Open since 2001 and named after a renowned 1941 tango song, stepping into Tinta Roja is like entering another world. Gone are the neon-lit kebab joints and shabby locutorios of its Poble Sec side street; instead you find yourself in a rich-red fantasy world that evokes ghosts of fin de siècle Buenos Aires.
Opening out from the narrow entrance is a cave-like system of nooks and crannies stuffed with carved dark wood, velvet armchairs and flickering gas lamps. Period pictures of tango stars line the walls, while ornate mirrors and heavy drapes add to the sense of drama. The boudoir décor and dim lighting forgive a multitude of sins, so take the opportunity to snuggle up with a special someone on an alcove sofa. Music is generally soft and jazzy, the perfect background for a romantic moment. But if passion is what you’re looking for, make sure you arrive in time to catch a live performance of Tinta Roja’s speciality—tango.
The bar’s main room is a theatre-like cabaret space, named after tango legend Carlos Gardel and seating 120 people for regular concerts and dance performances from Thursday to Sunday nights. Meanwhile, Wednesday evenings are given over to tango classes, where all are welcome to come and strut their stuff.
If you work up enough of an appetite, you can order the delicious empanadas criollas and, for a real taste of Buenos Aires, wash them down with a traditional Argentinean mate tea or a strong, spicy sugar cane-based cocktail. But whether you’ve come here to dance, eat, drink or just soak up the atmosphere, one thing is for sure: you won’t have been anywhere like this in Barcelona.
Tinta Roja: Creu dels Molers 17
Metro: Poble Sec (L3), Sant Antoni (L2), Paral·lel (L2, L3). Tel. 93 443 3243. Open Thursday to Sunday from 8.30pm; every Wednesday, tango classes from 9pm. www.tintaroja.net