One of the real tricks with the vibrant, ever-changing and much beloved city of Barcelona is perfecting the art of digging out the real gems amongst the sea of undiscerning, tourist-o-centric venues for eating and drinking.
Sure, you’re not short of options, in fact you’re spoiled for choice come sun down when that first little notion that ‘an ice cold mojito might be nice around now’ nestles itself comfortably in your subconscious, growing steadily as you entertain it further. But this cheeky little notion poses its own challenge – ‘where to go?’
Alessandro Pasquinucci has his own answer to that all-important question, and this solution comes in the form of his bar ‘Bloody Mary Cocktail Lounge’. Alessandro works alongside a tried and tested mixologist gang, and together they’ve made it their mission to mark their turf atop the teetering heights of ‘Barca’s best bar’ rankings, and they’re well on the way.
In fact, I even stopped en route to ask a few locals if they could point me in the direction to the bar (of course, this was a purely academic test, I’ve never been lost in my entire life and woe betide anyone who suggests otherwise) all of whom gave me a wry grin and a little nod before pointing me on my way as if I had passed some kind of quality control test and now was worthy of receiving some directions that didn’t lead me twelve times around the harbour and out towards the airport.
The cocktail lounge is located in the youthful, trendy Gracia district – a bit like Barcelona’s answer to Shoreditch but perhaps a little more polished and with fewer Poirot-esque waxed moustaches and penny farthings leaning nonchalantly against the wall of every barber’s shop in sight.
At Bloody Mary mixing knockout cocktails isn’t something they do in order to allow them to moonlight as a drummer in a ska band, it’s more of a vocational calling. At 3 Carrer de Ferrer de Blanes, where the bar can be found, they take their art seriously. Make no mistake, despite the name these guys can turn their hands to anything, not just to the eponymous Bloody Mary!
Behind the bar the spirit bottles are stacked high to the ceiling, almost like an epitaph in proud testimony to their vast offering. The venue itself is cosy, dimly lit with a scattered mixture of high bar stools for those looking for a quick mid-evening freshener, and deep, battered leather sofas for those settling in until the early hours. Candle light dances off the bleached pine floorboards and the atmosphere is one of modest revellery. The service is warm and friendly whilst always professional and someone is constantly on hand to offer the kind of cocktail choosing advice that only a true veteran worth his salt can dish out.
Bloody Mary cocktail lounge is a really unpretentious and welcoming little gem in the northern part of the city centre. Be sure to try out the house’s ‘Red Snapper’ version of the Bloody Mary whereby gin is substituted for vodka and rosemary and garlic are liberally added. Special mention must be made for the Alessandro’s smoking Old Fashioned, given that this old friend is my drink of choice I was reticent to see the classic tampered with – but, rather unsurprisingly – it was jaw-droppingly good, and frighteningly morish. Here marks the spot of a ‘must visit’ venue.
Bloody Mary Cocktail Lounge
Carrer de Ferrer de Blanes, 3, 08012 Barcelona, Spain