This is the greatest bar ever!
A bunch of people mill around out front chatting, smoking and basking in the glow of the dim yellow light from inside Barcelona's La Champagneria. The place is no bigger than a small coffee shop and is bursting at the seams. My friend Erin and I force our way in as politely as possible.
The inside of La Champagneria is like a really small barn, but instead of cows there are people, and instead of hay the floor is scattered with empty food wrappers and napkins (as per custom in certain Spanish Tapas bars). Of course as the name indicates the place is also stocked to the brim with Spanish Champagne — known as Cava . The great thing about this place is that the Cava is cheap! At present, the going rate is between €0.65 - €0.95 per glass, which is totally reasonable, and to add another layer on the cake this stuff is miles beyond the battery acid I'm expecting to drink — it's actually pretty damn good!
We belly up to the bar, forcing our way through the crowd of people all sipping on their wide and shallow over-filled Cava glasses. Getting to the front seems a chore, but we get there and attempt ordering. As per my usual, I ask for a recommendation. I have no idea what might be good here, and all I can see are multiple hanging meat slabs still lightly resembling their parent creature. I'm not put off by it, I just don't know how to order pieces off of animal legs.
Luckily our man behind the bar, Danny, who I proceed to make friends with very quickly over the course of the next 85 glasses of Cava, prepares us an assortment of rudimentary tapas — cured meats, sheep's cheese, black pudding and all kinds of deep fried goodness.
This stuff is probably going to kill me, but I'm loving every second of it. It's not just the food and the cheap Cava that is fueling my love for this place — it's the people. There's something awesomely authentic about this place. There don't seem to be too many tourists here, and even if there are, most of them are Spanish. Of course there are a few travellers in the mix, but the majority of people seem to be local. Everyone in this place seems over the top happy despite being packed like a sardine into a tiny bar on some random Barcelona side street. I'm still loving it. My friend Erin reminds me that I've declared my love for this place at least 10 times since we entered, but assures me that is okay. She loves it too. I proceed to get loaded in every sense of the word and eventually cart my now pregnant with meat carcass belly out into the streets of Barcelona. The walk back to the hotel is a little slow, but I feel fantastic. I return to the great La Champagneria 3 more times before I leave Barcelona, dragging everyone that I possibly can with me. Apparently I also declare my love for the place at least another 100 times, and drink at least 200 more glasses of Cava.
If you're in Barcelona I highly recommend this place. It's not too far off the beaten path, but just enough.
La Champagneria is located about 10-15 minutes walking from the Christopher Columbus monument (Plaça Colon) at the bottom of La Rambla. It is roughly 15-20 minutes from the Kabul Hostel and probably about 20-30 minutes from the Plaça de Catalunya. Click for Map
Can Paixano (La Champagneria)
Reina Cristina 7, Barcelona, Spain | [t] 93 310 08 39
Chris Stenberg is a Canadian travel photographer, filmmaker and researcher. When he’s not wielding a camera or raising a family you can find him running, biking and boarding in the mountains or eating an apple under a tree in an orchard.