25 Apr Home Comforts for Brits in Barcelona
There are many things Brits in Barcelona might find unsettling. Perhaps the most obvious of these is the temperature (which can reach the mid thirties), or the linguistic difficulty: even if you can remember some GCSE Spanish, you’ll likely be out of your depth when it comes to Catalan. Of course, you came here to experience the city and all it has to offer because you’re a cultured, independent, and curious individual looking to explore a new place and way of life.
But, at some point, you’re going to have a day when all you want is for it to be too cold and wet for you to do anything but stay inside with a cup of tea. Unfortunately for you, Barcelona doesn’t really offer that. But it does have…
British and Irish Pubs
Pubs are key to many aspects of British life, even with the sad decline of their numbers throughout the country. While the people of Barcelona get most of their drinking done in bars, there are a few places that will make you feel right at home.
Of particular note are The Philharmonic and Flaherty’s Irish Pub. Both serve Sunday roasts and you will surely be excited by the excesses of potatoes and gravy on offer (if desired). They also have an impressive range of beers – the Philharmonic stocks local favourites such as Newcastle Brown Ale and Punk IPA, and Flaherty’s has 13 beers on tap with a great variety of craft ales. All of this, combined with the fact that they both regularly show British football league matches, makes them a great day out for the homesick!
A Taste of Home
This one really is a saviour for Brits missing home. The food in Barcelona is undeniably great, both the plethora of tapas bars and the restaurants of varying cuisines, but there are some things that just can’t be replaced. Things like Marmite. Twinings tea. Colman’s mustard. Cheddar.
These things are staples of British food culture – probably all found in a majority of British homes – and they are all available (as well as many other classics) at A Taste of Home, Barcelona’s British supermarket.
The “VO” here stand for ‘Versión original’ – meaning that the films are shown in their original language, most often English. The cinemas are of varying size, the biggest being the Yelmo Icaria with 15 screens, but between them they show a large variety of films: many of the smaller ones tend to focus on arthouse films, while Yelmo Icaria is more likely to show a blockbuster.
It’s also worth noting that on Monday many of the cinemas offer half-price tickets! Check their websites for details.
Whether this is going to be the comforting reminder of home you’re looking for, or your idea of hell on earth, is really your decision. However, they’re certainly a great way to meet new people! There are quite a few meetups of different sorts around Barcelona – some involving a shared interest, others simply acknowledging that many people don’t know any other English-speakers in Barcelona. If you’re looking for new experiences and friendships in a large and diverse city, this is definitely an option to consider.
Back to the subject of food! Given the worldwide perception of British cuisine – that being, in case you were unaware, that it is rubbish – it might seem odd that it has featured so heavily on this list. But, I would argue, the “rubbish”-ness is kind of the point: traditional British dishes value quantity over finesse, and brunch is the meal that exemplifies this attitude.
Somewhat bizarrely, Barcelona has an enormous range of excellent brunch restaurants (even earning an entire website dedicated solely to them), so I can’t pin it down to just a few – you’ll have to explore them yourself!
So, to conclude, there isn’t all that much you can do to make you feel totally at home here because, realistically, you aren’t. But, if it all gets too much, at least you know you can settle down with a pot of marmite and a mug of tea and wait for all of this to blow over.