Photo by Tashoma Lemard
Call it the Federal effect, though they were by no means the first business to open on the Carrer Parlament that runs through the bottom of Barcelona’s Sant Antoni neighbourhood. For many years, this leafy, triangular chunk of the Eixample was mainly residential, grown up around the wonderful Modernista Mercat Sant Antoni (currently, and for the foreseeable future, in renovation), yet the barrio beyond never received much attention unless you lived there.
The Market Hotel opened on Carrer Borrell a few years ago and proved a hit with travellers seeking an accessibly-priced boutique if they didn’t mind being a bit removed from the main tourist drag. Then came Federal Café, which opened at the end of 2010. Crick and Tommy—the then owners, now departed to Bangladesh to open a hotel—reached almost legendary status, as among the most brilliant entrepreneurs in town. In their case, they spotted a gap for breakfast and brunch in Barcelona, and these days securing a seat either in the café or on the roof terrace on a Saturday or Sunday is nigh-on impossible.
Those who had been paying attention soon followed. Vinito, the little wine shop that has been there considerably longer than Federal, expanded on their two barrels outside where you could sip a glass while you shopped and it’s become a popular spot for a crafty apero when out shopping. Next door, Bar Calders commandeered a prime piece of terrace on the alleyway, added a few pretty plants and hey presto, it’s the spot du jour for a Sunday morning vermouth or a craft beer in the evening with a couple of tapas like hummus and guacamole.
Tarannà Bar & Café opened in January, with a style very similar to Federal. Their windows also open onto the street so you can sit in them, they have large communal tables, single-plate simple lunches like fresh pasta stuffed with botifarra and a solid wine list.
And just last week, Zuckerhaus opened, selling old-fashioned, home-baked cakes from a pretty cake shop on the corner. Manuela is half German, half Italian and to the usual round-up of treats has added black forest gateaux, fresh plum frangipane tart and pumpkin and apple cake. Complete with park bench (inside) and pots of tea, this is the perfect place for an afternoon pick-me-up.
MARKET HOTEL: Comte Borrell 68, Tel. 93 325 1205.
FEDERAL CAFÉ: Parlament 39, Tel. 93 187 3607.
VINITO: Parlament 27, Tel. 93 442 9657.
BAR CALDERS: Parlament 25, Tel. 93 329 9349
TARANNÀ BAR & CAFÉ: Parlament 19, Tel. 93 106 1193.
ZUCKERHAUS: Parlament 17, tel. 666 379 168