Located on La Rambla de Sant Josep at La Rambla Nº 74, the Cafè de l'Òpera is one of Barcelona's most emblematic bars both because of its tradition and its lovely Modernista decoration.
The Cafè actually began life as an inn back at the end of the 18th century when this section of La Rambla
was first paved because it was close to the Boqueria city gates from
where carriages left Barcelona on their way to Zaragoza and Madrid.
With the arrival of the train and the tram and the opening of El Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house in 1847, the inn became a chocolateria, which were all the rage in those days, and in fact some of the wooden panels and mirrors date from then.
A few years later, it became the Café-Restaurant known as La Mallorquina, given its location directly opposite the Liceu, one of the most elegant and aristocratic cafés in the city.
In 1928, the Cafè de l'Òpera became what it is today and it is from this time that most of its slightly Modernista decoration dates.
The establishment proudly boasts that it has been open 18 hours a day
(8.30 am to 2.30 pm) seven days a week without a lapse even during the
Spanish Civil War when La Rambla was the centre of a lot of fighting.
The Cafè de l'Òpera's location on Barcelona's most celebrated street means it has attracted an impressive clientele, including King Alfonso XIII, leading pre-Civil War anarchists, pro and anti-Franco politicians along with artists, bohemians and famous divas and divos.
The guestbook is on display and is really worth checking out.
These days the Cafè remains central to Ramblas life for local Barcelonans but has also inevitably become a centre for tourists.
It's still a great place for a beer or a coffee if only for the lovely surroundings and to take in a piece of Barcelona history.
always enjoyed the chocolate con churros and last time I was there, we
shared a more than acceptable plate of jamón with pan con tomate.
The prices are a little steep especially if you sit out on the terrace on The Ramblas and at busy times, the waiters tend to be a little overworked, but as far as I'm concerned the Cafè de l'Òpera is well-worth a visit.
Cafè de l'Òpera
La Rambla, 74
Opening Times: 8 am to 1 am
Getting There: Metro Liceu - Green L3 Line