Photo by Albert Pijuan
Tucked away on a leafy street in Gràcia, you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled to spot the unassuming façade of Heliogàbal. But pass through the glass doors and you’ll find yourself in one of the city’s most established and well-respected micro-venues. The big red spot on the doors should ring a bell; it’s the same one seen in public buildings, giving a clue that this place has the weight of the Institut de Cultura behind it. And with good reason—Heliogàbal has been providing Barcelona with high-quality showcases of musicians, artists and poets for nigh-on 15 years now.
One sweeping glance may seem enough to take in the whole of this cosy, box-like venue. The deep red walls, antique gilt mirror and polished wood bar give a warm glow, while aloft on a platform sit a pair of rather intriguing sculptures which appear, in a former life, to have been porcelain toilet bowls. But don’t overlook the tiny, green oasis out the back, in the form of an airy glass-roofed patio. There’s only one table, though, so only the lucky few get the chance to squeeze past the flower bed and bag a spot on the mosaic corner bench.
Back in the main room, gigs take place in a corner, with a handful of chairs lined up for the crowd. Acts are wide-ranging, from bluesy singer-songwriters and folk duos, to regular jazz sessions, poetry readings and screenings. Next month sees Festigàbal (August 16th to 18th), when the quirkiness of Heliogàbal explodes onto the stage of Plaça Rovira i Trias for the annual Gràcia festes—great for anyone longing to think outside the box.
Ramón y Cajal 80
Metro: Joanic (L4)
Open every day from 9pm, performances start at 10pm