Hemingway-ing & absinthe in Barcelona

Chrisa Lepida | Live the World

November 23, 2022

If you’re looking for some kind of alternative experience while visiting Barcelona, then I guess I have an extremely interesting & probably later on inspiring or let’s say hallucinating suggestion for you!

The place;

Bar Marsella opened in 1820 in the El Raval- gothica- neighborhood. It is said to be the first bar in Barcelona and was frequented by Dalí, Picasso, Gaudí, Hemingway, and many other famous artists.

Once you enter, you get the feeling that the place is abandoned; the paint on the ceiling is peeling, the mirrors are caked with grime, the walls yellowed by tobacco smoke and the chandeliers covered by a loot of dust…

In fact, the place has never ever been renovated or touched during the last 200 years. Upon your entrance you get the feels that you travel back in time; you’re now about to have a drink into a typical old Belle Époque bar.

For most Barcelona residents Bar Marsella is intimately linked with absinthe, a potent tipple drunk with dissolved sugar. Its worldwide fame has brought many tourists to this unique establishment in the heart Barcelona. Its interior looks like a museum that as mentioned above, still keeps the original decoration and structure.

Absinthe; the story behind

Like most alcoholic liquids, absinthe got its start as an all-purpose medicinal remedy. Sooner or later and starting from France, its consumption became popular, especially during the “l’heure verte”, or “the green hour,” jumping from 700,000 liters in 1874 to 36 million liters by 1910.

Because of its popularity it was soon mass produced, which meant it became cheaper to drink – a calling card for the starving artist. Later on, in the 19th century, art and absinthe, go hand in hand…The likes of Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Antoni Gaudí, Paul Verlaine to name a few, were all on very intimate terms with the “goddess of artistic rebellion.”

Hemingway himself used to admit that a glass of absinthe was his main source of inspiration that would help him start his day…

How to drink Absinthe at Marsella; tips & tricks

Drinking it requires a special ritual: it is served with a bottle of water, a sugar lump and a fork. Only the most audacious know why. Here are a few tips that will transform you into an “absinthe expert” and will get you through the night!

If done correctly the color of the drink should change to a cloudy, tint of green.

Ready yet?

Get ready to relax and get lost into this unique 19th century experience offered right at the centre of Barcelona! Visit Marsella bar, a place where one can sit, sip and pretend to hallucinate beside the great artistic ghosts of the past! Enjoy!

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