll find that Ovella Negra is a charmingly unpretentious bar where many locals come to enjoy the great sangria at very fair prices. Once a gritty and seedy corner of Barcelona, El Raval has undergone a complete a change in recent years, now becoming a vibrant and multicultural hotspot, landing it on our list of one of the best places in Barcelona. Lost in the madness of the historic barrio, you’re sure to spot a number of characters here from budget backpackers, gritty skaters and rowdy partiers (this is Spain, after all).
Ocaña, Gothic Quarter
The Ocaña Café may be new to Barcelona, but the Gothic Quarter certainly isn’t. With its narrow streets and alleys, el barrio gotico is the heartbeat of Barcelona, blending Barcelona’s old world with a breath of modern life. Located in the famous Plaça Real, it’s easy to enjoy the picturesque decor that surrounds Ocaña, accentuated by a large fountain, street lamps and lush palm trees. Lively music is always playing at Ocaña and depending on the time and day, a DJ. This bodes well with the various characters passing through one of the most popular places in Barcelona at any given time – athletic street performers, Catalan protesters, pompous businessmen or young groups of friends.