BARCELONA BY THE LO­CALS

Matthew Hall GOES BE­HIND THE GAUDI AT­TRAC­TIONS AND FA­MIL­IAR TOURIST HAUNTS TO FIND THE BARCELONA THE LO­CALS KNOW AND LOVE.

Men's Style (Australia) - - Priority Male -

1 EAT & DRINK: 7 PORTES

A 180-year-old Barcelona in­sti­tu­tion, 7 Portes is all about its blue tiles, white table­cloths, and but­toned-up pro­fes­sional wait­ers. Oh, and qual­ity Cata­lan food. The starchy wait staff don’t mean this restau­rant is stuffy; it means this place is about qual­ity, and for a rea­son­able price. An ex­am­ple of how iconic 7 Portes is: you will be eat­ing at the same ta­bles that have en­ter­tained lo­cals like Pi­casso, Miro, and Dali, and fel­low tourists like Robert de Niro and sci­en­tist Alexan­der Flem­ing. We sat at Charl­ton He­ston’s ta­ble, ate an in­cred­i­ble paella, and drank a lot of wine. At lunch. Close to the beach­side area of Barceloneta, make reser­va­tions by email or ex­pect a long wait for a ta­ble. Pas­seig Is­abell II, 14; www.7portes.com

2 SPORT: NOU CAMP

FC Barcelona’s home ground is a must-see whether or not you are a round­ball fan. This is the work­place for Leo Messi, the best foot­baller in the world (sit down Cris­tiano Ronaldo fans, we’re in Barcelona, OK?) where you can join 99,000 fans (and, let’s be real, a ton of tourists) watch­ing one of the best soc­cer teams in the world do their stuff while – put down your meat pie – eat­ing chur­ros and drink­ing hot choco­late. Buy seats on­line where FC Barcelona’s web­site has a slick on­line tick­et­ing sys­tem where you can see what view of the pitch your Eu­ros will buy you. Big games (ver­sus Real Madrid and Cham­pi­ons League matches) are dif­fi­cult to get into but mid­week La Liga games usu­ally have avail­abil­ity. The Camp Nou Ex­pe­ri­ence – a mu­seum tour (closed on match days) – is worth the ef­fort for his­tory and the con­text of FCB’S Cata­lan iden­tity and why the team means a lot to the city. You will also get to see a lot of tro­phies. Car­rer d’aris­tides Mail­lol, 12; www.fcbarcelona.com

3 SHOP: HOLALA

Barcelona shop­ping can over­flow with gi­ant Euro chains (high end and fast fash­ion) along fancy Pas­seig de Gra­cia while tiny de­signer bou­tiques hide away in the less lush Gothic Quar­ter and El Raval. There’s also Holala, a vin­tage su­per­store with a 40-year pedi­gree and cus­tomers that in­clude Jean Paul Gaultier, John Gal­liano and our Kylie. Holala’s main store is found close to MACBA and CCCB – lead­ing art and cul­tural cen­tres – where se­ri­ous retrois­tas will find racks of high qual­ity vin­tage clothes and cool fur­ni­ture sourced from across Europe, the US, Ja­pan, and Aus­tralia. Amaz­ing staff might also give you tips on bars and clubs if you ask (we bought a jacket AND got put on a guest list at a club for later that night). Plaza Castella, 2.

4 SHOP: PARTISANO

Barcelona has a long his­tory of anti- au­thor­i­tar­i­an­ism – the Cata­lans are fiercely in­de­pen­dent and there has long been a le­git­i­mate move­ment to se­cede from Spain. Po­lit­i­cal aware­ness is al­most com­pul­sory and protest and demon­stra­tions are a part of life. Partisano is a small store sell­ing cool and edgy t-shirts-with-a-cause that go be­yond cliched Che Gue­vara images. You can also find vinyl by your favourite an­ar­chop­unk reg­gae band and merch from St Pauli, the Ger­man pro­fes­sional soc­cer club pop­u­lar with hip­pies, punks, and associated repro­bates. It’s the type of place that re­minds you much of Barcelona is re­fresh­ingly an­ti­cor­po­rate. Don’t ex­pect the per­son be­hind the counter to smile un­less your Cata­lan is on point. Car­rer de les Sit­ges, 8.

5 STAY: CASA CAM­PER

Orig­i­nally from the Balearic island of Mal­lorca, Cam­per shoe stores (Cam­per trans­lates from Cata­lan as “farmer”) are all over Barcelona. As well as walk­ing the streets in cool Cam­per shoes, you can stay in a Cam­per ho­tel. Bou­tique lux­ury that isn’t stuffy, Casa Cam­per’s in­te­rior de­sign is by Fernando Amat, one of the peo­ple be­hind iconic store Vin­con (1941-2015, RIP) which should be enough for style nerds to book a suite for a week. If walk­ing around the city is not your thing (al­though it should be) take one of the ho­tel’s free bikes. In fact, once you’ve paid for your room, ev­ery­thing at Casa Cam­per is free (ex­cept the restau­rant and bar).

An­other quirk: its wa­ter re­cy­cling sys­tem reuses shower and bath wa­ter for its toi­lets. Car­rer de Elis­a­bets, 11; www.casacam­per.com

6 EAT: EUSKAL ETXEA

Basque pinxto (“pinch-o”) bars can be found across Barcelona but Euskal Etxea (try say­ing that af­ter a bot­tle of wine), which trans­lates as “Basque House”, is the best. Tucked away near the Pi­casso Mu­seum, Euskal Etxea ranks so high prob­a­bly be­cause the restau­rant is part of the Basque Cul­tural Cen­tre – the staff care about their cul­ture and their cus­tomers and are happy to share know-how on food. Just like the orig­i­nal idea be­hind ta­pas, grab a drink and plate, and take a pinxto – or three – from the plat­ters on the bar. Re­peat. Keep your tooth­picks – priced be­tween €1-€3 – they will be counted for your bill when you are done. Plac­eta de Mont­cada, 1; www.eu­skaletx­eataberna.com

7 EAT: EL NA­CIONAL

There are thou­sands of amaz­ing tiny restau­rants in Barcelona so why visit fancy El Na­cional, a place as big as an air­craft hangar that seats 700? Be­cause this place of­fers five ar­eas spe­cial­is­ing in meat, fish, ta­pas, rice, and a deli that all high­light Span­ish re­gional cook­ing pre­pared with in­gre­di­ents from Spain, Por­tu­gal and the south of France. Don’t want to eat? Try one of the bars that show­case lo­cal beer, wine, cava and cock­tails – and oys­ters. The space is unique, too. Prior to be­com­ing a restau­rant, the build­ing was a theatre, a fab­ric fac­tory, a car dealer and – be­fore it be­came a huge restau­rant – a garage. Pas­seig de Grà­cia, 24 bis; www.el­na­cional­bcn.com

8 EAT & SHOP: ST JOSEP LA BOQUERIA

Lo­cated just off La Ram­blas, La Boqueria is the ge­o­graph­i­cal and spir­i­tual cen­tre of the long pedes­trian mall that rolls out from Placa Catalunya all the way down to the statue of Christo­pher Colum­bus look­ing out to the Mediter­ranean Sea and the Amer­i­cas. This work­ing mar­ket is filled with stalls sell­ing ev­ery­thing from flow­ers to all you need for a home-cooked lunch or din­ner. You will also find foodie gifts and – this is im­por­tant – hole-inthe-wall bars and cafes that at­tract loyal lo­cals and tourists. Pull up to the counter and or­der break­fast or lunch. Be warned: Barcelona can swarm with tourists and La Boqueria can get over­run, es­pe­cially on Satur­days. As an al­ter­na­tive, try Mer­cat de Santa Ca­te­rina in El Born which is usu­ally less full of tur­is­tas. La Ram­bla, 91.

9 EAT & DRINK: BOCA GRANDE

A hip (not hip­ster) yet un­pre­ten­tious bar and restau­rant in the Eix­am­ple that hits with its am­bi­ence, at­ti­tude, and food (oh, and check out the toi­lets for their mir­rors and Damien Hirst poster art). You will need to make reser­va­tions for din­ner but lunch is an easier fit af­ter you have checked out the nearby Gaudi-de­signed Casa Mila and Casa Batllo. If a ta­ble is hard to come by, drop by for a cock­tail and some lo­cal celebrity spot­ting (it’s that kind of place). Pas­sagate de la Con­cep­cio, 12; www.boca­grande.cat

10 EAT & DRINK: BAR LOBO

Hid­den a few blocks from Las Ram­blas in El Raval, you could spend all day at Bar Lobo and still not eat the same thing twice. Light and airy in­side, Bar Lobo also has ta­bles on the square (like most Barcelona bars) and a menu that starts with break­fast and ends with well-priced din­ner dishes. Tra­di­tional Ibe­rian lunch cul­ture dic­tates a three-course Menu of the Day and Bar Lobo keeps this tra­di­tion with a €12 deal. While Spain was once lean for veg­e­tar­ian op­tions, the op­po­site is now true in Barcelona. Even car­ni­vores will want to try Bar Lobo’s fried ar­ti­chokes. “Come with us to Bar Lobo – it’s where the lo­cals go,” a ran­dom French guy sug­gested one night. We knew this al­ready but he was still right. Pin­tor For­tuny 3.

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