Ajuntament de Barcelona Institut del Paisatje Urbà
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The Modernista design movement led to a revival of the decorative arts because its exponents wished to create unique spaces in which all the arts were integrated. In fact, to some extent the decorative arts disseminated the Modernista style and brought it within the reach of the general public. The new language was not limited to bourgeois mansions designed by major architects or large-scale public works. Baker's shops, chemist's shops, leisure facilities, bars and restaurants were decorated using the new language and show a profusion of anonymous artists and craftsmen who worked in accordance with the new tendencies. The most ordinary premises became showcases for the new aesthetics, and some have been conserved practically intact. Architecture was a binding force for the decorative arts on both the exterior and the interior of buildings. This was a period of rediscovery of local craftsmanship, which became a differentiating characteristic of decoration in the European cities that gave birth to the various branches of the Art Nouveau movement.

We know of the existence of many bars and restaurants, no longer existing, that were a fascinating example of the Modernista language as La Lluna or La Buena Sombra. For this guide we have made a selection of fourteen bars and restaurants that have been conserved practically intact since their foundation or that have been created through the recovery of Modernista elements from other shops that were to be converted for other uses. They allow us to enjoy in the present the atmosphere of the early 20th century. Unfortunately, in very few cases do we know the decorator or the persons who worked on these establishments: a great deal of research is still needed on the decorators and interior designers of this period.

A common feature of these spaces is the use of the applied arts, such as the decorative ceramic work on the wainscots and counters, the plaster mouldings decorating the ceilings, the marble bars, skirtings and panels, the woodwork of the display cabinets (the element most often used to display naturalist decoration), the use of the wrought-iron to decorate columns, the lights, the hangers, and finally the stained glass windows of doors and windows, which filter the light reaching the interiors. All these elements were decorated with naturalist motifs, interwoven flowers and leaves, or sinuous lines. The difference between the establishments is often found in the quality of the materials used, because this was an element determined by the wealth and culture of the owner.

Apart from the examples that we present here, walking round Barcelona you can find many other bars that conserve some Modernista decoration. Examples of this are the coffee bar on Carrer de la Palla, 4, which still has an original wooden door with a floral decoration very similar to those seen in this guide, and the Cafè del Centre, on Carrer Girona, 69, with a simple decoration but Modernista aesthetics.

Some establishments that were not originally designed to be bars or restaurants have now been converted to serve this function: for example, the Pastisseria Escribà on the Rambla has a small space for having coffee from which one can view the whole interior decor of the cake shop; and the cafeteria of the Palau de la Música Catalana is located on the ground floor of a building by Domènech i Montaner that is emblematic of Catalan Modernisme. This building also houses the Mirador restaurant, which was opened in late 2004 in one of the areas of the modern extension designed by Oscar Tusquets, with magnificent views of the side facade of the Palau. Another example is “La Pedrera by Night”, the name of the evenings organised in La Pedrera on summer nights in order to allow visitors to combine their tour of the Gaudí Space with a drink and live music on the spectacular roof terrace.

The examples of these establishments help us to understand how important Modernisme was in shaping the social use of art: how master builders, craftsmen and designers were able to apply the new language of Modernisme to the most modest spaces of the city and to make their trades stand out within the works created by the great masters of the movement such as Gaudí, Puig i Cadafalch and Domènech i Montaner. Entering any of these spaces is no less than a privilege.

Casa Almirall
Joaquín Costa, 33
Tel.: 93 318 99 17
Opening times: daily from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m.

The sign of the Casa Almirall, in painted glass, tells us that it was founded in 1860. Manel Almirall, a member of the Almirall family of distinguished businessmen, was the founder of a tavern in the second half of the 19th century. The premises had two differentiated parts: the first was the tavern itself and the second was the wine cellar. In 1976 the establishment was acquired by the current owners, Ramon Solé and Pere Pina. It was reopened on 1 January 1977 and was restored in 2000, and again in 2001 to build new toilets.

Of the original decoration, the door, the counter, the display cabinet and the lights have been conserved practically intact, and all the elements show a great richness and quality in the materials used. The door of the bar is quite simple, because during a large part of the year it was taken down and replaced by a small curtain that concealed the upper part of the entrance and opened the premises onto the street. The forms of the door show no outstanding ornamentation, except for the sinuous lines of the wood.

The visually imposing counter is made of white Catalan marble combined at the bottom with Italian marble of different colours. At one end of the bar stands a cast iron sculpture of great quality representing a female figure, which is the image of the muse of the Universal Exhibition of Barcelona held in 1888. This may be a decorative element salvaged from the demolition of the balustrade of the house that the Almirall family had in the same street. At the end of the counter there is a cash desk, in a similar style to that of the display cabinet, which still serves the same purpose.

The display cabinet behind the counter gives great character to the establishment and is perhaps the most recognisable element within the Modernista language. The most outstanding effect of the decoration is created by the woodwork, with curved lines going towards the side where they meet other lines, interlacing to form a dense ornamentation of branches with leaves and flowers that emerge from the end of display cabinet and rise upwards.

Finally, the many restorations that the premises have undergone have respected a garland painted in bright colours at the top of the wall, which must have belonged to the original decoration of the building in which the bar is located. The building features sgrafitto work on the exterior.

Today the establishment also has two differentiated parts: the first room furnished with the characteristic vetlladors, round marble tables with a single leg that were used in all the establishments of the time; and a second, more intimate space separated by a glass partition, with gentle lighting and armchairs. The music played in the bar consists mainly of modern and classic jazz, as well as other styles, in a wide variety of the best instrumental music. The Casa Almirall is a meeting place for people of all ages and milieus to have a drink and a snack. Anchovies are its speciality. It is also a venue for occasional cultural activities such as cinema cycles or cultural gatherings to discuss a varied range of subjects. It is a space that is open to new proposals and diverse activities, a meeting point for the early evening with a relaxed atmosphere. It tends to get livelier in the early hours, but one can often find a quieter spot in the interior.

Bar Muy Buenas
Bar, restaurant and cultural activities
Carme, 63
Tel.: 93 442 50 53
Opening times: Monday to Saturday from 7.30 a.m. to 2.30 a.m. Sunday from 7 p.m. to 2.30 a.m.

The origins of the Bar Muy Buenas go back to the late 19th century, when it was founded as a dairy-bar by a member of the Serrano family. The establishment was passed from father to son for three generations (it was given the name Bar Muy Buenas in 1928) until 1996, when Antonio Serrano sold it to the current owner of the bar, Antonio Magaña, who has restored the premises to its original appearance.

The entrance to the establishment gives a subtle glimpse that is a slightly different establishment, not because of the exaggerated decoration but because of the gentle undulating lines that frame the sign and even the door handle. The counter of the bar is the original one and has now been restored to its original function, though for years it was placed in another part of the bar as a decorative element. It is a marble counter with a pair of compartments that were originally filled with ice for cooling the drinks. The two water taps have been replaced by beer taps.

Another interesting feature of this bar is the splendid partition of Scots pine and glass etched with floral motifs, which was originally the door between the dairy shop and the dining room, and now separates the bar area from the rest of the establishment. The bar area has a surprisingly high ceiling, created by removing the mezzanine that was formerly used as a dwelling. In the interior space practically none of the Modernista decorative elements have been maintained, but in the summer of 2001 Mr. Magaña commissioned an Argentine painter to decorate the bar with a mural. The result was a success and gives an appearance of modernity, though the sinuous lines and motifs on the door of the bar also offer a taste of Modernista style. The tables have been painted to match the mural. The upper floor has a special atmosphere created by the small wooden balcony—the top of the Modernista partition—that overhangs the bar area. In general the bar is decorated with simplicity and taste, creating a special atmosphere that is comfortable, open and friendly.

When Antonio Magaña bought the business his aim was that it should continue to be a bar, but also a centre for a variety of cultural activities: music, poetry readings (Wednesday nights), exhibitions by young artists and cultural gatherings. It is thus characterised by having a young clientele who mainly live in the city, though it is open to everyone and particularly to new ideas. The Bar Muy Buenas is not only a place to have a drink or a coffee, but also offers meals at very reasonable prices, and its menu includes a wide range of dishes from different cultures of the world. Also, at any time of day one can have one of its specialities, the “torrijas àrabs” (arabic cakes), or choose from its increasing range of teas and imported beers. As the night progresses the tables are cleared, the music gets more lively and the Muy Buenas becomes a nightclub and meeting point where one can try its famous mojito cocktail.

La Confiteria
Sant Pau, 128
Tel.: 93 443 04 58
Opening times: daily from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.

It seems that the premises of this bar were formerly occupied by a barber's shop, and before that by a fleet of berlines (light horse-drawn carriages). The Pujadas family bought it and converted it into a confectioner’s between 1912 and 1913, according to the business ledger, which has been preserved. From then on the confectioner’s shop was on the ground floor, the dwelling in the interior and the work area in the basement. It was run by the same family for many years until it finally closed in the 1980s, after which the premises were left in disuse for many years. In 1998 the premises were acquired by two young entrepreneurs, Núria Benet and Curro, who recovered and restored the whole decoration and re-opened La Confiteria, but now as a bar and restaurant.

On the facade the bar has two access doors and three display windows of iron and glass, together with a Noucentista style decoration of small angels. The decoration of the display windows changes continually, and while one displays old books and photographs the next one may display radical art exhibitions. In the interior, all the walls are covered with a wooden display cabinet with a mirror or etched glass backing and geometric decoration, with predominantly straight lines forming branches. This cabinet is crowned by curved panels decorated with vegetable motifs and has flowers painted on the inside. Before the last restoration it was covered with decades of paint layers, but the exposed woodwork has now been revealed. The space between the top of these cabinets and the ceiling is filled with oil paintings on canvas showing bucolic landscapes with female figures. No reference has been found of the names of the people who worked on the decoration of the establishment.

The counter of the former confectioner’s is now used as a bar. It is practically intact, though a skirting was added to give it more height and the glass sweet drawers were removed because of their fragility. On the counter, half-way along the bar is the old cash register of the shop, and the glass display cabinet has been used to fit the beer pump. Also, as one enters on the right, the bookkeeping table has been conserved as a decorative element with an ornate glass partition. The interior space—which was formerly the dwelling and seems to have had no Modernista decoration—now contains the tables where the clients can have something to eat. In 1998 this space was restored and redecorated with a totally contemporary design that also fits in with the style of the entrance. This was achieved partly thanks to a skilful use of the original materials: for example, the current doors of the toilets and kitchen are those that previously separated the corridor leading to the interior dwelling from the shop.

In addition to its aesthetic charms, La Confiteria also offers an outstanding selection of wines and high-quality cold cuts, cheeses and pâtés, including its speciality, foie de la Marona. The atmosphere of the bar varies according to the time of day: in the afternoon it is frequented by people who wish to have a quiet snack or a chat, but at night it is filled with a very varied clientele who drink until the early hours or come to have a light snack after leaving one of the theatres on the Avinguda Paral·lel. It has a pleasant atmosphere with a wide and carefully selected range of modern music. The establishment also organises a range of other activities, houses exhibitions every two or three months, and holds concerts within the Jazz Festival of Ciutat Vella.

Hotel España
Hotel restaurant
Sant Pau, 9-11
Tel.: 93 318 17 58
Opening times: daily from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 8 p.m. to 12 p.m.

““(...) the Fonda España, which is located at Carrer Sant Pau numbers 9 and 11, whose decoration was designed and supervised by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. In this work conceived with powerful inspiration and extreme beauty, the aspects that stand out are of course the abundance and excellence of the artistic resources that combine severity and delicacy, grandiosity and dexterity, the skilful choice of materials, the pleasant harmony of the colours, the fine arrangement of the lines, the elegance of the forms and, above all, the firm talent with which an unpretentious work without exaggeration or violence has been executed.”

This is how the statistical yearbook of Barcelona City Council of 1904 describes this establishment, owned by Rius and Martí, which won the prize for the best established opened in 1903. And with few modifications, this is how we can see it and enjoy it at present.

The oldest reference that has been found on the Fonda España so far seems to indicate the date when it opened. It is an announcement in the Diari de Barcelona on 30 December 1858 informing that “on the first day of 1859 this establishment will open with everything new”. In 1863 the Fonda was extended to occupy the ground floor of a new building that the owner Josep Colomer had built beside it. Between this date and 1903 we have no references of work done on the interior of the establishment.
The heirs of Josep Colomer commissioned the decoration to Domènech i Montaner, though in 1903 the owners were already Rius and Martí. Since then it has always had the same business, but it has evolved over the years from a bar and inn to a restaurant and hotel. In the 1920s this establishment was popularly known as Els Toreros, because it was where many of the best-known bullfighters stayed. During the Civil War it was requisitioned by the CNT anarchist trade union for use as a hospital. In 1983 the hotel was acquired by the Tutusaus family, who recovered the decoration that in some areas was by covered by more modern works and the alabaster fireplace that had been painted black. (In October 2004 the company Hotelcon 96, SL. bought the hotel).

Not all of the decoration was preserved intact: the zone that suffered most is the reception: the original wooden door has been preserved but the rest of the interior shows little trace of the original decoration. On the left of the reception is the Arnau Room, which has also suffered many mutilations in the course of time. Previously a "rest room" and now a bar-restaurant, this room still has its splendid (gas-fired) alabaster fireplace, which was modelled in 1901 by the sculptor Eusebi Arnau and produced by the workshop of the sculptor Alfons Juyol i Bach. Careful attention should be paid to the rich sculptures representing the ages of man that depict figures of women and an old man, and the chimney breast crowned by the coats of arms of the emperor Charles V of Germany (also known as Charles I of Spain) with the imperial crown, the two-headed eagle, the columns of Hercules and the golden fleece, with the emblems of the kingdoms of Leon, Castile, Navarre and Aragon in the centre. These motifs are also found in the decoration of one of the dining rooms: the heraldic references are characteristic in the work of Domènech i Montaner, who, in addition to being an architect, historian and politician, was also a prominent expert in heraldry.

The decoration that merited the prize of the City Council for the best establishment can be seen in the two dining rooms, which are still used for the same purpose today. Crossing the reception from the street in a straight line, one comes to what was formerly the guest's dining room, also known as the Saló de les Sirenes (mermaid's room), which is now reserved for banquets and group dinners. The first thing that calls the attention is the mural painted on the wall with a marine theme: mermaids (with legs) and fishes of the Mediterranean, all set on a background of sea waves in relief. These paintings have often been attributed to the painter Ramon Casas.

Under the paintings, covering the lower part of the wall there is a wainscot formed by a lattice of wide wooden strips, with glazed tiles filling the empty spaces and depicting once more coats of arms of former nobility. The room is covered by a coffered skylight that provides gentle natural lighting.

The second dining room, which communicates with the first and is at the right of the reception, was—and still is—the public restaurant. In this room the wainscot is tiled, also representing emblems but fewer in number. The wooden coat hangers crowning the wainscot show a more detailed craftsmanship than in the first dining room, and are decorated with vegetable and floral motifs. All the wall lights and the hanging lights in this dining room are from the time of the conversion performed by Domènech i Montaner, though they were originally in the Arnau Room.

In all the rooms one can enjoy a set menu at a very reasonable prices at mid-day and in the evening, consisting mainly of Catalan cuisine but with the flexibility that is typical of a hotel. It is an establishment that is open to everyone, from the people who live and work in the neighbourhood to the guests who are staying in the hotel. Now, more than 100 years after the decoration of the Fonda Espanya, we can still have a meal there enjoying a privileged atmosphere and feel ourselves to be part of a world created by the grand master of Modernisme, Domènech i Montaner, in which he demonstrated the enormous possibilities of dialogue between stone, paint, ceramic, glass, iron and wood.

London Bar
Nou de la Rambla, 34
Tel.: 93 318 52 61
Opening times: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, from 7.30 p.m. to 4.30 a.m. Friday and Saturday from 7.30 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Josep Roca i Tudó, born in Copons in 1883, came as a young man to Barcelona. He worked as a waiter in several bars of the old city until 1909, when he bought premises at Carrer Nou de la Rambla number 34 (the street was then called Conde del Asalto). He opened a bar there in the following year (on 23 June 1910), which he decorated with an unsophisticated Modernista language. The name of the designer is not known, but we have the names of some of the workers who were acquaintances and friends of Josep Roca and took part in the decoration: Pedrerol was the carpenter, Xampanyer was the painter, and they were assisted by a team of joiners, masons and plasterers. On the death of the founder, the establishment was taken over by one of his daughters, Dolors Roca, and her husband Pere Bertran. The current owner is still a member of the family of the founder—his granddaughter Elionor Bertran, who took over the management of the bar in 1976 together with her husband José Antonio Alabalá.

Despite the passing of the years, the bar has preserved its interior. Initially the whole premises were not occupied by the bar and it was not decorated in the same way. The Modernista decoration occupied a little over half of the establishment, consisting of the bar area: the inner room, which was not decorated in this style, was used for artistic and cultural activities, and after the civil war it was used as a place for rehearsal of circus artists. The two spaces have now been combined to form a single establishment and the inner room has a stage for performances.

At the entrance door, the wooden frames with the bar’s name in the centre already give an indication that this is no ordinary bar. After the Civil War, the fascist authorities forced all the Catalan names (or any non-Spanish names, for that matter) in the shop signs to be translated or substituted by Spanish names, but the London’s owners decided to hide—rather than destroy—the sign, and this has allowed it to survive. The main features of the interior are the mirror-backed display cabinet that was so characteristic in all the establishments of the period, decorated with curved lines intersected by flowers and with scrolls and vegetable motifs at the ends. All the wood is painted in cream colour combined with gilded ornamentation and lines. This same ornamentation is repeated in an arc located half way along this section of the bar, which bears the name of the establishment. The name can also be seen on the door to the second room, though this door was fitted more recently. The first bar, the only original one, is in coloured marble with carved flowers at the top, and this motif also appears on the wainscot of the first original section of the establishment.

From the very beginning, the London was frequented by circus people because many circus, theatre and entertainment agents had their offices in the same street. It was also open 24 hours a day, so sooner or later all the bohemians of the city dropped in. All the decorative elements conserve the spirit of the turn-of-the-century bar that was a meeting place for young artists such as Miró, Picasso and Gaudí, and many people from the art world and especially from the circus, which is still recalled today by the trapeze hanging near the entrance.

The London Bar does not have the relaxed atmosphere of an old café because it never was one exactly—in fact it was a meeting place for persons with cultural interests. Still today a large part of the clientele are people from the art world, in the widest sense, who go there to chat and listen to music, or even on occasions to offer impromptu performances on the trapeze. The owners tend to be open to all kinds of cultural activities, ranging from traditional cultural gatherings or exhibitions to more innovative initiatives. However, since the 1970s the most popular activity has been live music, and such well-known artists as Loquillo, Jarabe de Palo and Fundación Tony Manero have performed there. Every night at 12.30 there is a concert of some type of music: jazz, singer/songwriters, rock, funk, etc. Entrance is free but you must buy a drink. The concerts of the month can be consulted on their web page.

A very relaxed place in the late afternoon, packed for the concerts, and very lively until well into the early hours. It is mostly frequented by young Catalans, but it is also well-known among foreigners and the easy-going atmosphere makes it easy for anyone to feel at home there.

Grill Room
Bar restaurant
Escudellers, 8
Tel.: 93 302 40 10
Opening times: from 1 p.m. to 3.45 p.m. and from 8 p.m. to 11.15 p.m. Closed on Wednesday and Thursday

In 1902, a man from Turin called Flaminio Mezzalama opened two cafés in Barcelona: one on the new boulevard of the local bourgeoisie, Passeig de Gràcia, and the other in the former bourgeois town centre (which was then gradually becoming degraded), in Carrer Escudellers. Mezzalama was a representative of the entrepreneurs Martini and Rossi, and he introduced Italian vermouth to Catalonia. We also know that he was a very active entrepreneur in the civil society of Barcelona: in 1908 he was a member of the Industrial and Commercial Defence League.

The café at Passeig de Gràcia number 18, which no longer exists, was called the Café Torino and in the year of its opening in 1902 it won the prize of the City Council for the best establishment. The second café, which is the one described here, is still today situated at Carrer Escudellers number 8, and seems to have been called the Petit Torino, though the early 20th century guides call it the Café Torino. Both cafés were decorated by Ricard Capmany, though the decoration of Carrer Escudellers was more discreet than that of Passeig de Gràcia. Thanks to the report on the prize won by Café Torino, we know who collaborated in the decoration, and it can be assumed that the same team decorated the Petit Torino because of the similarity of the decoration and the proximity of the dates.

A few years later, in around 1910-1911, the Café Torino on Passeig de Gràcia closed and the one on Carrer Escudellers may also have done so, because in 1914, according to a guide of the city, the establishment was called the Oriental Bar and its owner was a certain Juan Alamán. Two years later, the establishment changed ownership once more and was given the name that has identified it since then. In the late 1920s, the Bofarull family, owners of the neighbouring restaurant Los Caracoles, acquired the Grill Room and are still the owner of the two establishments.

The Grill Room occupies the ground floor of an 18th-century building and its facade is decorated with a wood facing that adapts to the openings of the building. If one compares current images of the facade with images of its origins one can see the discreet changes that it has undergone. It still has the same wood facing with two large arcades divided by a pillar and a display window crowned by a shield with a raging bull. The upper part of the doors is occupied by fixed glazing. The main changes are the sign, which was originally painted and decorated with floral motifs and now consists of large linear letters on a green background, and the base of the display windows, which in the old images seems to have been clad in marble and is now clad in wood. The establishment stands at the corner of Passatge Escudellers, and in this street we find three arches that repeat the symbols of Torino Vermouth and the raging bull.

The interior decoration features a display cabinet that is located on the right as one enters, on which one can see the sinuous lines and floral decoration that were characteristic of the early 20th century. The establishment has asymmetric counters: the one on the right is completely smooth, without any type of decoration, whereas the one on the left is decorated with applied ceramics. The cast iron pillars are another outstanding feature: in the first of them one can still read the initials VT (Vermut Torino) framed by a raging bull, recalling the business of the founder. Other elements of interest are the painted panelling in the first section of the establishment and the iron wall lights.

The space is currently divided into two parts, one containing the bars where one can have a drink, and one built later as the dining room, where one can have an à la carte meal. The cuisine of the Grill Room, as its name suggests, is based especially on meat dishes and other grilled ingredients, though it also offers traditional dishes of Catalan cuisine and a more international cuisine. In the heart of Ciutat Vella, between La Rambla and Plaça de Sant Jaume, this restaurant has a cosmopolitan and varied environment, and like most establishments in this area, in recent years a large proportion of its clientele are tourists. The dining room, which has a capacity for 50 persons, may be reserved for celebrations or for group dinners, with the possibility of choosing a set menu from the dishes offered.

El Paraigua
Bar specialising in cocktails
Pas de l’Ensenyança, 2
Tel.: 93 302 11 31 i 93 317 14 79
Opening times: Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. Closed on Sunday.

El Paraigua is an example of a bar that was not originally Modernista but was decorated using original elements from the period. It was opened in 1968 after being fitted out with the decoration of an entire Modernista shop founded at the beginning of the 20th century. This shop, called Gallés, sold umbrellas and fans and was located at Carrer dels Arcs number 5 until it was decided to demolish the building in 1967 and the business had to be moved. Little information is available on this shop. It was founded in 1902 but neither the owners nor the decorators are known: a photograph of the old façade can be seen on this page.

In 1966 the owner of the shop sold the decoration to the decorator and theatrical designer Josep M. Espada. All the ornamentals elements were dismounted piece by piece and Espada used them to create a new design by adapting them to smaller premises, near Plaça Sant Jaume, which were to be converted into a bar. The Yagüe brothers were contracted to restore all the boxwood elements and adapt them structurally to the new space.

Before one enters the establishment, the first thing that strikes the attention is the front door. The panels of the lintels were formerly the umbrella shop sign (if you look closely you can even see the street number of the shop marked in the wood). In other parts of the establishment, and especially on the glass partitions, a repeated motif reminds one of the origins of the decoration: two umbrellas and a fan.

All the Modernista decoration is located from the bar to the ceiling in the first space of the establishment, on the ground floor, including the lamps and wall lights. The lower part of the bar was made using the wooden panels from the top of the umbrella display cabinets. The ceiling was decorated with the sliding doors that covered the display shelves for the fans. Other features of the former shop are the wainscot on the walls, which in this case served a similar purpose in the original establishment, and all the frames of the mirrors covering the walls of the bar. Thus, this very small establishment (particularly in height) was redecorated with the decoration taken out of the original shop. This is why the motifs are repeated on different parts of the walls and doors, because the pieces were placed according to their size in order to make as few modifications as possible.

In most of the elements two ornamental motifs are repeated: a decoration of undulating lines finished at the ends with floral motifs, and a more naturalistic decoration with interlaced flowers and leaves. In the lighting, original Modernista lamps are combined with wall lights some of which designed by Espada in the 1960s.

The new bar El Paraigua was opened on 5 April 1968, and its founders, in addition to Josep M. Espada, were J.M. Segarra and E. Vila Casa. In 1969 J.M. Sánchez, an Andalusian from Cádiz who had arrived in Barcelona three years earlier, began to work in the bar: in 1972 he became a partner and from 1995 to the present he has been the sole owner, together with his wife Sebastiana Guerrero.

In the 1980s it was decided to extend the premises by fitting out a basement with medieval vaults (it seems to have been the cellar of a former monastery) to house an elegant cocktail bar that offers select classical music. El Paraigua is a quiet place to visit at any time of day for a coffee or a good cocktail, of which it offers some fifty, with and without alcohol. These include, for example, El Paraigua, a semi-cocktail made with cava, tequila, drambuie and lemon, orange, pineapple, peach and blackcurrant juice. For those who are not experts in cocktails it is best to take the advice of the highly professional barman, who will find the most suitable cocktail for any situation or time of day.

Though cocktails are the speciality, El Paraigua also offers a wide range of wines, cavas and liqueurs. One can also have something to eat at any time of day, with an assortment of local dishes that are simple but of excellent quality, ranging from potato omelette to cured chorizo and appetizers that can be selected at the bar. The set menus composed of the selection of tapas cost between 35 and 40€ on average, including a drink, dessert and coffee.

El Paraigua is also open to cultural activity: the basement often displays exhibitions of paintings, and every Monday evening cultural gatherings are held there (you can consult the programme on the web page). The establishment is open to other cultural and social activities, or small private celebrations: for further details contact the management.

Molly's Fair City
Irish pub
Ferran, 7-9
Tel.: 93 342 40 26
Opening times: Monday to Sunday from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m.

Walking along Carrer Ferran, when you come to numbers 7 and 9 you may be surprised to see people drinking beer in a Modernista shop. It is an Irish pub that occupies two premises, one of which (at number 7), still has the original interior and exterior decoration in clearly Modernista style, which is not surprising because in the early 20th century this was one of the main shopping streets of the city. Molly’s Fair City is therefore not strictly a Modernista bar, but a contemporary bar that has been created by joining two spaces whilst carefully conserving the Modernista elements.

The first references to these premises date from the late 19th century or early 20th century. In about 1893 the owner was a man of French origin called Marnet, who ran a business in the premises, though it is not sure whether he sold gloves and accessories or cold cuts. A delicatessen was opened on the premises by Miquel Regàs i Ardèvol in around 1910. This shop, which regularly advertised in the press (advertisements from 1913 and 1914 have been conserved), continued until 1922 and it seems that in this whole period of time Regàs conserved the original decoration intact. The following establishment that opened was a gift shop called Wolf or Veciana, the latter being the name of the owner. The decoration of the premises is often also attributed erroneously to Veciana. He did, however, make a small modification: in 1979 the large entrance doors were replaced by display windows and the doors were used to make a display cabinet in the interior. The current owner of the premises, a Viennese called Michael who has settled in Barcelona, took over the premises in 1999 and carried out a restoration that was very respectful of the original and of the conversion of 1979, changing only a part of the wainscots.

On the exterior, the facade of number 7 (which is not the entrance to the bar) has a wood cladding on two levels, the ground floor and the mezzanine, which gives balance and unity to the whole. On the upper floor the wood frames a small balcony with wrought iron railings in undulating forms and with floral motifs similar to the floral decoration of the lintels. The two side panels of the mezzanine have an elliptical form framed by curved wooden mouldings with undulating lines. In all the images of the facade that have been conserved the wood is painted in two colours, garnet red and white, but it may have originally been of natural colour. The shop sign, which until very recently was that of the previous business, Wolf, has been replaced by an advertisement for Guinness stout.

The interior of this part of the bar is small in size and is also clad in wood. It still has the wainscots with interwoven floral decoration on the back wall. Breaking the continuity of the wainscot is a slender cupboard with a wooden crown in the purest Modernista style, finished with undulating forms and floral patterns. The wood used to make this crown was formerly a frame of stained glass with floral motifs that has not been conserved. Though we do not know the name of the decorators, it is obvious that the carpenters belonged to the Modernista movement, with strong influences of the international Art Nouveau style that was then the rage in Catalonia.

The Irish pub Molly’s Fair City offers, of course, traditional Irish beer, but one can also try its liqueur shorts with evocative names such as “Deep Throat” and “Choc Pop”, or the more predictable “Baby Guinness” (which is in fact made not from beer but from coffee liqueur and whisky cream).

The pub has a clearly international and multicultural character, and one can hear a good mixture of languages there every day. It is a bar with a warm and welcoming atmosphere, in which one can obviously hear Celtic music but also Anglo-American pop and rock. All of this makes it a good place to meet people—and to practice languages. The staff of the bar—mostly Irish or local—are a cheerful, friendly and polyglot bunch who are used to giving advice on basic questions of survival to foreigners who have just arrived in the old part of Barcelona. The strategic location of this Irish pub also means that the waiters are mercilessly subjected to questions by tourists with little sense of direction and few language skills, but this is something that the staff of Molly's seem to accept with a certain stoicism. As they say, “at Molly’s there are no strangers, only friends that you haven’t met yet”.

The liveliest days of this establishment—without, of course, forgetting Saint Patrick’s Day on 17 March—tend to coincide with major sports events such as important football matches, which are offered live on its large television screens. The bar also organises sundry activities related to the festivals and events of the city of Barcelona and special promotions of the establishment. The top floor, which is only open at the weekend, can be reserved for private celebrations.

Cafè de l'Òpera
Café bar
La Rambla, 74
Tel.: 93 302 41 80
Opening times: daily from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m.

In the same year as the International Exhibition, 1929, Antoni Dòria rented premises in the popular Rambla del Mig of Barcelona, just opposite the Teatre del Liceu, and gave it the name “Café-Restaurant de l’Òpera”. From then to now the café has been run by the same family. The establishment continued to operate as a restaurant, attracting a very select clientele because of its renowned cuisine. In the 1940s it was unable to continue to offer a good quality cuisine because of the shortage of food in the post-war period, so it became just a café.

This café occupies the premises that were formerly used by the very popular Xocolateria La Mallorquina, which served hot chocolate and meals. This establishment is mentioned as early as 1890. It is also known that in 1863 it was occupied by the confectioner’s shop Confiteria La Palma. When Antoni Dòria rented the establishment, the decoration was practically the same as it is today. It had been commissioned by the owner of La Mallorquina, Manuel Docampo, a Galician by birth, and was carried out in the 1880s by Amigó.

Subsequently, the premises were not restored until 1950. This involved the creation of a bar in the style of an original small cash desk that was located at the entrance to the café. The original furniture at the very entrance to the café was also changed: the round marble tables (vetlladors) with wicker chairs were replaced by upholstered chairs set around wooden tables. A second restoration was carried out in the 1980s, this time involving the paintings and furniture, and the bar was again changed and extended by Antoni Moragas i Spa. The restoration of the painted wall panels revealed a totally Vuitcentista style decoration of vases with flowers underneath them, which was previous to La Mallorquina and could be attributed to the Confiteria La Palma.

On arriving at the café, the first thing that calls the attention is the main door. It has a wooden frame with carved floral and vegetable motifs forming sinuous lines in the Modernista language, combined with the two marble door jambs depicting the same motifs. In the interior one first enters a space with two pairs of tables on each side forming a central corridor that leads to the bar, where the space narrows before opening out into a large hall. The two spaces were formerly separated by glass partitions, but now only the frames have been conserved. In 1992 two rooms were opened on the upper floor, with a decoration that is faithful to the 18th century style of the original building.

The structure of the establishment is particularly visible in the inner hall. It can be dated to the 18th century because of the use of cast iron columns with the capitals extended to support the wooden joists, in the fashion used before the existence of laminated beams, and because of the ceiling decorated with vegetable motifs (palmettes and flowers) and geometric patterns (rectangles, pyramids, etc.). On the walls, painted cloth panels are combined with three different motifs: two of them show young girls with innocent poses carrying baskets and flowers in their hands and the third shows a vase with flowers. All the panels are framed by plaster mouldings painted in the same dark green and bone colours, and these mouldings are also repeated on the ceiling.
Alternating with the paintings there are mirrors etched with female figures whose clothing seems to identify them with the characters of several operas. They are sensual women with sinuous lines and varying poses that are more in line with the Modernista language. Below these paintings and mirrors there is a tiled wainscot that was formerly lined with fibre panels in the inner hall and wood at the entrance.
The furniture in the entrance lounge was modified, but in the inner hall the wooden tables and Thonet chairs, which were very popular at the time, have been preserved and restored. The more modern chairs were also made by the Thonet firm.

Over all these years the Cafè de l’Òpera has been a place of meeting and conversation for the most diverse characters who have lived in and passed through Barcelona. In the Republican period (1931-1939) it was a meeting point of politicians of the Lliga and of Esquerra Republicana—such as the person who would later be the President of the Generalitat (Catalan Government) in exile, Josep Irla—and during the Civil War it was popular among the members of the International Brigades. At the end of the war, the establishment fell into a quieter period, which came to an end in the 1950s with the arrival of tourists. In the 1960s it recovered its traditional role as a place for cultural gatherings and meetings of customers who are today well-known, such as the writers Maria Aurèlia Capmany and Terenci Moix, the painters Modest Cuixart and Joan Miró, and the playwright and actor Sacha Guitry. Of course, in the course of its history the Cafè de l'Òpera has also been regularly frequented by the opera singers: Chaliapin, Toti del Monte, Rosich, Montserrat Caballé, Carmen Valor, Luys Santaria and César González Ruano are some of the best-known names.

From then to now the clientele of the Cafè de l'Òpera has been very varied, keeping alive the original character of the establishment and its role as a meeting place. The clients are also far more cosmopolitan than when it was founded, representing different ages and milieus but with a generally informal and bohemian appearance. The establishment is one of the city’s “classic” establishments, and was deservedly proclaimed Ramblista d'Honor (Honorary Rambla Member) in 1997. In the mornings it is frequented by small groups of tourists and natives having breakfast and reading the paper in a relaxed atmosphere; in the afternoon, on the other hand, it gets more lively and is filled with Catalans and foreign residents who create a youthful and multicultural atmosphere.

In this establishment you can have a good cup of coffee from its wide range, which features in particular the Cafè de l'Òpera (coffee with chocolate mousse). If you prefer tea, you can choose from a selection of about thirty varieties. The hot chocolate is also a special tradition of the café, and for the later hours there is a good selection of whiskeys, wines and cavas, as well as Spanish and imported beers. One can also eat there at any time of the day, mainly tapas, cold cuts, a varied range of cheeses, sandwiches and specialities of the season, all at reasonable prices.

In line with the character of the establishment, the rooms on the upper floor may be reserved for cultural gatherings, debates, book presentations and small celebrations. With a capacity for 15 persons in each room, a booking only means that each person attending must buy a drink.

Els Quatre Gats
Bar restaurante
Montsió, 3 bis
Tel.: 93 302 41 40
Opening times: daily from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m.

The bar-restaurant Els Quatre Gats is located on the ground floor of Casa Martí, the first building designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch in 1896. The building is in a clearly Neo-Medieval or Neo-Gothic style, as can be seen in the pointed arches and the ornamental design on the openings, but it is also undeniably Modernista in the use of several applied arts such as wrought-iron and ceramics in the interior.

The Taverna dels Quatre Gats, the name with which it opened in the summer of 1897, aroused the curiosity of the public from the very beginning. Their attention was drawn by the atmosphere of an old Catalan mansion created by the selection of decorative elements including walnut furniture, a counter covered with traditional Catalan tiles and simply decorated wooden beams, all combined with wrought-iron fittings and stained glass windows that—as stated in the newspapers of the time—gave “an artistic air to the establishment”.

The founders were Pere Romeu and Miquel Utrillo, men of their time who managed to create the environment that they had seen in Paris, thus attracting to their establishment artists such as Casas, Rusiñol and Picasso (who held his first exhibition of drawings in this tavern) and musicians such as Albéniz and Morera. The presence of these personalities in addition to the activities that were carried out in the inner room, such as performances of Chinese shadows, marionettes and cultural gatherings, gave the establishment great fame as a bohemian bar and meeting place for artists, a connotation that has continued to the present.

In fact, the beer hall was only open for six years: in 1903 it closed and was converted into a textile store. It was not until 1988 that it reopened as a bar-restaurant. Also, surprising as it may seem, the interior was recovered because the decorative details had been conserved intact. The Ferré family undertook the recovery of the premises and brought back Els Quatre Gats to the collective memory of Barcelona. Today the establishment is run by Josep Maria Ferré and his son Ivan Ferré.

Els Quatre Gats has two differentiated spaces. The first, as one enters, is the cafeteria-bar area, where the tavern was formerly located and most of the original decoration is concentrated. The second room, today the restaurant area but originally the room for performances and exhibitions, has been redecorated by applying motifs in the Modernista style, especially on the ceiling, though some elements from the time when this space was used as a textile store have also been conserved.

In the bar area the tiled wainscot, the stone door frames and the original bar covered with tiles depicting floral and geometric elements have been conserved. Only a wood partition separating the entrance and the bar that can be seen in an old photograph displayed inside the establishment has disappeared. The decoration is completed with reproductions of works by Ramon Casas, Santiago Rusiñol and Pablo Picasso.

The establishment is currently a bar-restaurant specialising in fresh market produce and international cuisine, under the direction of the chef Antonio Cabanas. From time to time, according to the season, the restaurant also organises a Culinary Week dedicated to a particular country. Recalling the origins of the bar, the current owners also maintain a certain amount of artistic activity. Every night the dinner is accompanied by live piano music (from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. in the inner room) and also, if the evening is lively, some musician may give an impromptu performance. Furthermore, every day the establishment publishes the newssheet 4 Gats. Diari d'Art i Cultura amb Menú Gastronòmic, which contains the day's menu and several stories and opinions. These activities, which can be consulted on the bar's web page, are completed with the “Jove Valor” (Young Talent) project, which helps to promote young artists and creators. If you wish to know more about the establishment or take away a souvenir, you can buy objects such as coffee sets, T-shirts, the Centenary Book and some cookery books.

Restaurant Casa Calvet
Casp, 48
Tel.: 93 412 40 12
Opening times: from 1 p.m. to 3.30 p.m. and from 8.30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Tables must be booked in advance.

In the late 19th century a lady (according to the sources, the widow of Pere Màrtir Calvet) and her children commissioned a building on a regular site of the Eixample. It was to have a discreet facade but a certain character that differentiated it from other buildings. The architect who was chosen to design the building was none other than Antoni Gaudí, and though it was the first residential building that he had designed, he won the First Prize of the City Council for the best building constructed in 1899:

“ (…) its general external and internal lines and its details denote a well-defined artistic personality and a good taste and originality that stand out in the elevations and in the functional layout of the building.”

At first sight the Casa Calvet draws the attention because it has a very regular and symmetrical façade—even too simple to be a work by Gaudí. However, one must take a second look: starting with the crown of the facade, it becomes clear that curved lines are predominant (to some extent offering a foretaste of the Casa Batlló), and the applied arts are evident in the wrought iron decoration. The regularity is also broken by the alternation of rectangular and circular balconies, the latter supported by sculpted corbels, and by the wrought-iron railings. The most distinguishing feature of the façade is the bay window of the piano nobile, where the owners lived, which is decorated with stone work and wrought iron. Gaudí not only designed the building, but he also took charge of the design of the interiors, the furniture of the dwellings and the decoration of the ground floor premises. These designs were carried out by the company Casas & Bardés.

On the ground floor, the space where the restaurant is located originally housed the offices of the textile factory belonging to the Calvets, and was later used as offices of other textile businesses until it was converted into a restaurant in 1994. Throughout its history the premises have maintained their character and decor unaltered. One of the outstanding elements of the establishment are the Scots pine partitions with very discreet vegetable decorative details, which formerly separated the offices of the management and the accounts department from the entrance corridor, and currently house the private rooms of the restaurant. In these three spaces, the wooden wainscot and one of the original lights have been conserved, and a desk that was located in another area of the offices has been added. All these elements serve to create welcoming spaces with a special atmosphere.

The exquisite harmony of the whole is skilfully completed in the details: the beams, the handles, the glazed stucco on the walls, the ornamental border that seems to act as a corbel of the beams, etc. According to the manager of the restaurant, Pilar Oyaga, the aim was to maintain the original spirit of the establishment, so top-quality materials and mostly Modernista originals were used for all the added decoration. In the toilets, on the other hand, a new atmosphere has been created with the broken tiles using the trencadís technique inspired directly by the benches of the Park Güell and by the craft spirit of Modernisme.

Leaving the private rooms on the right, at the end of the corridor one comes to a wider room with a large window. This was originally entirely of plain glass, but the owners replaced it with Modernista style stained glass, a solution that they also applied to the other spaces such as the entrance door to the restaurant and some of the windows. This unpartitioned space features three wooden benches, two of them two-sided and set perpendicular to the wall, which also formed part of the office furniture and now define the layout of the tables, creating a striking atmosphere. This room gives onto a smaller room, which seems to have been the board room of the business, as is indicated by the period photographs and the original furniture, and is confirmed by the letter C (for Calvet) crowning the entrance door. If one looks closely one can see that one of the walls of this room is slightly concave—a solution that makes the room larger and is a subtle reminder of Gaudí's creative mastery of forms and structures.

The Casa Calvet restaurant is renowned among the restaurants of Barcelona for the excellent dishes prepared in its kitchen, based on a creative cuisine that is essentially Mediterranean. The chef Miguel Alija uses traditional recipes to create new dishes whilst respecting and enhancing the flavour of fresh seasonal produce, which is why the menu changes four times a year according to the seasons. Nevertheless, some dishes can always be found on the menu, such as foie, Iberian ham and liver. The chef experiments with flavours and the clients are often pleasantly surprised by an unusual and exquisite combination, such as duck's liver with bitter orange sauce or a dessert of fig tatin with chestnut mousse. Whether one eats à la carte or chooses the gourmet menu, at Casa Calvet one can expect a high level of cuisine (average price 45-50€) that can be accompanied by a wide and carefully selected range of wines from its cellar. Tables must be reserved in advance.

Hotel Casa Fuster

Passeig de Gràcia,132
Tel.: 93 255 30 00
Opening times:
Cafè Vienès: daily from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Restaurant Galaxó: from 1.30 p.m. to 3.30 p.m. and from 8.30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

This hotel occupies the last urban house designed by the architect Domènech i Montaner, Casa Fuster (1908-1911), which was commissioned by Consol Fabra and Mariano Fuster i Fuster. It is located right at the end of Passeig de Gràcia, in the area known as “Els Jardinets”, a connection point with the old town of Gràcia. The owners wished to build themselves a new house here on the site formerly occupied by the Juncosa Chocolate Factory.

Though the new building was constructed using the Modernista language, it shows a certain reserve and a more austere approach in the ornamentation. All the decorative elements of the different openings and of the capitals offer a certain schematisation in the vegetable motifs and a show clear tendency towards straighter and more geometric lines.

On the two main facades the architect continued to use Neo-Gothic and floral elements, but on the facade giving onto Carrer Gràcia, Domènech used an exposed metal structure and austere elements in the decoration, which are closer to his earliest architectural works.

The corner is accentuated by the full-height cylindrical volume, which may recall some other works by Domènech i Montaner such as the Hospital de Sant Pau and the Casa Lleó Morera, but in this case it is used as an abstract element. For many years the building was occupied by dwellings, until it was bought by the company Enher in 1962 with the idea of demolishing it and building a new building to house its offices. Thanks to public opinion and several anonymous articles that appeared in the press, the building was saved and in 1978 rehabilitation work began to adapt it to its new use and restore the exterior.

In 2000 Hoteles Center bought the building with the intention of opening it to the city once more, in this case as a hotel, after a long and expensive rehabilitation carried out by the firm GCA, with the architects Juanpere and Riu. In the whole restoration process the original elements of the house were respected (vaults, columns and ornamentation) and in fact the decoration work enhances and gives new value to the spaces of the building. Thanks to this great effort it has been classified as a five-star monumental luxury hotel.

On the ground floor is the entrance hall with the hotel reception and the Cafè Vienès, both of which offer free access and have a select atmosphere, in accordance with a five-star hotel. The Cafè Vienès—named after the café that was located on the same site, which was very popular in the 1940s as a place for literary gatherings and was frequented by intellectuals such as the poet Salvador Espriu—is an open space that allows one to see the columns supporting vaults painted with gold leaf. In this café, with gentle ambient music, you can enjoy a good cup of coffee or a drink in an atmosphere that is at once welcoming and sophisticated, due to the presence of Modernista motifs combined with the bold modern style of the sofas and tables that separate the spaces.

On the ground floor the hotel also offers four "Art Nouveau rooms” for meetings or presentations with a capacity of 6 to 10 persons. The largest one, the Sala Fuster, receives natural light from an inner court of the building.

The basement of the building, which formerly housed a ballroom called "El Danubio Azul", has been converted into the Domènech i Montaner Functions Room. This room is just below the Cafè Vienès and has a similar structure—an open, atmospheric space broken only by the columns that are enhanced by a floor of black mosaic arranged in a circular design. It has a capacity for 160 persons, and though it is used to serve the breakfast of the hotel guests, it can be booked for different events: weddings, cocktail parties or any other type of gathering.

Finally, the piano nobile houses the hotel's restaurant called Galaxó, a name that refers to the hill on which Mariano Fuster had a house on Majorca. It has views over Passeig de Gràcia, and the tables are arranged in three areas separated only by stone arches, which create privacy whilst maintaining the sensation of openness. An outstanding feature is the ceiling that, as a reference to the vaults of several rooms in the building, has been lined with undulating forms decorated with tin leaf. The restaurant has a capacity for 40 persons, and is open to persons who are not hotel guests if they book in advance. It offers elaborate and exquisite cutting-edge Mediterranean cuisine, with fresh, top-quality products in line with the general character of the hotel.

Gaudí Garraf
Celler Güell. Barcelona to Sitges road, km 25. Garraf
Restaurant opening times: Thursday to Saturday from 1.30 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. and from 8.30 p.m. to 11.00 p.m. Sunday from 1.30 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. Open all year round
Tel.: 93 632 01 80

The restaurant Gaudí Garraf is located in the well-known Celler Güell, a complex of buildings on which the architect Antoni Gaudí may have worked.

In 1882 Eusebi Güell commissioned Gaudí to design a hunting lodge on some land he owned in the area of the Garraf. This project never saw the light of day, but later, in 1895, a cellar was built there following a design that was probably by Gaudí in collaboration with Francesc Berenguer, to whom the building was attributed for many years.

The cellar, built in local stone, is a unique triangular building based on the Gaudinian parabolic arch. The walls act as a roof, and the building consists of two lower and three upper floors, including a private chapel. The exterior has a notably mediaeval look, although the architect’s hallmark of naturalistic elements is visible in the chimneys, as is the monogram of the Güell family on the walls.

Forming part of the same project, the gatehouse is also built in stone and brickwork, and again we find the monogram of the Güells. The main gate, in meshed ironwork, is of particular interest. On the same site there is a watchtower and alongside this a farmhouse, which are both private and closed to the public.

Since 1977 the complex of buildings has belonged to the Granada family, who bought it from the then Count Güell. The part built by Gaudí was used as a private house and the rest of the complex continued to be used to grow mushrooms, as it had been for many years. In 1994 the family turned the space into a restaurant: the two main halls, purpose-built as a mushroom farm, were converted into two rooms of the restaurant—the Granada Room and the Garraf Room—and the ground floor of the house became the Gaudí Room.
The Granada Room, which can seat up to 400 people, is on the first floor. The room is compartmented by semicircular arches that divide the space up into several aisles with arched brickwork ceilings, each containing rows of round tables. A staircase leads from this room to the lower level, which is occupied by the Garraf Room, with seating for 300. Here too the distribution is determined by pillars supporting small arches, and the decoration is more sober in style. These two rooms are used both as an à la carte restaurant and for large private celebrations, especially wedding banquets. Both also have private terraces for serving the apéritif independently. One of the two terraces—the Violin Terrace—is used in the summer to serve dinner, and affords sweeping views.

In addition to this building, with its characteristic industrial feel, just across the drive we come to the building designed by Gaudí, with a more artistic air. In the Gaudí Room, which has now been converted into a restaurant seating eighty persons, the architectural peculiarities have been conserved without adding any accessory elements. The most noteworthy features are the sharp triangular space in the interior and the shape of the windows and the main door. The upper floors are private and as such are not open to the public, although the chapel at the top of the building is always available for holding the wedding ceremony prior to the banquet.

The restaurant offers fine Mediterranean cuisine, which is only served à la carte but at reasonable prices equivalent to a weekend table d’hôte. The names of some of the dishes are references to the restaurant’s setting, such as the Gaudí salad. Also, in the Granada Room the char-grilled meats—one of the main dishes—are cooked over an open fire in full view, as a token of good faith to the customer.

Customers are given a warm welcome, as the whole establishment is run by the Granada family themselves, who aim to provide a pleasant, simple, unhurried location for gatherings in a unique architectural setting.

Pizzeria-Restaurant Viena
Joan Coromines, 8-10 (Terrassa)
Opening times: daily from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. to midnight. All year round
Disabled access. Smoking area
Tel.: 93 733 63 90

The Viena restaurant is in a Modernista building whose original purpose, when it was erected in 1908, was to serve as the headquarters of the Societat General d’Electricitat (General Electricity Company), a company set up in 1896 to produce and supply electricity. It was designed by Lluís Muncunill, Terrassa’s municipal architect at the time.

The large, brick-built edifice has two parallel rectangular bays roofed with Catalan vaults and divided into seven sections. It appears to be the first building in which the architect used the Catalan vault system, with seven highly pronounced curves forming the seven different sections.

The building’s façade on Carrer Unió features the name of the Societat General d'Electricitat displayed with broken tiles using the trencadís technique. The other façade bears the rest of the facing elements (rather austere in keeping with the building’s original function), which point to the interior structure, as they are also divided up into seven sections by the drainpipes running down the outside of the building. There are large windows at the bottom and sets of three windows on the upper floor.

From the 1950s to the 1990s, the building was used as a transformer station by FECSA, another electric company, until it was acquired by Establiments Viena, S.A., which then set about restoring it. The rehabilitation work has retained the whole of the factory’s original structure and follows the Modernista style in all the decorative elements that have had to be added, such as the lighting on the top floor.

It is interesting to note that one of the items restored during the rehabilitation process was an old coal bunker of whose existence nobody had been aware. It had once belonged to Vapor Busquets, a factory that had been on the same site since the middle of the 19th century until it was knocked down in 1907.

Following a long period while the alterations were carried out, the premises were opened to the public in July 2000, as Pizzeria-Restaurant Viena with a capacity for 279 people. Making good use of the large dimensions, the space is divided into three floors. On the ground floor, the first of the bays has tables, whereas the second bay contains the kitchen and the wood-fired oven where the pizzas are baked in full view of the clients. It is in this second bay that an upper floor has been constructed with a visible structure and open to the rest of the space below. The smoking area is on this floor.

Lastly, in the basement, there is the old coal bunker, a small, cosy space that is ideal for groups, where there is a permanent exhibition of old photographs of the building and the process of rehabilitating it. The exhibition contributes to the building’s commercial attractiveness while helping to create greater awareness of the town’s industrial heritage.

In the process of rehabilitating the building and creating new spaces within it, its Modernista origin was borne in mind and every effort was made to ensure that all the new work matched this style. This can be seen in the toilets, which have been decorated according to early 19th century taste with trencadís tilework and sinuous lighting after the Modernista style.

The restaurant specialises in home-made Catalan cuisine and Italian dishes, offering over a dozen starters, pasta dishes and pizzas (baked in the wood-fired oven) and meat and fish dishes, all prepared and cooked on the premises. The atmosphere is quite varied. Although the restaurant does not have a lunchtime set menu, the type of cooking it serves and its moderate prices mean that not only do many people go there for lunch during the week, but so too do families at weekends and parties going out for an evening meal. It can also be booked for functions of various kinds for up to 100 people.

Although it does not stage entertainment or cultural activities on a daily basis, it is one of the venues that takes part in the most important events held in the town, such as the famous Terrassa Jazz Festival.


2.- Guides to Barcelona, from 1777 to 2002:

- Guies de Barcelona, 1777 and 1861
- Guía y añalejo perpetuo de Barcelona, by Cayetano Cornet y Mas. Librería Plus Ultra. Barcelona, 1863
- Guía Gral. del Forastero. Barcelona, by J. Matas and M. Saurí. Barcelona, 1864
- Guía diamante, by García del Real. Librería de Francisco Puig. Barcelona, 1904
- Barcelona Selecta, by Giró, F. Barcelona, 1908
- Guía general de la ciudad de Barcelona, by J.M. Merino 1912
- Barcelona en la mano, 1913
- Álbum-Guía de Barcelona 1913-1914, Barcelona: Casa América
- Barcelona descrita por sus literatos, artistas y poetas. Patronato Oficial de la Unión Gremial de Barcelona, 1916
- Select Guide. Barcelona, Cataluña y Baleares, by Folch i Torres. Establecimiento gráfico Thomas, Barcelona, 1915
- La verdadera Guía de Barcelona, 1917
- Guía Merino de Barcelona, 1922
- Guía Pics de Barcelona, 1929
- Guía secreta de Barcelona, by Carandell. Al-Borak. Madrid, Barcelona, 1974
- Guía de la Barcelona Modernista. Barcelona’s Modernist Guide. Sendai Ediciones. Barcelona, 1991
- Ruta del Modernisme Guide. IMPUiQV, Ajuntament de Barcelona. Ed. Mediterrània, S.L. Barcelona, 2001 (1997)
- Lluís Domènech i Montaner Guide’s Route. IMPUiQV, Ajuntament de Barcelona. Ed. Mediterrània, S.L. Barcelona, 2000
- Puig i Cadafalch Guide’s Route. IMPUiQV, Ajuntament de Barcelona. Ed. Mediterrània, S.L. Barcelona, 2001
- Gaudí Route Guide. IMPUiQV, Ajuntament de Barcelona. Ed. Mediterrània S.L. Barcelona, 2002

2.- Press:
- Arquitectura y Construcción. July 1900. Tip. La Academia. Barcelona, 1897-1922
- Arquitectura y Construcción. August 1902. Tip. La Academia. Barcelona, 1897-1922
- Arquitectura y Construcción. January 1904. Tip. La Academia. Barcelona, 1897-1922
- Arquitectura y Construcción. 1911. Tip. La Academia. Barcelona, 1897-1922
- Cuadernos de Arquitectura, 49. 3r trimestre, 1962. Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Cataluña y Baleares, 1944-1970
- La Veu de Catalunya. “Els establiments Artistichs barcelonins”. pàgina artística. 1909
- Fontbona, F.: “Obras modernistas”. A: Destino, 2 de novembre, 1974

3.- Monographies:
- BASSEGODA, J.: Modernisme a Catalunya: arquitectura. Nou Art Thor. Barcelona, 1988
- BOHIGAS, O.: Arquitectura Modernista. Ed. Lumen. Barcelona, 1968
- BOHIGAS, O.: Reseña y catálogo de la arquitectura modernista. Barcelona, 1973
- BOTEY, J.M.: Interiors de Barcelona. Ed. Destino, 1992
- CABALLÉ, T.: Los viejos cafés de Barcelona. 2 vols. Ed. Albon. Barcelona, 1946
- CIRICI, A.: El arte modernista catalán. Editorial Aymà. Barcelona, 1951
- CIRICI, A.: Botigues de Barcelona. Ed. Lumen Barcelona, 1979
- ESPINÀS, J. M.: Quinze anys de cafès de Barcelona. Dopesa. Barcelona, 1973
- FAVÀ, Maria: Guapos per sempre, Botigues i locals de Barcelona. IMPUQV, Ajuntament de Barcelona / Ed. Pòrtic. Barcelona, 2003
- FABRE, J.: HUERTAS, J.M.: Noticiari de Barcelona. Ed. La Campana
- FONTBONA, F.: MIRALLES, F.: “Del Modernisme al Noucentisme” in: Història de l’art català. Vol. II. Edicions 62. Barcelona, 1985
- FREIXA, M.: El Modernisme a Catalunya. Ed. Barcanova. Barcelona, 1991
- GARCIA MARTIN, M.: Els portals modernistes. Catalana de Gas. Barcelona, 1979
- GARCIA MARTÍN, M.: La Fonda España. Catalana de Gas. Barcelona, 1991
- GASCH, S.: Barcelona de Nit: el món de l’espectacle. Parsifal. Barcelona, 1997
- GONZÁLEZ, A; LACUESTA, R.: Arquitectura modernista en Catalunya. Barcelona, 1990
- Història Gràfica de Catalunya dia a dia. Edicions 62. Barcelona, 1978
- MAINAR, J.: Les arts decoratives in: Art Català. Ed. Aymà. Barcelona, 1955
- MAINAR, J.: Dels bells oficis al disseny actual. FAD 80 anys. Ed. Blume. Barcelona, 1984
- MARFANY, J.L. (et al.): “El Modernisme: 1890–1906” in: Història de la Cultura Catalana, Vol. 6. Edicions 62. Barcelona, 1996
- PERMANYER, Ll.: Un passeig per la Barcelona modernista. IMPUQV, Ajuntament de Barcelona / Edicions Polígrafa. Barcelona, 1998
- PERMANYER; L.: Establiments i negocis que han fet història. Edicions La Campana
- PERMANYER, L.: Buidat de premsa 1989-92
- PERMANYER; L: Barcelona modernista. Edicions Polígrafa. Barcelona, 1993
- RÀFOLS, J.F.: Modernisme i Modernistes. Ed. Destino. Barcelona, 1949
- REGÀS I ARDÈVOL, Miquel: Una generació d'hotelers. Barcelona, 1952
- SALA, T: “Interiors d'artistes modernistes” in: Actes del Congrés Internacional Història de Catalunya i la Restauració. Manresa, May 1992
- VILLAR, Paco: Historia y leyenda del Barrio Chino (1900-1992) Ed. La Campana. Barcelona, 1996

4.- Yearbooks:
- Anuario de la Asociación de Arquitectos de Catalunya 1901
- Anuario de la Asociación de Arquitectos de Catalunya 1903
- Anuario de la Asociación de Arquitectos de Catalunya 1905
- Anuario de la Asociación de Arquitectos de Catalunya 1907
- Anuario de la Asociación de Arquitectos de Catalunya 1911
- Anuario estadístico de Barcelona 1901
- Anuario estadístico de Barcelona 1903
- Anuario estadístico de Barcelona 1904