Photography by Boadas
Words by Simon Difford on 21-Apr-2023
Carrer dels Tallers, 1, Rambla, Barcelona, Catalonia, 08001, Spain
Tel: +34 933 189 592
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Mon-Sat noon-2am (closed Sunday))
Door: Open door
Style: Cocktail bar
Recommended for: Aperitivos, Cocktails, Historic interest
Price guide: Middling
Lying just off the bustling Rambla, this tiny, triangular place is Barcelona's oldest bar and if you can only visit one bar while in the city then it should be this working museum of hospitality.
It was opened in 1933 by Miguel Boadas who learnt his trade at the famous Floridita bar in Cuba. Miguel passed away in 1967 and his daughter, María Dolores Boadas took over and brilliantly maintained her father's legacy. Maria was born the year after her father opened this bar and was practically part of the furniture until she sadly died in 2017 when ownership passed to Jerónimo Vaquero Barea, a bartender at Boadas for over fifty years.
María altered little of her inheritance and her father's memorabilia still adorns the panelled walls. Wonderfully old-school, Boadas has always been a bar I made sure I visited whenever I was in Barcelona, if only to sit and watch bartenders resplendent in black jackets, white shirts and black bow ties flamboyantly throwing cocktails from one tin held aloft into another several feet below. For all the theatre, the cocktails they produced were only OK.
Happily, since November 2022 cocktails at Boadas have improved to the extent that they are now brilliant thanks to Simone Caporale, famous bartender, entrepreneur and one-half of Sips, becoming the majority owner with Jerónimo retaining a small shareholding but enjoying his much-deserved retirement.
Simone has re-energised this institution and brought in a very talented young team led by Bar Manager, Federico Daniele. The décor remains unchanged and the bartenders suited and booted. Classics and Boadas' signatures still comprise the short cocktail menu bolstered by the 'Cocktail del Dia' (cocktail of the day) chalked on a board behind the bar. And yes, my Daiquiri was brilliant.
Part of Simone's enhancement of Boadas' cocktails has seen an end to throwing Dry Martinis due to this method being detrimental to the finished cocktail. If you want theatrics' then order a wine-based cocktail such as an Adonis which shines when thrown.