Visiting the Best Cocktail Bar in Spain – Paradiso
Being the best cocktail bar in Spain may sound presumptuous, but in the case of Paradiso, it’s absolutely warranted. I wasn’t so sure about going at first, but when my friend Steffen told me it was a speakeasy, I was all in.
From incredible tastes to enthralling sites and sounds, what I experienced won me over, regardless of awards and ratings. It’s more than a cocktail bar. Visiting Paradiso is a magically delicious experience of the senses.
Showing Up at the Best Cocktail Bar in Spain
Paradiso is hidden away in the alluring Barcelona neighborhood of El Born, just a block in from the ever-popular Barceloneta beach area. Like any proper speakeasy, it’s incognito. The only giveaway is the line for getting in.
My friends and I got there just in time because after us the line really started to get long. This place isn’t trying to be exclusive. They’re simply all about creating a most remarkable atmosphere and experience. So much so that the word has been getting out for years now. Along with being awarded the best cocktail bar in Spain for 2019, Paradiso is also rated as one of the world’s 50 best bars.
Getting there sometime after eleven (early by Spanish standards), our wait was only about five minutes to get in. And immediately, the fun began. They took us into their unsuspecting ‘front’, a small, bright white-walled bar called Pastrami Bar (remember that for later). Then they opened a huge old-school freezer door for us to walk through into an entirely different world. Think ‘The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe’, minus the wardrobe and no foes on the other side.
Welcome to the Other Side
From bright, white light we stepped into the romantically dark interior of Paradiso. The ceiling has clusters of glass orbs set in glass blown leaves. Its amber lighting gives off a warm hue throughout the space. They creatively mimic nature, accentuating the bohemian wallpaper of dark green palm fronds. But I was most captivated by the wood paneling, which flows in thinly carved slats from the ceiling down the wall and along the bar. It gives the feeling of being inside an enchanted forest.
Seated at our table, we were in for our next delight. Their menus are backlit and come with a plastic colored card that when used for viewing reveals hidden drawings. Talk about creative. Hip music hummed overhead at an ideal level, not blaring so I could actually hear my friends.
I love how the ambiance is intentionally created, with no loitering allowed, ensuring that the classy, speakeasy environment is maintained. Everywhere I looked, people were seated and leaning in together, enthralled with the menus and then in awe and delight as their works-of-art-cocktails were brought to them. The vibe of the place was welcoming and intriguing all at the same time.
Drinks & Food at Paradiso
Oohing and aahing over the menu, I finally decided on their Great Gasby drink. And boy, was I glad I did. It’s a whiskey-based cocktail made with Macallan 12-year double cask, white truffle honey, amaro, and essence of lavender. But that’s not all. They brought it out under a glass case filled with vanilla and chocolate tobacco smoke. We all leaned in as they lifted that case, breathing in the exquisite aroma which wonderfully remained with the drink even several sips into it. The other friend with us also ordered the Great Gasby and Steffen got their inventive gelato cocktail.
At Steffen’s recommendation, we also ordered and shared their pastrami sandwich (remember the Pastrami Bar where we came in?). Now, I’m not a huge sandwich girl, but this made me one that night. It was huge, to say the least, stuffed generously with thick slabs of the heavenly oak-barrel smoked meat and zingy, fresh kimchi. Between that and my cocktail, I was in speakeasy heaven. And as you can see, it was so freaking delicious that we gobbled it up before I remembered to take a picture. Oops. But so yum!
Paradiso – The Best Cocktail Bar in Spain
If Paradiso sounds too good (or too pricey) to be true, don’t be fooled. They maintain their standard of creating remarkable cocktails at affordable prices. Their menu also features other tapa-styled small plates. Even if you have to wait in a line around the block, I’m telling you, it’ll be worth it. I’m certainly dreaming of going back.
Carrer de Rera Palau, 4, 08003 Barcelona
+34 933 60 72 22
Open every day, 7:00pm – 2:30am
This is not sponsored content and I received no compensation for this post. I paid full price for my experience and simply want to share what I enjoyed with others.
Images used in the featured image and Pinterest image are credited to Paradiso.
Written by Amalia Maloney Del Riego
Writer & Film Co-Producer
I love traveling and tend to be a slow-traveler, taking time to enjoy places and especially the local culture. ‘Eating and drinking’ my way around a new place and meeting the people, is how I love to travel. Enjoy my other writings and published poetry on my site AmaliaVida.com.