Hemingway-ing & absinthe in Barcelona

3 minutes to read

If you’re looking for some kind of alternative experience while visiting Barcelona, then I guess I have an extremely interesting & probably later on inspiring or let’s say hallucinating suggestion for you!

What would you say if someone suggested an absinthe-tasting night out in a two-century old bar in Barcelona?...well, I said yes!

The place;

Bar Marsella opened in 1820 in the El Raval- gothica- neighborhood. It is said to be the first bar in Barcelona and was frequented by Dalí, Picasso, Gaudí, Hemingway, and many other famous artists.

Once you enter, you get the feeling that the place is abandoned; the paint on the ceiling is peeling, the mirrors are caked with grime, the walls yellowed by tobacco smoke and the chandeliers covered by a loot of dust…

In fact, the place has never ever been renovated or touched during the last 200 years. Upon your entrance you get the feels that you travel back in time; you’re now about to have a drink into a typical old Belle Époque bar.

For most Barcelona residents Bar Marsella is intimately linked with absinthe, a potent tipple drunk with dissolved sugar. Its worldwide fame has brought many tourists to this unique establishment in the heart Barcelona. Its interior looks like a museum that as mentioned above, still keeps the original decoration and structure.

Absinthe; the story behind

Like most alcoholic liquids, absinthe got its start as an all-purpose medicinal remedy. Sooner or later and starting from France, its consumption became popular, especially during the “l’heure verte”, or “the green hour,” jumping from 700,000 liters in 1874 to 36 million liters by 1910.

Because of its popularity it was soon mass produced, which meant it became cheaper to drink – a calling card for the starving artist. Later on, in the 19th century, art and absinthe, go hand in hand…The likes of Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Antoni Gaudí, Paul Verlaine to name a few, were all on very intimate terms with the “goddess of artistic rebellion.”

Hemingway himself used to admit that a glass of absinthe was his main source of inspiration that would help him start his day…

A glass of absinthe is as poetical as anything in the world. What difference is there between a glass of absinthe and a sunset?

How to drink Absinthe at Marsella; tips & tricks

Drinking it requires a special ritual: it is served with a bottle of water, a sugar lump and a fork. Only the most audacious know why. Here are a few tips that will transform you into an “absinthe expert” and will get you through the night!

1. Lay the fork over the top of the glass. 2. Place one of the sugar cubes on top of the fork. 3. Squirt water from the bottle on to the sugar until it completely dissolves into the drink. 4. Remove the fork and enjoy.

If done correctly the color of the drink should change to a cloudy, tint of green.

Ready yet?

Get ready to relax and get lost into this unique 19th century experience offered right at the centre of Barcelona! Visit Marsella bar, a place where one can sit, sip and pretend to hallucinate beside the great artistic ghosts of the past! Enjoy!


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The author

Chrisa Lepida

Chrisa Lepida

My name is Chrisa and I come from Greece. As nature lover, winter sports addict and Erasmus obsessed, I’m always writing about these topics.

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