The Oldest Tapas Bar in Barcelona: A True Culinary Delight

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Pub Crawl Barcelona

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Barcelona, the vibrant capital of Catalonia, is renowned for its rich culture, stunning architecture, and delicious cuisine. When it comes to Spanish culinary delights, tapas bars are a must-visit for any food lover. And if you are looking for an authentic experience, you can’t miss the oldest tapas bar in Barcelona. Let’s dive deeper into the history, atmosphere, and of course, the mouthwatering tapas that await you.

The History of the Oldest Tapas Bar

The oldest tapas bar in Barcelona is Els Quatre Gats, which translates to “The Four Cats.” Located in the heart of the city, it first opened its doors in 1897. This historic venue quickly became a hub for artists, intellectuals, and bohemians in the early 20th century, including the famous painter Pablo Picasso.

The Charm and Atmosphere

Stepping inside Els Quatre Gats is like entering a time capsule. The bar has preserved its original modernist decor, with beautiful stained glass windows, vintage furniture, and Art Nouveau elements. This creates an enchanting ambiance that transports you back to the Barcelona of the early 1900s.

The Picasso Connection

Els Quatre Gats holds a special place in the history of art as it provided a meeting point for renowned artists of the time, including Pablo Picasso. In fact, Picasso held his first solo art exhibition in the bar’s gallery space. Today, the bar proudly displays replicas of some of Picasso’s artwork, paying homage to its artistic legacy.

The Tapas Experience

No visit to Els Quatre Gats is complete without relishing their delectable tapas. Traditional Spanish tapas are small, sharable dishes that showcase the flavors and ingredients of the region.

Must-Try Tapas

  • Pan con tomate: This simple but divine dish consists of toasted bread rubbed with ripe tomatoes and drizzled with olive oil. It perfectly captures the essence of Mediterranean cuisine.
  • Patatas Bravas: Crispy fried potatoes served with a spicy tomato sauce and creamy aioli. These crispy bites are a classic tapas staple.
  • Jamon Iberico: Thinly sliced cured ham made from acorn-fed pigs. Its smooth texture and rich flavor make it a truly delightful treat.
  • Gambas al Ajillo: Succulent shrimp cooked with garlic and chili peppers. The flavors of the seafood and aromatic ingredients combine beautifully in this mouthwatering dish.

Practical Information

If you’re planning a visit to Els Quatre Gats, here are a few practical details to keep in mind:


Els Quatre Gats is situated at Carrer de Montsió, 3, 08002 Barcelona, Spain.

Opening Hours

Day Opening Hours
Monday – Thursday 1:00 PM – 1:00 AM
Friday – Saturday 1:00 PM – 2:30 AM
Sunday Closed


It is advisable to make a reservation in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to secure your spot and ensure a seamless dining experience.

Additional Tips

  • Arrive early to soak in the historical ambiance and enjoy a more leisurely experience.
  • Try ordering a variety of tapas to sample different flavors and textures.
  • Pair your tapas with a glass of Spanish wine or a refreshing sangria for the complete dining experience.
  • Don’t forget to ask the knowledgeable staff for recommendations on their specialties.

Visiting the oldest tapas bar in Barcelona is not only a feast for your taste buds; it’s an exploration of art, history, and the essence of Catalan culture. Els Quatre Gats invites you to savor traditional flavors while immersing yourself in the vibrant spirit of Barcelona’s past. Be sure to add this iconic eatery to your travel itinerary, and indulge in an unforgettable tapas experience.

Eager for an unmatched evening escapade? Plunge into Barcelona’s pulsing nightlife with our iconic pub crawl in Barcelona. Each venue unravels a fresh tale, every sip crafts a lasting memory. Prepare for a night like no other!

The Oldest Tapas Bar in Barcelona: A True Culinary Delight