If you’re a Barcelona local, you avoid Las Ramblas. The tree-lined pedestrian mall is overpriced and crowded with tourists. If you want to go for a night out on Las Ramblas, you’re bound to wait in long lines with drunk teenagers on their gap year.
On our last night in Barcelona, my new Brazilian friend Vivi and I went to watch a local jazz band. The set ended early so off we went to find some more good music. We received a tip from a local about a secret bar just a few steps away from from Las Ramblas.
It was 11pm. We walked around Plaça Reial checking every door when finally, we find a dirty black door with a tiny name sign “Pipa” in the top left corner. We ring the buzzer. Nobody answers, but the door pops open. We open the door and see an old, dark stairway.
We walk up the stairs, until we see an old apartment door that says the “Pipa Club” in small lettering. We open the door and slip into a different world from Las Ramblas.
No drunk teenagers. No flashing lights. But wait, members only? Fortunately, the barrier to becoming a member is quite low. (The real barrier to entry is FINDING it.)
Sherlock Holmes and Salvador Dali items cover the wall and there is an old, stained pool table in the back corner. Mismatched chairs are squished together in a side room with a small stage. I’m not a big blues fan, but I’m convinced these are some of the best blues artists around.
We were enjoying the music so much that we missed the last metro back to Fondo (nearly 40 minutes away). Desperate, we hopped on the wrong nightbus and ended up stranded in the middle of Barcelona. Joking that we may spend our last night in Barcelona outside, we finally convinced a bus driver to drop us off near Fondo around 3am.
We almost spent the night outside. But hey, at least we found Barcelona’s dirty little secret.