I feel like I say this all the time, but I’ll say it again anyway – Sant Antoni is my favourite barrio in Barcelona.
I love the leafy streets and laid-back neighbourhood feel. I love its local yet cosmopolitan vibe. And most of all I love the variety of traditional and contemporary bars and restaurants.
No matter what you’re in the mood for, there’s always somewhere exciting to eat and drink here. And now there’s a place for cocktail connoisseurs who want to tip a few back à la Sant Antoni.
Opened by uber passionate and friendly Frenchman Benoit (from Bordeaux), this cosy but spacious bar is the place for premium quality cocktails at agreeably local prices – i.e. priced for locals, not tourists.
Benoit is obsessed with quality. Even the mixers are artisanal and I’ve honestly never smelt such intoxicatingly fragrant herbs – especially when set alight with a blowtorch.
For Benoit, it’s not just about maximising profit margins. For him it’s about building a community and inspiring social interaction. It’s about engagement.
He left his corporate life behind to create something far bigger than just “a bar” – he wanted to create a space for living, a space for sharing stories and connecting with others.
One of the most obvious advantages of this ethos is that cocktails that would normally cost you €15-€20 in the city centre will cost you just €10 or €12 here.
Yes, Ben wants you to enjoy high quality cocktails made with the very best possible ingredients, but more importantly he also wants you to come back time and time again. To become a regular. A local.
As a Frenchman and ex-wine trader, it’s no surprise that La Bombilla is also an excellent place for cheese and vino.
The cheese is from France and Spain and Ben offers advice on which order to eat each with. But “there are no rules. You can eat it with bread and jam, or you can just eat it on its own,” Ben explained as I began to worry about breaking French-cheese-eating etiquette.
Though I would like to add that it would be blaspheme not to eat it with a bottle of the good stuff.
Step 1. Pop in early afternoon after your siesta and warm up with a beer or two (Alhambra on tap and there are plenty of local craft beers to choose from by the bottle).
Step 2. Once you’ve worked up a bit of an appetite, order a bottle of tinto (red wine) – be sure to ask Ben for recommendations – and a charcuterie and/or cheese platter to share with your friends.
Step 3. Move onto cocktails and make new friends at the bar. Let the night sweep you away.
This is everything I love about Sant Antoni crammed into one glorious space.
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