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A painter in the lower gardens of La Font del Gat in Montjuic.
NEIGHBORHOOD GUIDE

A guide to local favorites in Poble Sec

A painter in the lower gardens of La Font del Gat in Montjuic.
  • By Meg Bernhard
  • Photos by Javier Luengo
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Poble Sec
Barcelona
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Hundreds of years ago, Poble Sec was an orchard outside the city walls. Then, in the 1920s, it became a theater district, known for its cabarets and nightlife. Now, Poble Sec is a place where the old Barcelona meets new, where immigrants settle and locals eat inexpensive tapas on Thursday nights, where Catalan singer Joan Manuel Serrat got his start and new artists are making their names today.

Meet Meg Bernhard

Meg has lived in and out of Barcelona since 2017. During her time in Catalonia, she’s worked as a journalist and lived on vineyards. A California native, Meg feels right at home in Barcelona, where sunshine, sea, and wine are aplenty.

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Poble Sec

Carrer de Blai
Lining this street are bars specializing in tapas and pintxos, small plates from northern Spain such as crab cakes or little sandwiches loaded with meat and cheese. Head to one to pick out a variety of tapas, usually a euro each, and a glass of beer or wine. In the summers, bars open up their terraces to diners.
El Molino
At night, the large windmill at El Molino lights up red. This bar/concert hall was one of the most famous in Europe during the early 20th century, known for raunchy burlesques. Now, the concert hall offers shows each week ranging from flamenco to comedy — as well as old-time favorites like cabaret and burlesque.
El Molino, Carrer de Vila i Vilà, 99
La font del Gat
In the lower gardens of Montjuïc, a small park with a trickling fountain makes for a tranquil resting place in the middle of a bustling neighborhood. The garden is full of shady trees and birds. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot one of Barcelona’s famous lime-green parakeets.
Mercat de les Flors
This contemporary dance hall is in a 1920s-era palace built in the Noucentisme style, a reaction to Gaudí’s modernisme. Mercat de les Flors has put on shows by some of Spain’s avant-garde dance and theater companies, including La Fura dels Baus and Els Joglars.
Mercat de les Flors, Carrer de Lleida, 59
Refugi 307
Descend underground to visit this Spanish civil-war-era bomb shelter, constructed to protect the population from Franco’s bombardment in the late 1930s. One of Barcelona’s 1,000 civil-war bomb shelters, Refugi 307 is among the few to be excavated and open to the public, thanks to Poble Sec residents. Make a reservation.
Refugi 307, Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 175
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Meg Bernhard
Meg has lived in and out of Barcelona since 2017. During her time in Catalonia, she’s worked as a journalist and lived on vineyards. A California native, Meg feels right at home in Barcelona, where sunshine, sea, and wine are aplenty.
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megbernhard
Javier Luengo
Javier is a contributing photographer to The Washington Post based in Barcelona.

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