As much as I hate falling into the trap of touristy packages that force you to stand in line for an hour to take the same exact picture as everyone else; this, was not one of those times. This was by far one of the best experiences I’ve ever had to pay for, and I would do it over again in a heartbeat. When you picture Spain, or Barcelona specifically, traditional Flamenco dancing comes to mind… along with tapas and sangria. This night captured that entire experience in the most authentic way.
My one friend, Christian, had already done this a few years earlier when he was in Barcelona so he called ahead for us to book our spots. With little information relayed to the 7 of us, we were told to head down a few alleys and meet up with the rest of the group at the Travel Bar. Right away, we were met with smiles by an ex-pat proprietor of the bar who insisted we have a few beers while we waited. Granted, we showed up only a few minutes before we were expecting to leave; nevertheless, we ordered a round. Halfway finished the beer, another ex-pat walked in the bar and introduced herself as our “tour guide”. From the bar, the group headed back down some alleys to the crowded Plaça Reial where we passed by an ornate fountain on our way to Jamboree Jazz & Dance Club for a Flamenco dancing show.
Outside the club was a line, standing about 20+ people, which we proceeded to cut all the way to the front with no issue. Apparently our prepaid-package allowed us to do this. Worth-it. Inside was this swanky, speakeasy-like joint, that was dimly lit and hosted seating for only about 20 guests. The rest, I assumed, would have to stand near the bar. We made our way to the back where there was a long, stone bench against the wall that was completely covered in ceramic pieces, similar to the one in Park Güell. We immediately headed up to the bar and got our fill of sangria pitchers, just in time for the flamenco to begin.
No words could describe the passion these performers had for their craft. There were two dancers that came out separately some songs and also together for one. The woman was dressed in flowing, full-length gowns, while the man came out in a tight, black, Spanish-style formal attire. The two danced with so much fuerza in each movement, expressing all their emotions to ever beat. They were accompanied by 4 musicians playing acoustically in the background. The experience was unlike anything I’ve seen before. Even though the words of the songs were in another language, and the style of dance was completely new to me, I was completely captured at the moment. This also might have had something to do with the few glasses of sangria I had been drinking.
As the performers took their final bows, and the lights returned from the ceiling, we were greeted by our “guide” again outside. She then proceeded to take us to the last part of the night’s events, endless tapas & sangria. Fittingly, the alleyways took us out onto the main strip, by the water, to a restaurant called Tapas Bar. Inside was completely empty and the group was told to sit wherever. Our table filled up with our seven dudes, along with two girls we found out were from Denmark. After the ice was broken, the night was filled with reciprocal conversations of strange cultural differences between us. This was possible, due to the fact they spoke impeccable English from watching American television programs like Friends and The Big Bang Theory. But the night was highlighted by endless rounds of tapas that ranged from platters of cheese, trays of meat, and of course, a fantastic bartender who never let our jug of sangria fall empty.
In most big cities (in any country), a night like this would run you about $100, and I would have to agree that the price would be worth it. But that is not even close to the cost of this actual experience. More you’d guess? Nope. This whole night would only cost you 28Euros per person. Needless to say, this was an epic show, capped off with an incredible dinner, and even better stories. So if you find yourself in Barcelona, I highly recommend taking the time to do it.
Below is the information for this whole experience:
Reservations can be made here: http://www.barcelona-life.com/play/entertainment_details/213-flamenco_&_tapas
Travel Bar: Carrer de la Boqueria, 27, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Jamboree Jazz & Dance Club: Plaça Reial, 17, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Tapas Bar: Carrer de la Plata, 7, 08002 Barcelona, Spain