Most of us have had at least one crazy night out when we travel, the kind where you wake up sometime past noon and think, “Wait? Was there a funk band in the bar? Did we dance till 4 a.m.? Was everything bathed in a red glow? Were the cocktails green … and emitting smoke?”
I had that scenario on a recent trip to Barcelona. This town might as well have invented the word “party” for how hard they’ve worked to cultivate the art. If you’re a high-energy night owl, Mutis is your home away from home till early morning.
The next day, I found a fantastic wine list at diminutive and darling Restaurante Somorrostro, just off the beach. No matter how you enjoy a beverage — wild and crazy or quietly poured off the spout of a Spanish bottle — Barcelona is prepared to meet your imbibing needs.
You’ll do best to make a reservation here, because once you pass the gatekeeper with the clipboard and climb the stairs, you’ll realize the list is not to create exclusivity. This dark, bustling, sexy den of cocktails and live music is essentially a converted one-bedroom apartment.
The atmosphere at Mutis is convivial and intensely energetic. The drinks are the classic, well-balanced mixology sort, and the staff seems to be partying and working simultaneously. The smiles are infectious, as are the tequila shots. But don’t have too many. You’ll want to stay light-of-foot. The night I was there, a New Orleans funk band performed, with trumpet players putting out enough thump and wail to shake the tiny dance floor.
▪ Note: If you don’t have a reservation, try anyway. We stopped in Bar Mut — the street-level, adjoining pub — and were escorted upstairs without fuss.
▪ Details: 438 Avinguda Diagonal; 011-34-932-18-46-11; www.barmut.com.
If you want a leisurely Spanish meal, punctuated by perfect glasses of Field Borja Tempranillo ($17), the must-try place is on Somorrostro beach. The opposite of Mutis — relaxation and culinary appreciation are taken to equally entertaining levels here — the room is intimate and adorned with mismatched tables and unevenly framed photographs on the walls.
Sounds and scents waft from an open kitchen, where produce and seafood arrive daily. This means I can tell you nothing of the menu, but that the focus is on rich flavors, commonly featuring foie gras, confit and a surf and turf option. All you need to bring is a few hours to be pampered with fresh seafood and great wine.
▪ Note: Reservations recommended, but like Mutis, you might have luck just showing up. You can always visit the amusement park a few blocks down on the shore while you wait for a table.
▪ Details: Calle Sant Carles, 11; 011-34-932-25-00-10; http://restaurantesomorrostro.com/?lang=en.