There are many iconic places in Barcelona, but we could distinguish two kinds – the unique tourist attractions such as the singular Sagrada Familia, and other more secretive places that have a history and have embedded into the essence and identity of the city. Bar Marsella would fall into the second category.
Located in the heart of the neighbourhood of El Raval, the Bar Marsella has been open since 1820, and has a very special drink – almost mandatory to get if you visit it: Absinthe! That’s right, absinthe, a drink you should be careful with, as it s one of the strongest alcoholic drinks around, with an alcohol amount of 45-74%. Anis-flavoured, in the Bar Marsella you will drink it in a glass with a sugar cube on a fork that you will melt with mineral water. Little by little, the sugar will turn your absinthe yellow and transform it into a warm, tasty treat. But don’t forget is still highly alcoholic, so tread lightly!
But Bar Marsella is much more than its absinthe, even if Hemingway himself (among many other artists and intellectuals) enjoyed it there. Keep reading to find out why it’s considered a landmark of Barcelona.
Bar Marsella, more than absinthe
Barcelona’s Bar Marsella is located at one of the most loved and popular neighbourhoods of Barcelona, El Raval, which is a real melting pot, a mixture of different social class, ages, tastes and cultures. The tourist affluence of El Raval hasn’t made it any less loved by the locals, who still go out all night long in its little, twisted streets.
Bar Marsella is one of the classics of the neighbourhood – a little dirty spot from the outside that looks no more than a tiny local bar, with a wonderful dusty decoration that looks as if it remains the same sin it opened in 1820. Display cabinets full of liquor bottles, real vintage furniture and peeled off walls, Bar Marsella reflects the real essence of old Barcelona, the one prior to the 1992 Olympics the one cherished and deeply missed by the locals, no matter their age: They miss it even if they didn’t get to experience.
If you visit Barcelona, pay a visit to the Bar Marsella. You won’t regret it!