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Where to find the best tapas bars in Barcelona

Published March 23rd, 2016

Tapas and wine (or in my case beer) make up about one third of Barcelona's nightlife (the 9pm to midnight portion).

Although it won't see you to 7am with the rest of the locals, getting a good start on the evening means knowing the best tapas bar to line the stomach with quality food and drink.

Tick that one off, thanks to this insider's guide to the best tapas bars in Barcelona.

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Casa Lucio

Carrer de Viladomat 59, 08015 Barcelona

Casa Lucio has been a Barcelona staple since it opened in 1974. Packaged meat hangs from the bar between bottles of liquor and wine, while the amiable owner Lucio Blazquez wanders around greeting customers and offering his dish suggestion of the day.

Ditch the menu and go with Lucio. With more than 50 years experience, this is one tapas master you want to follow.

Tapas 24

Carrer de la Diputacio 269, 08007 Barcelona

One of Tapas 24's defining features is the noise. This cosy tapas bar fills up quickly and the contrasting accents permeate throughout a room adorned in blackboard menus and funky drawings.

Creativity flows through into the dishes, which feature such ingredients as chorizo, sardines, fried egg and potato. It's all accompanied by a small, yet very effective wine, beer and vermouth list.

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Bar La Plata

Carrer de la Merce 28, 08002 Barcelona

Looking for that true local? Head to Bar La Plata, a tiny corner bar where you might be the only foreigner inside. Simplicity is key at this historic venue, which opened in 1945.

Bar La Plata has been dishing out the same four delicious tapas since then and has three barrels of wine to choose from. It's nothing fancy, but when it comes to tapas, it's about perfecting the little things.

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Bar Pinotxo

La Rambla 89, 08002 Barcelona

One of many eateries inside Barcelona's La Boqueria market, Bar Pinotxo is a slightly unusual experience in that you can't ask for a menu. Well, you can, but they don't have any to give you!

Instead, you need to go off recommendations from the chefs who also know the perfect drink to pair with your meal. It's a cool change-up from the usual dining experience.

El Vaso de Oro

Carrer de Balboa 6, 08003 Barcelona

This Barceloneta institution is my kind of place, focusing on beer as the main accompaniment for its vast range of tapas.

Choose a seat at the bar and get ready for crowds of people to fill up the space. They're all seeking the fresh seafood tapas and wide selection of beer. Whenever home brew is on the taps, people will come.

Cal Pep

Placa de les Olles 8, 08003 Barcelona

If you want choice, you'll certainly get it at Cal Pep. The popular bar has more than 70 tapas on offer including clams, squid, artichoke, pasta and hake.

As is a common occurrence at many of these local gems, the owner/chef, Pep, is always happy to offer suggestions on what to order.

El Xampanyet

Carrer de Montcada 22, 08003 Barcelona

The oldest tapas bar on this list, El Xampanyet is also one of the cheapest places to get your evening fill of local cuisine and wine. It's basically Spain's version of the Irish pub, stocked with charismatic decorations and memorabilia.

Ask for the home-made champagne. You won't be disappointed.

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Ben Stower

I love the kind of travelling that is one part strategic planning and two parts spontaneous adventure. Whether I'm exploring my local city or a small town in the middle of nowhere, I'm always hoping to find something no one else has discovered.