Some bodegas serve the best little plates and tapas in the city
So, what is a bodega?
At its most simple a bodega is where us locals buy everyday wines from the barrel, and occasional wines, cavas and spirits by the bottle or case. In short, an off-licence, or liquor store, where quality wines are considerably cheaper than in supermarkets, and where you can sample the wines before you buy.
What is a bar bodega?
A bar bodega is a bodega with a bar, serving wines, beers and spirits — and, often, little bites.
As well as serving quality wines at affordable prices you’ll find some bodegas serve the best little plates and tapas in the city — anything from simple olives, cured meats and cheeses, through elaborate montaditos, to epicurean delights such as angulas (elvers) and Russian royal king crab.
Not so long back every barrio had maybe eight or more bodegas, where neighbours would meet for gossip over a vermut or a beer as they bought their family ration of booze. As incomes rose and tastes changed, and supermarkets moved in, bodegas fell out of favour or morphed into wine stores.
And now — with owners cashing up and retiring — young savvy owners are taking their place, and with customers looking to save money — bodegas are back.
There are some that have always been around — check out Bodega Montse —a beautifully filthy relic of the 1890s:
And now, in place of the old jug and bottle shops, two distinct types of revamped bodegas are emerging — those positioned to appeal to a more affluent set — offering imported beers and premium brand spirits, where the ambience is more like a wine bar; and those which have retained the look, feel and smells of traditional bodegas which, with the addition of craft beers and exquisite snacks, appeal to a younger, more casual set.
Here are a few traditional though thriving bodegas you may want to check out:
Bar Bodega Quimet in Gràcia.
Bar Bodega Montse in the Raval.
Bar Bodega del Poblet very near the Sagrada Familia.
Bar Bodega E. Marin in Gràcia.
Bar Bodega Quimet i Quimet in Poble Sec.