Carrer de Blai in Poble Sec is an institution these days for a pinxto bar crawl. Located slightly uphill in the Poblec Sec area of Barcelona though to be fair apart from the very bottom of the area it’s all uphill…, it has become more popular over the last few years as an area for a night out but thankfully in the main tourist free (what do you mean i’m a tourist…yes but not a typical one). There are plenty of streets around with more bars, for instance the well known Quimet i Quimet montadito bar is close by and one of my favourite beer bars Cerverceria Jazz is a few minutes walk away. There’s are literally hundreds of bars within 5-10 minutes walk of Carrer de Blai.
Carrer de Blai is easy to get to from other parts of the city, it has two metro stations (Poble Sec and Parral-lel) and both are on line 3 that runs passed Camp Nou, Sants Station and up the Ramblas towards Gracia and line 2 from Parral-lel that heads up to Sagrada Familia and various bus routes though the most handy of these is the D20 that runs all the way down Parral-lel from Placa Espanya and ends up in Barceloneta.
There are plenty of options on the street but i will only be reviewing the ones i’ve actually been to (short reviews on here and slightly longer on individual posts for some of them anyway), well the ones that i can remember the names of and that means they were forgettable. Common issue is how busy they are and they won’t usually go over their limit of places in the restaurant and if it says maximum of 30, it usually means that, which might put some people off but makes it more manageable and yes this has meant some of the ones i’ve wanted to visit i still haven’t managed to get into even after numerous attempts. Some do have tables outside which are usually very busy as well unless it’s absolutely chucking it down with rain and you get wet (My friend Sami was half wet/half dry on one evening of sitting outside until we managed to run inside the bar we were at).
First up is Koska. Koska is run by a Basque and Argentinian partnership who now also run Rioba, a new restaurant (not had a proper meal here yet but what i have had is bloody outstanding so hope to try it properly this year) just over the road from Cerverceria Jazz. This is a Basque place compared to most on the street and with a lot of typical tapas dishes they also serve the traditional style of Basque Pintxos especially the likes of Gildas which is an anchovy, guindilla pepper and olive combination which as long as you like anchovies you’ll be fine. I do so obviously i love Gildas… I will be doing a longer review on Koska as i’ve been in a number of times and really like it.
Just a few doors down on the other side of the road is Blai 9, cunningly named after their address on the street. Blai 9 serve pinxtos at €1 or €1.50 and a small range of wines along with Vermut and three different styles of Moritz beer. Staff here and very friendly and efficient and another bar i have spent a few hours in, so again will do a slightly extended review.
Pincho J further along the street is another good place, again quite small but staff friendly and helpful but slightly more chaotic inside than the previous recommendations but mainly due to the fact that most of the seating is around or very close to the bar, the others had at least a bit more seating set aside plus the outdoor seats.
Punjabi bar opposite is a good option for drinks when it’s a bit quieter, seemed on the couple of occasions i’ve been in as more of a drinking bar than food, though they do have plenty of food but i’ve never tried any and from all accounts it’s not the best and when the street has better options on it then stick to those.
One place i do want to try is La Tasqueta de Blai but it’s always been absolutely rammed with people waiting, some of the others have been hit and miss and some i avoid as they have people trying to get you in and there’s probably a good reason why you have space and others don’t.
Finally, remember that as it’s a pintxos / tapas crawl type street don’t stuff your face in one of them and then find you’re too full for the others. Have a drink or two and a pintxo and move on, it’s not even a necessity to eat at every stop when you’re in a group, just have what you want as and when.