Tucked away just off Passeig de Gràcia in Barcelona’s city centre, Coco Vail Beer Hall is the perfect place to sip Catalan craft beers, feast on hearty American food and connect with the city’s international community.
Once upon a time, childhood friends Andres and Tony moved from their native Barcelona to the States, where they studied and worked their way from Arizona to New York and San Francisco.
A decade later they returned home feeling fulfilled and invigorated by their experience, but were soon struck by a sense of melancholy and loss for the life they’d left behind. A familiar feeling for anyone who’s moved to a new country for a period of time.
They missed the warmth of the bars that had provided the narrative of their youth, where they’d made new friends from all over the world and discovered a passion for American craft beer, food and sports.
Two years laters, after a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears, they opened Coco Vail Beer Hall, the physical embodiment of their golden years abroad, a place to share and celebrate what their experienced and bring a little bit of America to Barcelona.
A leafy entranceway leads into a large but cosy space, with warm lighting and long rows of chunky wooden tables that provide its sociable beer hall vibes.
It’s designed to encourage social interaction and help you share good times with new friends. Wednesday nights are student nights, Thursday nights are all about live music and Sundays are reserved for NFL and various other sports.
The bare brick walls are adorned with colourful photos of Andres and Tony at the places that inspired them and the design of their bar, as well as vintage Americana that adds an air of vintage SoCal surf beach vibes.
If you’ve ever been to San Diego or LA, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
24 beer taps offer the very best from Catalunya’s craft beer scene, with brews from Edge Brewing, Garage Beer, Espiga, Fort and many more.
“As international as this place is, I really want to support local brewers,” says Andres. “And anyway, when I travel, I like to taste the local beers, so I want to offer that to people coming to Barcelona.”
The hearty menu – “It’s not healthy, but it’s delicious,” admits Andres – features proper American-style burgers named after the places they were inspired by.
The Texas burger with beets, spicy radish and watercress, the Louisiana burger with cheddar and Japanese yakiniku bbq sauce. I enjoyed a particularly zesty and delicious ceviche.
Other soul food staples include sweet potato fries and pulled pork sandwiches with honey and rosemary, but the stars of the show are unquestionably the chicken wings, offering a world tour of finger lickin’ good flavour: Mexico wings with chipotle chill sauce, Indian wings with Sri Lanka cardamom and Kerala pepper, and Thai wings with coconut milk, green curry, mint and coriander, just to name a few.
Finish with a hearty wedge of cheese cake, carrot cake, blueberry pie, or go all out with a giant gooey chocolate chip and peanut butter cookie with three scoops vanilla ice cream. “It’s that hot and cold thing, you know?” asks Andres. I know.
For global citizens and those of us who have adopted an international mindset, Coco Vail offers something incredibly unique in Barcelona: a place of belonging, a place to connect with others, a home-from-home.
Pop in for a quiet beer or a satisfying lunch/dinner, and stay for nights of revelry with new friends from all over the world.
As Andres explains, “It’s not just a bar, it’s a feeling, it’s a community.”
Make it Happen
Located a 5/10 minute walk from Plaça de Catalunya.
Address: Carrer d’Aragó, 284, 08009 Barcelona
Nearest Metro: Passeig de Gràcia (Purple/Yellow Line)
Hours: Mon-Thur 12:30pm to 12:30am / Fri & Sat 12:30pm to 2am / Sun 5pm to 12am