The hipster culture may have been born in the U.S, but it has really been able to thrive in Europe, with Barcelona at the top of the scene. A relaxed vibe and accepting culture nurtures a creative outlet for local artists. The prime, subtropical location means fresh, local produce. Not to mention, you really can’t beat all the small boutique stores and restaurants nestled in old fortress walls. This hipster guide to Barcelona will help you get started exploring the hipster of side Barcelona, starting with brunch and breakfast continuing on to the nerd triangle, craft cocktail bars and finishing with boutique hotels to lay your head at the end of a long day.
Milk Bar– My favorite brunch spot for the food and atmosphere. This charming gem, with custom designed couches and decorations is designed to feel like a regal drawing room. Owned by an Irish couple, Milk Bar serves a wonderful assortment of brunch items from benedict to berry smothered waffles. The produce is purchased daily from a local market, so you know your food is fresh and supporting local businesses. Stay until 2am for their awesome craft cocktails. If you’re brunching, get there early as this place has turned into quite the hot spot. Photo cred Milk Bar
Picnic– is another another top favorite of mine. I stumbled into this place easter weekend Saturday when not much else was open and boy, was I happy I did. With outdoor seating and a cosy wooden decor inside this place is a perfect location near top sights. The menu is a fantastic American/Mexican/Spanish fusion of delicious brunch dishes like duck hash with a poached egg and english muffin, tapa waffles and of course, benedict. Pair your brunch with a fresh sangria in a hipster mason jar and end it with a tasty dessert. Check out Picnic Restaurant.
Fresh Pressed Juices With local exotic Spanish fruit at their finger tips fresh pressed juices are a bounty in Barcelona. Check out Press and Reset or Theresa’s Juicery if you want to skip the heavy brunch and start your day with fresh, healthy energy.
Brunch & Cake– Owned by the city famous Cup & Cake this hot spot is a must visit for brunch and well, cake, and who doesn’t love cake for breakfast? The lovely crisp cream and wooden decor is inviting and relaxing. Their philosophy is to locally source as much organic product as possible and make everything slowly by hand. Their cappuccinos are to die for and all their chocolate is premium Valrhona chocolate. Photo cred Brunch and Cake
The Benedict– Transport into cosy victorian English pub atmosphere, where you’re invited you to settle into one of their couches and enjoy a hearty benedict and mimosa for brunch. They specialize in their name sake with several types of benedict on the menu from spinich to lochs. Make sure to ask for your mimosa with fresh Spanish orange juice! Stay late into the evening for their lively music and party atmosphere. Photo cred The Benedict
Joan de Borbo Market– This market doesn’t appear to be too hipster at first, but if you find the row of tents with their back facing the harbor, just before it turns into the beach, along Passeig de Joan de Borbo you’ll hit a mini gold mine. It’s just a small area, but here you can find some locally brewed Catalunya beer, home made empanadas and artisanal Spanish cheeses. Grab everything you need for a small intimate picnic on the beach.
Palo Alto– This immersive outdoor festival and market happens in Barcelona on certain weekends. With design and concept galleries, food trucks, live music and street venders this is a truly unique experience in Barcelona. If you’re in Barcelona in December don’t miss the Palo Alot Market Festival, an experience enhancing the concept of outdoor leisure, culture and trading.
Lost & Found– This video captures everything that is the Lost & Found Market. Totally vintage, but hip and cool.
For more vintage markets and local shopping head up to Passeig de Gràcia where you can find rows of awesome finds!
The Nerd Triangle
The nerd triangle is a place unlike anywhere else in the world. Quite like it’s cousin, the Bermuda Triangle, many never return. Whether that is because it’s easy to get lost wandering the comic book stores, playing games at a local store or perhaps those that enter the Tardis at Kaburi are sent off to another dimension. This is a place you don’t want to miss. You’ll find most shops located between Sant Joan Street and Ali Bei Street, just near the Arc de Triomf off the Metro L1.
Comic Stores and Publishers–
There are two comic book stores to highlight. Gigamesh (pictured) may be best known as the publisher of Game of Thrones in Spanish, but with a 500sqm library full to the brim of card and RPG games and action figures this has become a well known hub for all SiFi and fantasy lovers. The other, Norma Comics features comics of all your favorite nintendo characters as well as a bountiful selection of anime and other comics.
Kaburi (pictured) is also a comic book store, but they have room for game play. Grab a cup of coffee on site to fuel an evening of gaming. Bring your own, or play one at the store! Don’t forget to bring your camera to take a photo next to the life size Tardis. Firefly Drinks & Games is a great spot for someone looking to avoid the comic book atmosphere and class it up with a cocktail while enjoying a board game with a group of friends. Check their facebook for all their scheduled game events and enjoy all the nerd paraphernalia decorating their walls.
Tapas & Treats
With an official hipster hand guide on “How to Eat Tacos” it’s hard to decide which taco to stuff your face with first! Start with a ceviche and wash down your gourmet tacos with a real fruit margarita rimmed with a spicy salt. This place got really busy while we were there, so make a reservation or get there early. Check out Tlaxcal.
Cat Bar– Is there anything more hipster than cat artwork adorning the walls of a vegan hamburger and craft brew joint? I don’t think so. Not only are the eats great, but the crowd is enjoyable. Bring your hoop and your carefree attitude and you’ll fit right in. This is definitely on the “do not miss” list.
While not the most hipster joint in town it’s a delightful local tapas bar with the most friendly staff attending to your every need. The decor may throw you off with a white and blue neon thing going on, but that doesn’t mean the food isn’t to die for. You sit in front of the kitchen and can watch the talented chefs make your food. Sit at the bar, order a bottle of wine and enjoy some of the best tapas even the locals enjoy. Check out Bar Cañete.
Organic + Tapas– Their slogan is “Organic is Orgasmic” and it truly is at this little hot spot. Half the time I couldn’t even tell what I was eating, but the flavors were so amazing I didn’t care and devoured every last bite. I came back to this place several times during both visits to Barcelona. I could not get enough. The best part? All food is raw, vegan, organic, local and fresh.
Happy Pills– The happiest place on earth if you’re a gummy lover, like my best friend Kirsty, here. If gummy candy could cure everything, this would be the medical mecca of healing. It sure worked for our hangover. Pick your container, size asymptomatic to chronic and fill to your hearts content. The adorable packaging is also a great take home souvenir. You can even order online at Happy Pills.
Frozen Yogurt Just walk along Passeig El Born and you’ll find real frozen yogurt shops a plenty. Most of them have very limited toppings, including fresh fruit, but that’s all you need to spoon you way to nomville.
Craft Cocktails & Clubs
Dry Martini & Speakeasy– This place is so classically classy, with staff clad in bow ties and an antique laden floor that it’s a modern day religion based on cocktails. Don’t leave without trying their dirty martini, it’s to die for. Check out Dry Martini
Collage Art & Cocktail Social Club– My top pick for cocktail and mixology bars in Barcelona. This place has everything from a moody dark atmosphere with funky lights hanging over the downstairs bar to a cosy seating area upstairs with wing back chairs and sofas. They pride themselves on the true art of mixology and the cocktails I tried were all a new takes on old classics or something entirely new to me. Check out Collage Art and Cocktail Club.
Under Club Barcelona is known for it’s lively nightlife, but many of the popular tourist destinations are basic and nothing out of the ordinary. Under is an underground gem with a warehouse feel. Here you’ll find yourself dancing the night away with a bunch of lively and friendly locals and DJs playing for the crowd.
Chic & Basic – Even though basic is in the name, it’s nothing but. This adorable hotel is styled after fashion and lifestyle icons of the 60s and 70s. Friendly staff are available 24/7 to help guide you through Barcelona. Local musicians play some evenings in the bar where you can enjoy tapas while listening. With only a 3 minute walk from a metro stop, the beach and La Rambla you can’t beat the location. Check out Chic and Basic
Casa Camper– Have you ever heard of camper shoes? Well take that hipster concept and add it to a boutique hotel and you have Casa Camper! All rooms overlook a fabulous garden, enjoy the view hanging from your in-room hammock. They also have a 24 hour snack lounge at your disposal. Check out Casa Camper.
The three main ares you’ll want to get cosy with are Gràcia, El Born and The Gothic Quarter.
is a neighborhood that was independent from Barcelona until the 19th century with it’s own self sustaining BoHo feel. Gràcia is often overlooked by many tourists so, at the heart of the Catalyuna culture you often feel as if you’ve found your own oasis of art shops and traditional Spanish shops.
The Gothic Quarter
with narrow winding alley ways among the old Roman remnants house amazing brunch spots and more fresh pressed juice than you can handle.
With all the charm of The Gothic Quarter, but a little bit further from La Rambla El Born maintains a local vibrant charm full of frozen yogurt shops and craft beer spots.
I hope this hipster guide to Barcelona helps you navigate this hip city! What are your favorite hot spots in Barcelona? Don’t forget to pin to your favorite hip or European board for future reference!