Thursday, June 25, 2009

English Comedy in Barcelona

Llantiol Theatre in Barcelona - Barcelona Sights Blog
Looking for a laugh in Barcelona? Head on down to Raval. Apart from a couple of sporadic nights in the odd Irish pub downtown throughout the year, there are actually 2 semi-permanent fixtures offering the best of English-Language Stand-Up comedy from across the water in the Raval neighbourhood.

First is the "Giggling Guiri" at the Llantiol Theatre located parallel to the Rambla del Raval, on Carrer Riereta number 7. This funky little venue plays host to some local Theatre events, but is a great venue for the comedy nights organised. Earlier this month saw 2008 If Comedy Winner David O'Doherty headlining, with other big names like Ardal O'Hanlon, Paul Tonkinson and Dan Antopolski having also shared the space on the boards, too. Prices have been slashed (I imagine due to the current financial "crisis") so there's no better time for some beer and belly laughs at Llantiol. For more details see the comedy in spain website

Just around the corner, on Reina Amalia number 3 literally 5 minutes walk away from the Llantiol Theatre is The Guinness Laughter Lounge at La Riereta Teatre which is a beautiful old Stone Theatre for around 100 people, and according to the laughter lounge website is "a cosy yet comfy arena for stand up comedy".

La Riereta Theatre - Image from

BBC 4's Adam Bloom is probably the most well known name to have performed at the lounge, but there have been some equally unknown comics bringing the house down according to the website, too. At the moment, there's no programme on the website, but sign up to their newsletter for more details of upcoming events.

If you're looking for accommodation close to the comedy events, you can try these old town apartments in Barcelona which are just around the corner. And for more information on the city in general, see this great Guide to Barcelona.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Barcelona Nightlife - Outdoor Clubbing Part 2.

After the arrival of the great weather, and Sonar has come and gone, everyone is still in the party mood, leading up to Sant Joan this week and the Midsummer Madness that accompanies the hedonistic Barcelona nightlife.

Earlier this month, I touched on an idea of wanting to dance under the stars in some of the open air clubs in Barcelona and headed the list with Atlantida, due to open shortly after the post. So I thought I'd hit you with another (and there may be more to come, so tune in or subscribe on RSS for more!). And where better to start than La Terrrazza.

Barcelona Sights - La Terrrazza
No, that's not a typo, Mr Fish and the crowd up on La Terrrazza on Barcelona Sights Blog the club up on Montjüic in Poble Espanyol have been partying (almost) non-stop for 14 years. This is the place Madonna hired out for her party after the Drowned World tour in 2001, and is another big ole house converted into a club. Due to complaints from neighbours up on Montjüic (I don't know where, as it's in the middle of nowhere, in a purpose built Spanish Village on the endge of a mountain...?!!?) La Terrrazza has has a few summers of nothing, and it's sister club Discoteque (now Club D) was forced to take the reins while things calmed down a bit.

Well, the good news is that La Terrrazza is still as good as the first couple of years it was rocking, and offers a completely unique night out in the hills of Barcelona. The official blurb of the club is an...ahem..."atmospherical fun club" but don't let that put you off making your way up (in a taxi) to Poble Espanyol with your glad rags on for a night of dancing until the sunrise. Bring your sunglasses - no seriously.

If you're coming to Barcelona with friends, you might want to consider apartments for groups in Barcelona as an alternative to hotel rooms. Also, see this great Barcelona Guide

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sonar Comes to Town.

Crisis? What Crisis? Barcelona is buzzing today, with loads of tourists in and around the old town and many of them have come not just for the sunshine, but for the biggest Electronic Music Festival of the early summer - Sonar.

Reactable at Sonar - Barcelona Sights

An expected 80,000 revellers are due to hit the Catalan Capital to banish those end-of-term blues, and bring in the summer (if a little early) with a bang. This year's event has some of the usual big names, with Grace Jones, Orbital and Richie Hawtin amongst the relative unknowns that everyone will be talking about when they leave.

As well as sonar Radio via the Sonar website, awdio is broadcasting Sonar Live all weekend, too. This year's SonarMatica seesions include the great Sonar for Kids session, and the amazing-looking reactable - watch the video for an idea which is impossible to explain without having a few beers first! All in all, it looks to be another great year for Sonar - it's 16th edition - which keeps on surprising.

Check out these Old Town apartments, close to the Sonar by Day events and ideal for groups of friends or families. And for a heads up on the rest of the city, see this great Barcelona Guide.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Open Air Theatre in Barcelona - Grec 2009

This week sees the start of a culture boom with Music, Theatre and Dance all having pride of place in Barcelona. First up, it's the Festival called Grec which is based roughly around the Greek Theatre located up on Montjüic but in fact includes over 20 locations around the city, and spans a whopping 44 days, starting on Saturday and running all through July ending on the 2nd August.

The festival is heavily promoted in the city, and aimed as much at the locals as the visiting tourists. A varied Music, Dance, Circus and Theatre program of over 60 live performances means that this year's festival looks set to enjoy great success - the opening night is already sold out.

Variations on Classic Greek Theatre, Shakespeare and the modern comedy aspects see artists from all over the world participate in this year's Grec - with Italy being the "invited" country and the programme has a heavily Italian presence. The council announced that there would be more tickets at a cheaper price, making the performances more accessible for everyone.

For a full programme list, see here. Are you planning on going to any of the shows? Which ones are catching your eye? I'd love to hear from you, so leave a comment if you like.

Looking for accommodation for the summer? Check out these apartments for rent in Barcelona, as a great base for your stay. And for more information on visiting the city, see this Barcelona Guide.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Barcelona Nightlife - Outdoor Clubs

Spring is in full swing, and this month sees the party of all parties as the summer annouces it's arrival with la verbena de Sant Joan where anything goes and people dance under the stars till dawn. So what about if you fancy dancing under the stars on another night? Well, fear not, as there are a few places in and around Barcelona that are like open air clubs and not sweatpits like some of the other clubs!

Atlantida Discoteque  - Barcelona Sights
Just outside of Barcelona, in nearby Sitges, is Atlantida - which is a club right on the beach and although it's maybe a little pricey, the location is fantastic. You can see from a Google map view below just where the club is located. It's also part of the well-respected Matinee Group - responsible for some of the best clubs in Barcelona. Many have come and gone (Discoteque, Space, etc.) but Matinee have been at the forefront of the best dance music in the city for the last 10 years, without a doubt.

Aerial View of Atlantida  - Barcelona Sights Blog
The times I've been we always went in a car, as it's slightly outside of Sitges itself, so public transport might be a bit of a pain, but you can always catch the train to Sitges and then take a cab.

Matinee opens on Wednesday (despite what the above link says) and is sure to have a packed summer again...fancy going? Let me know if they've changed anything for this year.

If you're coming to party in Barcelona, you might want to check out the possibility of apartments for rent in Barcelona - an option which can save you some money in groups. Also, to get the party started, check out the top ten food in Barcelona for some great ideas for a meal!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sala Montjüic - Cinema Under the Stars

June is a great month to be in Barcelona. If it's not enough for festivals galore, the Midsummer Solstice that is Sant Joan, the sunshine has finally arrived, and from the 29th of June, the Sala Montjüic returns.

Barcelona Sights - Sala Montjuic

After my recent post, guessing if people still do go to the cinema, what better way to see a decent film in original version than on a deckchair at Montjuic Castle?

For just 5 Euros (and 3 for a deckchair), you can join 2,500 other people on the lawns of the castle and enjoy some live music, a Catalan short film and then some great original version cinema. Screenings are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 10pm, but get there early to avoid disappointment - tickets are also on sale in advance cia ticktackticket. This year's line up sees the show kick off with Martin Scorsese's excellent "The Departed" and follows with classics such as Hitchcock's "The Birds", 1923's "Safety Last", and the Cohen brothers' No Country for Old Men - which saw Spanish actor Javier Bardem pick up the best Oscar for a supporting role in 2008.

Sala Montjuic Cinema  - Barcelona Sights

Other entries from Sweden, Iran, Germany/Turkey and of course Spain feature, with Pedro Almodovar's "Volver" screening on the 10th July. This year's programme seems to have an excellent choice with even Pixar's WALL·E making the grade. The last performance is even open to vote on the website - 3 musical films choosing from Joy Division's 2007 film, Neil Young's Déjà Vu and Leonard cohen's I'm your man. It's a great way to spend a mid week evening in summer, and easily accesible via public transport on the Funicular, and cable car.

Thinking of coming to Barcelona this summer? Check out this Barcelona Guide for a good introduction to the city's sights, and check out apartments for rent Barcelona for your accommodation needs.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Barcelona Bargains - La Roca Village

I've posted previously on ways to save money whilst visiting Barcelona, but sometimes you just want to shop, right?!

Barcelona sights Blog - La Roca Village
Barcelona is a great city for shopping, and many of the shopping areas and central, with the council designating a "shopping line" (there used to be a Free Shopping Line bus for God's sake!) starting at Plaça Fransesc Macia and finishing over the bridge at Maremagnum. However, a short ride out of town is where the real bargains can be found.

La Roca Village is a purpose built village with over a hundred shopping outlets of famous brands and home wear shops with prices of up to 60% discount. It's a great day trip for those bargain hunters with endless labels and brands such as Versace, Levis, Vans, Diesel, Tommy Hilfiger, to name just a few.
Streets inside La Roca Village - BarcelonaSights blog
La Roca Village is about 30-40 minutes from Barcelona in a car (the website offers a 10% discount on hiring a car), or 50 minutes on the bus leaving from Fabra i Puig station in north east Barcelona. There are plenty of benches to sit down and relax in the sunshine and a couple of restaurants and bars as well as fast food outlets so you can really make a day of it. Just outside La Roca Village itself (over the roundabout) there's also a great Nike outlet store, where even more bargains can be picked up. It's well worth stopping in here after you've been through the shops at La Roca, as there's usually always something you didn't think you'd need on offer!!

Image rights La Roca Website.

Coming to Barcelona soon? Check out this Barcelona Guide for a good introduction to the city's sights, and check out apartments for rent Barcelona for your accommodation needs.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Cheap Beer on the Beach ? Maybe not this year!

Today's press had a story about Barcelona Mayor Jordi Hereu's plan to tackle the problems associated with the beaches in Barcelona during the summer. No, I'm not talking about the plagues of Jellyfish that hit the Mediterranean coast last year, or the appearance of Bicing bikes floating among the rubbish. No, it's tackling the ambulant refreshment sellers who comb the beach in the baking heat offering cold beverages to the city's population and tourists while they sunbathe.

Barcelona Sights - Barceloneta Chiringuito
According to the article, Assumpta Escarp - a council spokesperson for the public roadways (and presumably beaches) - highlighted the fact that there have been 824 police reports "in the last few days" against these street-sellers with 11,000 objects confiscated - of those 4000 cans. I wonder just who would have reported these guys to the police? Would it perhaps be the over-priced chiringuitos on Barceloneta beach ? Or the ice cream kiosks dotted along the Olympic Village beaches? The article does seem to generalise the Police reports as the whole city, so it could also be the pakistani beer sellers up and down las ramblas making up a hefty share of the reports as well.

Hereu apparently decided to walk down Barceloneta beach flagged by a Mosso and a Guardia Urbana in an attempt to show unity between the two police forces, and also to announce the deployment of 300 new Guardia Urbana for the summer clean up plan - including adding over 200 mobile urinals for the Midsummer Madness that is Sant Joan.

I'm afraid I have little sympathy for the people complaining about these things. As I've explained before, I applaud those immigrants (illegal or not) who are trying to make a living providing a service that every normal person can benefit from. I don't agree with those selling drugs (or burned liquorice and paracetamol), but those who turn to crime to fund their ways need to be tackled before those offering a cold drink on the beach in my eyes.

What do you think? Do you think it's a good move by the Mayor's office to try and eradicate these street vendors? I'd love to hear your comments guys, as always.

Coming to Barcelona for the summer? Try apartments for rent in Barcelona for a great alternative to a hotel or hostel.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Original Version Cinemas in Barcelona

This may be a little bit of an out of date idea - I'm assuming people do still actually go to the cinema nowadays, and don't just wacth the new releases online - on pages like Megavideo, SeriesJonkies, etc. (I recently saw the whole new season of 24 online for free)!

However, there are certain actors that I just can't watch dubbed (think Al Pacino, Robert de Niro, etc.) and I still think this a good resource if you don't want to miss that all important premiere, so here's a list of Original Version Cinemas in Barcelona centre.

Cinema Seats
Icària Yelmo. Carrer Salvador Espiriu, 61. Metro Cuitadella vila Olympica.

Casablanca. Passeig de Gracia, 115. Metro Diagonal.

Boliche Avenida Diagonal 508. Metro Diagonal.

Renoir Les Corts. Carrer Eugeni d'Ors, 12. Metro Les Corts.

Renoir Floridablanca. Carrer Floridblanca, 135. Metro Urgell.

Verdi. Carrer Verdi, 32. Metro Fontana or Joanic.

Méliès. Carrer Villaroel, 102. Metro Urgell.

Verdi Park. Carrer Torrijos, 49. Metro Fontana or Joanic.

Looking for accommodation for your stay? Try apartments for rent in Barcelona for more freedom and live like a local! Also, for a heads up on the city sights, see this guide to Barcelona.

Monday, June 1, 2009

From Flamenco and Bongos to Posh Brothel - La Paloma

The streets of the upper Raval have housed a large nightspot for almost 100 years, located on Carrer Tigre, number 27. "La Paloma" was a big old theatre lined with Red velvet and had been entertaining the locals since as far back as 1904 with it's own orchestra (Gardenia Blanca) and was a traditional music hall similar to the nearby El Molino.

La Paloma Barcelona - Barcelona Sights Blog
The introduction of a DJ and Bongo Lounge was born, and when I first got here (1999) the first night at La Paloma was one of the weirdest and most interesting nights out I've ever had here. The place used to open early (for Spanish clubs) and have Flamenco and Ballroom dancing with the old locals dressed to the nines - you would be forgiven for thinking you'd stepped back in time. Some of these older dancers would stay all night - so it was not uncommon to bump into a grandad in the toilet at some point in the night. As the night progressed, the music got a little harder, if that's the right word? i.e. you would have pop, Spanish music, then all kinds of dance music and house music, etc. Everyone dancing below the big chandelier in the middle of the room.

However, due to its proximity to locals' apartments, the complaints about noise and audio pollution were too much for the administration, who were forced to temporarily close by the local council. The owners and management were so confident of having the licence renewed and the ban lifted, that La Paloma continued to appear in all of the guide books published annually, such as Time Out. Rumours flew around the neighbourhood like...well a "paloma"? as to what would become of the space, whilst the local's balconies continued to display their banners in protest. A new Gym? Another club?
The New Paloma - Barcelona Sights blog
The reality is perhaps a little quieter, but surely nothing the locals will have really wanted. The new La Paloma is basically a posh brothel masking as a 2 star hostal. It's advertised as "luxury rooms for couples who want to treat themselves to limitless indulgence...rooms have International Adult Movie channels...discretion always present". There are 2 prices for rooms, 42 Euros and 52 Euros, with no time restrictions and even valet parking. It's a place to take a partner for some fun, so perhaps me using brothel is a little harsh, but I'd like to place a small bet that those prostitutes hanging around Ronda Sant Antonio know the walls a lot better than anyone else. I wonder what the neighbours think about it now?

Comments welcome as ever, guys. Did you go to La Paloma before the change? Can you remember it?! Let me know.

Looking for a good alternative to hostals such as La Paloma? Check out apartments for rent in Barcelona instead. And check out this great Barcelona Guide for a heads up on the main sights the city has to offer.

Thanks to THEFunkyman on flickr for Image of Paloma.
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