The best place to spend your evenings is close to a sea breeze or up on a hill. Where no hills are available, a rooftop will do, and thankfully the city is increasingly finding uses for these previously unloved terraces, with their panoramic views and cooler air. Hotels, particularly, have realised the potential of their roofs, laying on live music and cocktails, and they are almost always open to the public.
Summer night happenings
The Grec Festival (lameva.barcelona.cat/grec/en) straddles theatre, music and dance, and fills spaces around town (most notably the outdoor Grec amphitheatre) with performances throughout July. The series known as Musica als Parcs (ajuntament.barcelona.cat) sees parks and gardens hosting free jazz and classical concerts until the end of August.
On July evenings, grab a blanket and a picnic and head to Sala Montjuic (Castell de Montjuic; salamontjuic.org/en), which turns the moat of the castle into a huge outdoor cinema. Jazz is hugely popular in Catalonia, and a favoured venue is the roof of Gaudi’s La Pedrera (lapedrera.com), with its warrior-shaped chimneystacks, and has al fresco concerts in summer. There’s nothing Catalan about flamenco, but you’ll still see more performers here than at home, especially at Los Tarantos (Placa Reial 17, Barri Gotic; masimas.com/tarantos).
Where to eat late
There are myriad beachside dining choices for balmy nights, though you’ll find they are closed by midnight. None is more popular with a young and dressed-up crowd than Pez Vela (Passeig del Mare Nostrum 19-21; 0034 932 216 317; grupotragaluz.com/en/restaurante/pez-vela), which serves mostly seafood and paella at end of the beach, under the W Hotel. Salamanca (Carrer de l’Almirall Cervera 34; 0034 932 215 033 restaurantesalamanca.es) also riffs on a seafood theme, but is more rambunctious, with a huge sprawling terrace. Far from the crowds that promenade the seafront even late at night, La Venta (Placa Doctor Andreu, Tibidabo; 0034 93212 6455 restaurantelaventa.com/en) is high on the Tibidabo hill and serves sophisticated French-influenced food on an outdoor terrace.
Where to drink late
Back on the seafront, CDLC (cdlcbarcelona.com/carpe-diem-lounge-club, Passeig Maritim 32, Barceloneta) is favoured by the young and glamorous, with a terrace on the beach. It closes at 3.30am. For more tranquillity, rooftop hotel bars are best. One with prices that won’t break the bank, is the Duquesa de Cardona (Passeig de Colon 12, Barri Gotic; 0034 932 689090; hduquesadecardona.com, which doubles as a restaurant and looks over Port Vell and out to sea. The nearby bar crowning the Serras Hotel (Passeig de Colom 9, Barri Gotic; 0034 93 169 18 68 hoteltheserrasbarcelona.com) has a cocktail bar and plunge pool. Both close at 1.30am.
Where to dance late
For those al-fresco hands-in-the-air Ibiza moments, head up the Montjuic hill to La Terrraza (laterrrazza.com, Avinguda de Francesc Ferrer I Guirdia, Montjuic), which is open until 5am on Thursday, 6am on Friday and Saturday. Sala Apolo (sala-apolo.com, Carrer Nou de la Rambla 113, Poble Sec) is a gorgeous old dance hall that keeps similar hours and has techno, electronica and funk nights. Barcelona’s top classic club is Razzmatazz (salarazzmatazz.com), Carrer Almogivers 122, Poblenou), which has five dance floors.