Women in Music 2019

The Inside Beat of Barcelona's Sonar Music Fest

Come for Sonar, but stay for everything else, too

The 21st annual Sonar (June 12-14) is Barcelona's emblematic electronic music festival. This year's day-to-night lineup includes Massive Attack, Royksopp, Chic and a slew of the global DJs who have made Sonar a springtime must. But those traveling to the second-largest city in Spain will find more to do than just the fest.



Sangria symbolizes Spain abroad, but locals thirst for a gin and tonic at cocktail hour, which at hot spot Bobby Gin, Carrer de Francisco Giner 47, lasts until 3 a.m. on weekends. And nestled inconspicuously above the popular Bar Mut, Calle Pau Claris 192, in a converted apartment is Mutis, an invitation-only speakeasy.


Traditional seafood tapas are exquisitely updated at Bar Canete, Carrer de la Unio 17. At Quimet y Quimet, Carrer del Poeta Cabanyes 25, a chic eatery the size of a living room, be prepared to be as packed in as a sardine: Up to 100 patrons at a time can squeeze into the 15-feet-by-15-feet bar to get their hands on tapas like the tuna belly with sea urchin. Foreigners have brought brunch to Barcelona, and like most things in the city, it goes on for hours with music in the background. The "recovery brunch" at Milk Bar & Bistro Restaurant, Carrer d'En Gignas 21, lasts from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The spacious, laid-back Federal Cafe, Carrer del Parlament 39, is open from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.


The Mandarin Oriental, Passeig de Gracia 38-40, has added 17 new terraced suites, the largest at 1,300 square feet. The recently opened Praktik Bakery Hotel, Provenca 279, the newest addition to the Praktik family of hotels, offers guests 74 industrially decorated rooms, as well as the smell of bread wafting through the halls from the bakery in the lobby.


The architecture is breathtaking at UNESCO World Heritage site Palau de la Musica Catalana, Carrer Palau de la Musica 4-6, a concert hall richly decorated with stained glass and mosaics - but the music can be equally so. Classical, jazz, flamenco and international artists like Aloe Blacc, who will perform in August, all play there. The flamenco club Tablao de Carmen, Avinguda de Francesc Ferrer i Guardia 13, is located in the kitschy Poble Espanyol, a sort of Spanish Epcot Center. But acts from some of Spain's biggest flamenco families put on an authentic show.


Marula Cafe, Carrer dels Escudellers 49, is known for its funk, soul and Latin grooves from DJs and local bands. The dancefloor takes center stage at this club in the heart of the old town with a 400-person capacity. A slightly younger crowd of Barcelona hipsters gather at Cafe Royale, Carrer Nou de Zurbano 3, a lounge in the historic Gothic neighborhood. Get bottle service on the beach and dance to house music until it's time for a swim at Carpe Diem Lounge Club, Passeig Maritim de la Barceloneta 32.


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