6 hidden gems in Barcelona for dining, drinking, and meeting people

…or places where cuties hang out.

There’s simply no shortage of beautiful sights and delicious food in this city. Located on the Mediterranean coast, Barcelona’s charm attracts millions of tourists (9.7 million last year) because of its architecture, lively nightlife, and beaches.

The city is a great place to encounter intriguing (and very cute) people during your Spain or Europe trip, with lots of places to meet and connect. Whether you want a more chill vibe or a wild night of partying, there is something for everyone in Barcelona!

So, brush up on your Español and let’s dive into these hidden gems that will have you exploring, indulging, and perhaps sparking an unforgettable connection in the heart of this charming city.

1. Balius Bar at Rambla Del Poblenou

Balius Bar at Rambla Del Poblenou Barcelona
Photos from @baliusbar on Instagram

Located a few minutes from the beach, Rambla De Poblenou is a kilometer-long pedestrian street with a relaxed ambiance. It’s a great spot for tapas, drinks, outdoor dining, and even an afternoon stroll. It stretches from the beachfront of Playa del Bogatell up to a major street Gran Via De Les Corts Catalanes.

It is much less crowded here than at the famous La Rambla, giving it a more chill, soak-up-the-sun vibe. Balius Bar is a good place to meet both tourists and locals as it is always bustling. The cocktails are reasonably priced and the staff are very friendly (they speak good English!).

Tip: Go on a Sunday night when they have live jazz music.

2. Kuletos Restaurant at Poblenou

Kuletos Restaurant at Poblenou Barcelona
Photos by Ellaine Cruz

Kuletos Restaurant is perfect if you are traveling with a group of family or friends or if you would like to dine indoors during a hot summer evening. Their interiors are filled with trinkets, pictures, and figures of Hergé’s comic character Tintin. Whether you are a fan or not of The Adventures of Tintin, you are going to enjoy the delicious food and cozy ambiance.

Tip: I often skip bravas when dining out as you can find it everywhere here, but their patatas bravas with basil sauce is a must try!

3. Gilda By Belgious at the Gothic Quarter

Gilda By Belgious at the Gothic Quarter Barcelona
Photos from @gildabybelgious on Instagram

One of the charming, old town areas in Barcelona, the Gothic Quarter or Barri Gòtic is full of quirky shops and trendy bars. You can easily fall in love with and lose yourself (on purpose) in its medieval alleys.

Gilda By Belgious is a fusion restaurant and bar that gives travelers such a warm welcome, not only from the owner himself and the good-looking staff, but also the food feels like home, regardless where you come from. They have funky items on their dishes such as curry ice cream, and of course, Belgian beer.

Tip: Ask for the onion soup, especially if traveling here in winter!

4. Contraban Restaurant at the Gothic Quarter

Contraban Restaurant at the Gothic Quarter Barcelona
Photos from @contrabanbcn on Instagram

A hidden gem in the alleys of the Gothic Quarter is a boutique hotel called The Wittmore. It houses Contraban Restaurant, which features an internal patio where you can have drinks over intimate conversations. They also have a lovely rooftop terrace that offers charming views of the city.

It’s a place that’s quite suitable for a romantic night, so grab that summer holiday date, pronto. No date? No problem! They also hold live music nights with a DJ on summer weekends so you can come solo and mingle.

Tip: If you chose to sit at the patio, make sure to look up!

5. Can Fisher at Playa Mar Bella

Can Fisher at Playa Mar Bella Barcelona
Photos by Ellaine Cruz and from @canfisherbcn on Instagram

How about some authentic Spanish seafood paella and sangria by the beach? Located at Playa Mar Bella, Can Fisher not only offers the best beachfront views, but also lots of fresh seafood to enjoy with some good company. I particularly enjoyed how refreshing their sangria is—a perfect pitcher to have on a European summer day.

Playa Mar Bella or Mar Bella beach hosts not only bars and restaurants, but also venues for physical activities that both locals and tourists enjoy, such as skateboarding, basketball, table tennis and beach volleyball to name a few. It is one of the beaches that was developed for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

Tip: Wearing clothes is optional in some parts of this beach. So, be ready to be a bit shocked or to disrobe.

6. Sips at Eixample District

Sips at Eixample District Barcelona
Photos from @sips.barcelona on Instagram

A very busy area in the city, the Eixample district is the go-to place for luxury shopping and is home to some of Antoni Gaudi’s work such as Casa Milà and Sagrada Familia. Needless to say, it’s not only where you can explore the city’s remarkable grid-like neighborhood, but also a great spot for meeting fellow travelers while exploring the city’s gastronomic delights.

Barcelona is home to three of The World’s 50 Best Bars: Paradiso, Sips, and Two Schmucks. Out of these, Sips, is my favorite. It’s actually a bar without a bar (they call themselves a drinkery house). They prepare the cocktails on a small island at the center of the space, where everyone can see how their drinks are made. You are given 45 minutes to stay at the table for every round of drinks you order—so you gotta make it count!

Tip: These bars do not accept reservations—you have to queue at the door and that’s probably where the socializing starts.

The new lifestyle.