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It can all be a little overwhelming, the city may not be huge but the culture, activities, events, eateries etc. is vast. So we have taken it upon ourselves to amalgamate our local 12 years experience in the city via our blog. Whether you are planning on coming over for the festivals, want to find out vegan eats or general insider information, we will keep you in the loop.

Eixample, El Born, Barrio Gotico, Raval, Sant Antoni, Gracia, Poble Sec...

poblesec

26/09/2016

Introducing Poble Sec – Barcelona’s New Hipster Hood

 

This is how it goes: a neighbourhood, generally close to the city centre, lies off-the-radar for decades. It may have once had its glory days, but the sparkle has long since lost its sheen, until a new generation see the potential in the faded grandeur, charm in the strong community spirit.

Such is the case of Poble Sec – the ‘dry village ‘ – wedged between bustling Paral.lel Avenue and the pine-lined parklands of Montjuīc. In the past decade, and particularly in the past 5 years, its cool status has shot up – with young couples and foreigners buying into its pretty 19th century apartment blocks and a host of casual places to eat everything from new wave tapas to tacos.

Like many gentrification stories, it started with a coffee shop – or a few of them really along the Carrer Blai – a traffic-free promenade that cuts through Poble Sec. Old ladies underwear shops and cheap mobile phone outlets became lovingly conceived venues such as the micro tapas bar La Tieta (Carrer Blai 1) and the Spice Café (Carrer de Margarit 13) – which undoubtedly serves the best homemade carrot cake in town, as well as hosting language exchanges and book readings. Fine dining is to be had in designer hot spots such as Mano Rota, the current darling of the gourmand glitterati (Carrer de la Creu de Molers 4) and the hyper-fashionable Malamén-Bendita Bodega (Carrer de Blai 53). Or head to Gran Bodega Saltó (Carrer de Blesa 36) or Tinta Roja (Carrer de la Creu de Molers 17) for live music, basic vino and a taste or ‘underground’ Poble Sec.

Wining and dining aside, Poble Sec’s other attractions are its peaceful, shady squares such as the Plaça Sortidor, and its close proximity to Montjuīc. Take any of the leafy, upward sloping streets, which eventually morph into stone stairs, or zigzagging country tracks, and feel the heat and noise of Barcelona fall away behind you. Most roads end up at the funicular/cable car station, from which you can head either back down again or take a cable car to the Montjuīc Castle for panoramic views. Or pack a picnic and spread out amongst the trees in the divine Jardins de Mossén Jacint Verdaguer, which are adjacent to the cable car station.

Ask nay old timer however what makes Poble Sec truly unique and they will answer Paral.lel – a busy artery of six lanes for cars, two for bikes and a strip of theatres hosting classic comedies and musicals – all advertised via gaudy billboards. Welcome to the ‘Broadway of Barcelona’ – the hub of sailors, showgirls and general shenanigans during the early part of the 20th century. Barcelona’s city council has made great effort to revive its heyday – with mixed results. Shows put on theatres here tend to cater for Spanish families and oldies, with a few notable exceptions; the revamped El Molino music hall which has a solid programme of tourist friendly cabaret (Carrer de Vila i Vila 99) and BARTS (Avinguda de Paral.lel 62) – a modern theatre with a select programme of world and independent music.

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