TRAVEL & COCKTAILS
The Italian Spirit in The Heart of El Born
Misty Barker, Foodie & Tour Guide
“You may have the universe, if I may have Italy”.
There’s every chance that Giuseppe Verdi (Italian composer) had a few too many Aperols when he made this very grand statement – but I gotta say I would be inclined to agree with him! (Well, Barcelona & Italy perhaps)
There’s a unique way of life that makes Italy one of those special places that just sucks you in and makes you never want to leave. No Sé? has managed to recreate that right here in the heart of Passeig Del Born. Welcome to the Italian bar with a hell of a lotta soul.
I have to say, I am very lucky to live in such a wonderful neighbor-hood, crammed full of awesome bars, restaurants and cafes on every street & alley. That is the reason of course I set up my food tours here – it’s a haven for all things tasty and fun. People often say to me, ‘Misty, you love everywhere, you always say they’re all the best places’ and they would be right and wrong. I love incredible places, that are out of the ordinary and it just so happens that you can find those type of places in abundance in El Born & Barcelona in general. When I write and review these awesome little finds, of course I am passionate about them, that is what comes through in my reviews. I never include anywhere that I don’t love myself, visit regularly or think has something truly special to offer.
Where would be the fun in that?
Great Vibes… Every Night!
Photograph by No Sé
So back to the real star of this review, one of my favourite places to go any night of the week. It’s the perfect mix of fun & laidback vibes from the second you walk through the door you get this feeling that you’ve been there before. (Perhaps you have if it was a late one the night before) The atmosphere is so welcoming, the staff & customers always so friendly, unpretentious and most importantly effortlessly cool.
“When life gives you lemons – make lemonade. When life gives you limes – make mojitos!”
For Italians, cuisine and culture go hand in hand. Cocktail & drink preparation is considered an art form, family and tradition are the essential ingredients, and passion is served up in every glass. It’s the perfect mix. And well these guys do it so well. All of the staff here are ‘Italian Stallions’ as Marco the owner will tell you himself.
Aside from the awesome drinks it is the incredible bar staff that make this place so special. Always armed with a smile and cocktail shaker they make this bar what it is. They are like a big family, having fun and hanging out together while working night after night. Just watching them laughing and joking behind the bar and with their customers makes you want to work here yourself! (At least then you’d get paid for spending so much time here!!) They always an effort with each and every customer that visits and if you’re unsure of which awesome cocktail to choose they’ll be more than happy to whip you up something incredible. And trust me, you won’t be disappointed. I’ve had more crazy cocktails here than I can remember (quite literally) and each one is as awesomely good as the next!
Every bar should have staff like these guys!
Photograph by No Sé
Most locals will tell you the secret to their incredible drinks is fresh and good quality produce, adding a whole lotta’ love, and keeping it unique. It’s all about sticking to the basics. Not only do they have a huge array of cocktails to choose from, but a top tip is to head here in the early evening for some light bites. They have a terrific free Italian style buffet with a huge selection of yummy aperitifs to keep you fueled for your evening ahead. From montaditos (small pieces of bread topped with meats / cheeses etc) Pimentos Padron, olives, salads, pastas… the list goes on! And so does the food, once one platter is gone it is replaced with something else equally as delicious. It is the perfect way to start your night in El Born.
The cocktails are the star of the show here. And the guys can make a damn good mojito (my favourite) along with a huge list of others. But what you will see in many customer’s hands is of course their hugely popular Spritzes.
First thing’s first: Aperol Spritz. If you don’t already know about this refreshing orange aperitif insanely popular in Italy and now here, you should. If you do know, then you probably agree that this alone is possibly one of the simplest and tastiest refreshing drinks you could have. Especially if you have a long night ahead, you can be sure to stay reasonably balanced and not crawling home by the end if you indulge in a few of these. It is basically a ritual and it is one of the most commonly drunk aperitifs across Italy – a symbol of fun times ahead. And of course what is fun without cocktails?
All of the other usual suspects you would expect in a good bar are done incredible well here, from their Cosmopolitan to their Moscow Mules – all of course freshly made & with ‘love’. But my top tip – just ask your bartender to surprise you! Everyone loves surprises right!?
As I said earlier – The Italians have that elusive little thing called work/life balance sussed out pretty well, with a focus on the good, simple things: family and friends, good food and drink, and hearty conversation. This place is exactly that. Forget about uptight, super serious, pretentious cocktail bars, this place is definitely not one of those. If that’s what you’re looking for – then you’re reading the wrong blog & in the wrong city! For everyone who visits here, the evening is lived in the style of La Dolce far Niente, the “sweetness of doing nothing”. The charm and the fun elements is what a makes a great bar great. And that is what No Sé? has done.
Each and every person I have brought here becomes obsessed with the place! Even two of my Italian friends were hooked after their visit. I have had so many great nights here and so many laughs that my sides hurt; and I have no doubt I’ll have many more. The reviews on their Facebook page say it all. The mix of great music – great people and great drinks – what could be better?!… It’s all about removing distractions (like that Netflix queue!) and spending quality time with old & new friends. That is after all of the ingredients of a perfect night.
Welcome to the place where a simple ciao and an appreciation of a cocktail can go a long way in helping you make new friends! Go check it out – grab a seat – enjoy a cocktail & an aperitif (or two) and say hi to the guys from us!
I’ve no doubt you’ll love it as much as we do.
Visit No Sé? @ Passeig del born 21, Barcelona, 08003, Spain
Love & Gambas,
P.S Looking to get to know the real El Born? Check out our food tours!
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