Mariatchi Bar (Manu Chao’s Bar in Barcelona) ~ Clandestine Dreams

Located in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, Mariatchi Bar is one of the original clandestine bars that were set up across the city by squatters and political anarchists.

Mariachi Bar Gothic Quarter Barcelona

Walking down a dark narrow street in the thick of the Gothic quarter, I was instructed by my new friends to stay close to the wall and not look up.

As if on queue, an angry tirade of nasty words were spat out from a balcony above us, followed by the shlop of water as it thundered into the street next to us.

“Did she just throw a bucket of water at us?” I inquired in disbelief. “Yes,” was the response. “With bleach.”

You see, Mariatchi is thought to be one of the original clandestine bars that were set up across the city by squatters and political anarchists, causing their neighbours all kinds of untold grief. Whether it’s now legit or not, I can’t say, but I can tell you that it’s one of the most thrilling and atmospheric bars I’ve ever wet my whistle at.

The walls, which I can only assume were painted by enhanced hippies, feature bold blocks of random colour, and the “furniture” consists of plastic chairs and empty beer kegs for tables.

The crowd is capricious yet benevolent, with a wild mix of bohemian types and musicians who often meet here to jam (hence the bleach).

Rumour has it that Manu Chao owns the place, but although he and his amigos have been known to break into song here, I can’t imagine he’d ever admit to owning it, even if he did.

Sup on a homemade vermouth or expand your mind with their infamous house special cocktail. The “Hydromiel Nubia” is a sort of sweet honey-wine pepped up with cinnamon and other various spices.

Take a seat, make some strange new friends and have as much fun as you can before the police arrive. Don’t forget to stay close to the wall as you leave.

Make it Happen

Address: Carrer Còdols, 14, 08002 Barcelona
Nearest Metro Stop: Liceu (Green line)

I’m very proud to say that I wrote (a shorter version of) this for The HUNT Guides’ Barcelona edition – buy it now at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com and get even more of my exclusive insider recommendations.

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