Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Sounder: A Café to Love

Early in July, Bar Velódromo (c/ Muntaner 213, Eixample)--in its essence, a café/bar--opened in Barcelona. You could tell by the sheer volume of pre-opening buzz that this was not just any café/bar. Columnists whose regular beats were politics and scandal began writing about the Velódromo, the good old days and the fun on the horizon.

In fact, the Velódromo, a venerable part of Barcelona's history, once home to artists and revolutionaries, did not as much open as re-open. After the retirement of its last owner in 2000, the Velódromo, which first came onto the Barcelona scene in 1933, closed. It was shortly purchased by the Moritz brewery, whose mark can also be seen on Albert Adria's Inopia Bar. Moritz, in collaboration with Carles Abellán, who heads up the delectable Comerç24 and Tapaç24, undertook renovations that, to the dismay of neighbourhood residents, lasted for some six years and only this year began to see their end. The result seems to have been worth it, however, as the renos have added even more luster to the legendary Barcelona establishment.

The new and improved Velódromo is indeed terrific. It is open 365 days a year. It serves up a good cup of tea, which can be tough to get in Barcelona. The eggs are available all day and at the right consistency: that is to say, somewhat runny. And, there's a great selection of Catalan comfort food, which I haven't yet tried because they don't start serving the more substantial dishes until 1pm and we haven't yet seen a dinner hour at the Velódromo where the wait wasn't an hour or more for a table. But this is a small quibble and I'm hoping that things will change when they open the upstairs dining room. [To read about lunch at the Velódromo, see El Velódromo Revisited.]

It's also worth mentioning that the Velódromo is currently virtually tourist-free (if you like that sort of thing) as it has yet to be featured in the latest guides. To read more about it in the Sounder, click here: A Café to Love.

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