What to expect at Barcelona Wine Bar, a Spanish-inspired tapas bar coming to South End

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Barcelona Wine Bar, a popular Spanish tapas and wine bar with a chic European vibe, will open in South End’s Design Center later this year. Here’s what you need to know.

As an Atlanta native and a resident of the Midtown Atlanta neighborhood, I frequently dine and drink at Barcelona Wine Bar in Inman Park.

Barcelona combines rustic, classic Spanish and Mediterranean flavors with other influences from North Africa and Southern France, and the result is a delicious array of tapas, dried savory meat and Spanish cheeses that pair perfectly with the wide selection of wine from Barcelona’s expansive menu.

During the day, Barcelona is bright and chic with a covered patio like a European café — the perfect place to take a wine and tapas break from a Beltline walk. It is also dog-friendly, which is perfect for this walkable neighborhood.

By contrast, at night, Barcelona is softly lit with a romantic restaurant setting on one side and a packed, popular U-shaped bar on the other.

Here are 9 more things to know about Barcelona.

Atlanta has two Barcelona locations – one on the east side in Inman Park and on the west side in West Midtown. 

(1) Have your meat sliced straight from the pig’s leg

Barcelona has an open kitchen where you can watch the chef at work, and, if you’re lucky, you may catch a jamón slicing.

Like many restaurants in Spain, Barcelona serves meat right off the leg.

The specific leg offered at Barcelona comes from free-range pigs that feed on an all vegetarian diet. The “Jamon Mangalica” meat has more fat marbling than other dried jamón, and it has a nuttier flavor profile largely due to its diet.


(2) Choose from over 400 bottles of wine

Barcelona’s wine menu is exceptionally broad and composed of roughly 60% Spanish wines along with South American wines, especially from Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay, plus many from the U.S. and other areas of Europe.

The price points range from a very high-end $700-$800 tier to more accessible bottles in $20-30 range. Servers are extremely wine savvy and can point you in the right direction.


(3) Mix and match to make your perfect cheese and meat board

Barcelona offers a Charcuterie + Cheese board that you can customize with your own specific selection of meats and cheeses sourced from Spain, Italy, and other nearby European countries.

 

The cheese list includes a lot of sheep and goat selections, including the “Romao” sheep’s milk cheese, which comes from a wheel rubbed with rosemary so the cheese is fragrant with a nutty, herbal flavor. This cheese is actually aged in Cuenca caves for 8 months and has a harder texture and a sharper taste similar to familiar Parmesan cheese.

Drunken goat cheese has a purple rind because it’s been soaked in wine for three days. The legend behind the drunken cheese is that a farmer accidentally dropped a wheel of cheese in a barrel of wine and upon discovering it three days later, decided that the wine had improved the taste.


(4) Barcelona’s paella is as crispy and delicious as it is Instagrammable

Paella, one of Barcelona’s most popular dishes, is made to order from scratch for 1-3 people and is perfect for sharing after tapas.

Most Barcelona locations offer seafood or vegetarian options, and some also offer a meat option. The paella is beautifully presented in a skillet and brought to the table still piping hot.

The top layer is soft and teeming with either seafood or veggies, while the bottom layer is a crispy, delicious crust.

The “Mariscos” seafood paella features a lobster stock with saffron seasoning, and it includes prawns, calamari, mussels and clams. It is truly the piece de resistance (or plato principal in Spanish) of a meal at Barcelona.

Mariscos Paella


(5) They put truffles on their steak

Not only is the “Hangar Steak” at Barcelona tender and juicy, this medium-rare “butchers cut” steak is also topped with an aromatic, exquisitely flavorful truffle vinaigrette. The sauce is made of black truffle peelings, shallots, white truffle oil and Dijon mustard, and it as a powerful scent that you can smell before the dish arrives at the table.

Hangar Steak


(6) Mingle and be single at the bar, hang out with friends on the patio or enjoy dinner with the whole family in the restaurant

The layout and design of every Barcelona is meant to fit in with the character of the surrounding neighborhood.

The Inman Park location has a popular bar for the Saturday night crowd, romantic small tables for date night, wide banquettes for the whole family and a casual patio perfect for brunch or happy hour.


(7) They put an interesting spin on the classic meatball.

The “Albondigas” meatballs includes five small balls made of spiced pork, beef, and veal for a juicy, rich bite.

The sauce is made of a thick tomato base blended with boquerones (anchovies) and garlic, which adds a nice salty, zesty kick without tasting fishy.

Albondigas


(8) Barcelona’s garlicky shrimp are so good, you won’t want to share.

The “Gambas al Ajillo” features shrimp cooked in a garlicky olive oil with Guindilla pepper for hint of heat. These tail-on shrimp are buttery, perfectly cooked bites that you will not want to share.

Gambas al Ajillo


(9) Their late-night bar scene is hopping, and their cocktails will make you think you’re in Spain.

Barcelona’s bar is a popular destination for a night out on the town, and, in addition to the wine menu, the bar offers several custom Barcelona cocktails.

The signature “Barcelona Gintonic” features dry gin, orange and lemon, and a healthy sprig of rosemary served Spanish style in a wine glass.

Another drink worth sipping is the “Bourbon Spice Rack,” which includes JR Ewing bourbon, maple syrup, cardamom and lavender bitters and a huge ice cube.

Hope that helps. Get excited for Barcelona’s upcoming arrival in Charlotte.

Header photo via Facebook

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Olivia Arnold
Olivia Arnold is based in Atlanta and works in marketing, though this Harvard grad's real passion is her food Insta-blog @Foodistagirl