Barcelona’s Last Bullring: Plaza de Toros Monumental

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DSC00330A short walk from the iconic La Sagrada Familia is the Monumental Bullring, which first opened in 1914 under its original name “El Sport.” At the time, there were only two other bullrings in Barcelona, Plaza de El Torín, built in 1834, and Plaza de las Arenas, built in 1900. The venue tookDSC00345 its current name in 1916 when it expanded its capacity by 24,000 spectators as popularity for the sport grew. In 1977, following the closing of the city’s other two arenas, the Monumental became the last operational bullring in Barcelona prior to the ban on the sport passed by the lawmakers in Catalonia in 2010.

DSC00337The large brick building with its blue and white mosaic tile facades stands in stark contrast to its current surroundings. The arena may no longer host bull fights but it still holds much of the city’s bullfighting history. In addition to being able to tour the premises by walking its corridors and sitting in the stands, the arena is home to the Bullfighting Museum of Barcelona. Though small, the two room museum contains historic advertising posters, matador costumes, mounted bull heads as well as photographs and other memorabilia of the great matadors that have passed through the historic venue.

Gran Vía de las Corts Catalanes, 749

The Historic Catalan Beer Company: Moritz Brewery

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DSC00171A local beer, steeped in the region’s history, had its beginning at the arrival of Louis Moritz, who first arrived in Barcelona from Alsace in 1851. After several years of teaching beer making he decided to purchase a small brewery, which launched the Moritz Brewery in 1856. The beer would go on to win numerous awards before the brewery became state controlled during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). The family regained control after the war but faced a challenging economic climate during this period and due to financial difficulties was forced to stop production in 1978.

In 2004, the brewery was given a re-birth at the hand of the descendants of Louis Moritz, who restarted the oldest beer brand in Barcelona at the same location as the initial brewery, Ronda de Sant Antoni in the Raval. Although the brewery’s main DSC00176operations take place in Zaragoza, the Ronda de Sant Antoni location houses a boutique subterranean brewery (capable of producing 60 hectoliters of unpasteurized beer per year) a long tin bar, along with a new museum, store, wine bar, restaurant, sidewalk terrace and event space. French architect Jean Nouvel led the restoration of the 19th century brewery. The sleek, modern re-design gives a nod the brewery’s past in preserving the antique brewing equipment behind large glass panels. Additional striking features of the space include a vertical garden created by Parisian botanist Patrick Blanc. If the historic beer brand isn’t enough of a draw on its own, be sure to come by to take in the breathtaking architectural and design features.

Ronda Sant Antoni, 41, Barcelona

Barcelona: Banker’s Bar at the Mandarin Oriental

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IMG_0557Tucked inside one of Barcelona’s most luxurious hotels, the Mandarin Oriental, the Banker’s Bar is a sophisticated and unique cocktail den. The entryway and ceiling are fashioned from original security boxes, a design feature hinting to the building’s past as a bank. Offering ample indoor and outdoor seating, the bar has become a destination for more than just the hotel’s guests. In addition to tapas, the bar has an extensive list of modern and classic cocktails as well as a range of wines, champagnes and cavas. Each Wednesday the bar hosts “Gin & Live” sessions, presenting live music performances and a choice of delicious gin and tonics.

Passeig de Gràcia, 38-40

Barcelona’s Magic Nights at Casa Batlló

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DSC00236Magic Nights is a special event that allows guests to leisurely enjoy their time within Casa Batlló while listening to an open-air live music performance on the roof terrace as they enjoy cocktails all while soaking up Gaudi’s masterpiece. Casa Batlló’s curved facade, glowing under the night lights, jumps out from the buildings surrounding it. Behind the modernist facade, the property is a statement of refined artistic and architectural details. The exploration of light and color within the house is one of its most intriguing characteristics.

Magic Nites are held throughout the summer (late June through late September) and offer a unique way to experience Casa Batlló. The event invites guests to the former residence to enjoy an evening of live music performed by local musicians on the terrace. Two full bars are set up inside the residence and guests are welcome to freely roam the main suite of the house throughout the night.

Built between 1904 and 1906 per the request of the textile industrialist Josep Batlló, DSC00238Casa Batlló opened to the public in 2002 and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005.

Passeig de Gràcia, 43, Barcelona

Metro L2, L3, L4 (Passeig de Gràcia)

Tickets approx. €30 (includes admission + 1 cocktail)

Barcelona: Antoni Gaudi’s Palau Güell

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DSC00218The wealthy industrialist Eusebi Güell i Bacigalupi, who would become Gaudi’s main patron, commissioned the architect in 1885 to design his private residence, which would become known as Palau Güell. In addition to being a personal residence, Güell intended to use the property to show off his affluence through exhibitions, concerts and other events. The result of Güell’s wishes was a bold architectural project that used innovative building techniques and intricately detailed craftsmanship to create a residence that told the story of Güell’s own rise to fortune. The basement of theDSC00195 residence, where the stables are located is stark and austere, meant to reflect Güell’s humble beginnings. In moving through the property, the level of opulence grows, culminated in the elaborate, curved rooftop that features the palace’s iconic colored ceramic chimneys.

The palace was completed in 1890 and designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984.

Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 3-5

Metro L3, stop Liceu or Drassanes. | Bus 14, 59 and 91.