Despite the explosion of craft beer bars in Barcelona, wine seems to be on an upward trend. Wine bars, wine shops, and tasting events are popping up all over. Born seems to be the ‘it’ location when it comes to wine bars in Barcelona, but it’s possible to find great wines in any corner of the city. Here’s the shortlist of our favorites.
Disset Graus (Born)
Esta foto de ElDiset es cortesía de TripAdvisor
Named for the temperature at which wine should be stored (17 degrees in Catalan), Disset Graus is a gorgeous little wine bar with a warm atmosphere, excellent local wine list, and great food. Just off the Rambla del Born, this centrally located space makes a great stop-off after a long day of sightseeing, although getting there early is a must. The place is almost always packed, and it’s easy to see why. With a wine list of almost 60 bottles from Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, and Germany, there is a lot to choose from. The wines by the glass are largely local and the menu of snacks–mostly toasts piled with yummy toppings–make an excellent accompaniment.
Carrer Antic de Sant Joan, 3
T: 932 68 19 87
Can Cisa (El Born)
This photo of Can Cisa is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Can Cisa is a classic when it comes to wine in Barcelona. Owned by Max and Stefano Colombo of Xemei fame, this trendy wine bar already had a following before it even opened. All the wine is natural and many are biodynamic as well. Tables are limited and usually demand a reservation, but it’s usually possible to find a seat at the bar and order tapas to share. The menu is Italian and features cheeses and cured meats, as well as main plates which are a great size for sharing. The knockout menu rotates regularly with market fresh ingredients, but has included classics like fettuccini with white truffles, spaghetti in squid ink, cuttlefish with bottarga and egg yolk, and octopus with potatoes.
Carrer de la Princesa, 14
T: 933 19 98 81
Born Voraz (El Born)
Born Voraz has taken up residence in a space that has turned over more times than I can count. I feared this didn’t bode well, but they seem to be thriving, which pleases me because I always need a new spot for wine. The space is filled with long communal tables, a decent bar space, and a beautiful terrace above. The menu includes lots of traditional Spanish plates, like pimientos del padrón, croquetas, and huevos estrellados (scrambled eggs with jamón), but includes pleasantly surprising takes on fusion dishes as well, like the buñuelos which are essentially fried spinach and ginger fritters with a Thai dipping sauce. It’s a great place to pop in for a glass of wine and a couple appetizers before dinner.
Carrer de la Princesa, 33-35
T: 932 95 50 37
This petite wine bar nestled in the heart of Gràcia opened in 2008 and has been going strong ever since. They have a large selection of wines–over 150 Spanish wines–which changes regularly, and a short list by the glass. To accompany the wine, they offer a selection of raw-milk cheeses, charcuterie, tartares, salads, and other light bites. On my last visit, I had an excellent plate of aged Manchego, some of the best I can remember, served alongside several slices of pan con tomato (toasted bread with tomato spread), nuts, grapes, and a tomato jam that was heavenly. The wine, of course, was excellent too.
Carrer de Vallfogona, 12
T: 932 84 42 02
Doga Wine Bar (Sant Antoni)
This pint-sized wine bar in Sant Antoni is a more than welcome addition to the neighborhood, which has been lacking in good wine spots. Run by the owners of beloved local haunt Taranna, Doga is its feisty little sister. The good people at Doga serve up a healthy dose of wines, both local and international, as well as small pairing bites that work especially well to stave off your hunger while you wait for a table next door. For such a small place, their wine list is impressive. At any given time, they have about 20 wines by the glass as well as a short list of tapas that run between 5€ and 10€ a plate. They have a simple menu that varies but usually includes a cheese plate, as well as country pate, foie gras, truffle cheese, cured meats, marinated veggies, and other rustic bites.
Carrer de Viladomat, 23
At times, I wonder if wine bars in Barcelona are competing for the smallest space. If that were the case, Zim would surely win. But what it lacks in elbow room, it makes up for in charm and a delicious wine selection. Owner Katherine McLaughlin (of the Formatgeria La Seu cheese shop next door) and her partner have put together a very respectable wine list with a good selection of wines and cava by the glass. The menu includes a must-try cheese plate with marmalade, olives, cured meats, and sobrassada. It’s worth a pop in for a glass and a chat.
Carrer de la Dagueria, 20
Josep Grau has opened his highly anticipated tasting space in the Born which brings a taste of D.O. Montsant to Barcelona. Carefully designed to reflect the landscape where his wines are created, the space combines the warmth of the Catalan spirit with the natural materials–wood and granite–that are an intrinsic part of the winemaking regions of Priorat and Montsant. The space is a great place to discover Josep Grau’s new wines and new vintages, to share in conversations about local wine, and to learn about the region of Montsant. Becoming a “Friend of JGV Terroir” allows member privileges including access to events organized at the premises of the tasting space and the cellar and the ability to organize private tastings in Barcelona and Priorat, among others.
Carrer dels Canvis Nous, 13
We’re sad to say goodbye to El Soplo, a wonderful, cozy wine bar in the Born. Tucked into a narrow street next to the cathedral, it was an easy stop off for a glass of wine before dinner. Unlike most bars in the city, they also offered a free tapa–or more–with each glass of wine. The plates they would bring were overflowing with a mix of local and non-traditional dishes like local cheeses, cured meats, hummus. More often than not, these small plates became my light dinner. Even though we have a lot of wine bars to choose from in the city, with more opening all the time, the closing of El Soplo reminds me how important it is to support these small, independent spaces.
About the author: Melissa Leighty is freelance writer and photographer based in Barcelona, Spain. When she’s not writing about wine, she covers travel and food for Metropolitan and Miniguide and is at work on her first cookbook about Catalan cuisine. Visit her at www.melissaleighty.com and follow her latest culinary adventures on her food blog, Ataula. She’s on Instagram as well @mpleighty and @ataula_co.