RAZZMATAZZ AND REGGAE: A MUSICAL ODYSSEY WITH GOLDIEROCKS

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The DJ and presenter visits the city famed for its music scenes.

Barcelona is easily one of my favourite cities in Europe. It has this grungy, bohemian sexiness to it, with the sun, the beach, the amazing – and highly affordable – restaurants, the great nightlife and the rundown but charming boutiques of Ravel.

I could happily spend the whole day exploring Ravel – often referred to as the city’s hipster district. The area boasts a number of vintage clothes shops, record stores, gothic shoe stalls, kitsch little cocktail bars and the Museum of Contemporary Art & Contemporary Culture Centra.



The vintage clothes shop Holala! might just be my favorite clothes store in the world, with its beautiful silk kimonos, 1980s bum bags and 1920s lingerie. If old school Gameboys and Spice Girls Polaroid cameras are your thing, then Chandal is calling.

As for vinyl junkies: Wah Wah Discos, Revolver Records & Disco Revolver all stock a vast amount of dusty records, band tees and cassette tapes. (I was lucky enough to dig up a sleazy, bass-heavy Motown LP that I’ll cherish for years to come.) With your records tucked under your arm, stop for a refuel at Cassette Bar – as the name suggests, the whole bar is furnished with old cassette tapes. While you’re there, nip into Museo de Cera, a waxwork museum full of historical and cultural characters, set in a fairytale forest complete with wishing pools and talking trees. 



For supper I headed to one of my favourite restaurants, ‘Race de la Villa’, a traditional, family run Catalan cellar restaurant serving vast T-bone steaks, great Rioja and cured meats. It’s completely local and off the tourist track, so why not act like a Spaniard and go for supper late (10pm or so) and order their trademark dish: steak cooked on salted hot stone.  

Barcelona is famous for its LGBT scene and liberal-minded attitude. For a bit of a giggle – and tasty Cuba Libres – head to the free drag queen show at El Cangrejo Raval. These ladies know how to strut their stuff.  And a few doors down from there lies my newest discovery, Moog, an underground tech/house club. The basement is cosy with dark corners, but upstairs it’s all mirrored ceilings and outlandish disco. A whole lot of fun. 



As the sun sinks beneath the coastline, head to the Font Magica, an elaborate music display around a fountain at the end of the Avenida Maria Cristina in the Montjuïc neighborhood. It’s quaint, it’s pretty and it makes for a charming holiday snap/Instagram post. 

Grab a pre-dinner vermouth (a local tradition) from an old-fashioned Catalan aperitif bar. On the corner of Sants market, the tiny bar Bodegueta de Cal Pep is great for sea snails and local wine straight from the barrel. Or head to the cellars of Bar Masellea, made famous by Dali and Hemmingway as a hot, vagabond boozing spot.

The reggae scene in Spain is huge and Barcelona is basically at the epicenter. I caught Morodo & Okoume Lions at Apollo. The air was thick with smoke and the dreadlocked crowd didn’t hold back. Apollo, an old converted theatre with worn velvet seats and red and gold walls, is one of the city’s landmark music venues. They host live music every night of the week, except on weekends when it turns into an indie/electro club that runs till dawn. 



In between the gig and the club I headed for late-night tapas at El Rincon del Artista, a restaurant famed for its black paella. It’s right around the corner from Apollo and the food is decent and inexpensive. Back in the day it was renowned as a post-show feasting spot for the actors who used to perform at Apollo; the walls are adorned with signed photos of famous Latin actors from the 50s and the restaurant’s gorky-looking owner. There are still lots of very colourful characters in there – in other words it’s a great people-watching spot. 

No trip to BCN would be complete without a trip to the super club that is Razzmatazz, where I used to be one of the international DJ residents. It features five clubs covering indie, house, electro pop and techno, in a converted soap factory with vast ceilings and sun kissed punters who know how to shake their stuff till dawn. If you’ve got the stamina of the Spanish, then as the club doors shut head to the beach or one of Barca’s many ‘terraza’ (read: rooftop) bars to watch the sunrise.



Sundays are for easing the pain of the night before, and in Barca that’s pretty easily done. The siesta is your friend. If you need to appease your sins of the previous night then head to mass at the world-famous Basilica of the Sagreda Family, if not to attend the mass then to admire the breath-taking and ever-changing architecture of the cathedral. Lose yourself exploring Gaudi’s Park Guell on a sunny afternoon. Avoid the flocks of tourists taking selfies by the giant lizard and treat it as it was created: as a meditative oasis, perfect for sunbathing, reading, walking hand in hand with a lover. Have a couple of Estralla’s in the café and admire the noodling Spanish guitarists in the shadows of the archways and see the stunning mosaic artwork. A beautiful glimpse of the Barca of old.

Generator Barcelona Awaits