Paradiso – Paradise behind a fridge
A mild climate, a breathtaking architecture, long beaches and the cheap flight prices currently lure to Barcelona. A city with lots of small, intimate and some worldwide recognised cocktail bars. Behind the bars you will find experienced bartenders with international backgrounds, paired with the traditional Spanish hospitality. My first visit of this bar adventure was at the Paradiso Bar. A double Speakeasy concept, elegant and delicate drinks and sumptuous pastrami sandwiches. Visiting this bar is a very special journey, and it starts in a pastrami shop right in front of a large refrigerator.
It reminds me a bit of the story of Alice in Wonderland. Alice entered another world through the entrance of the rabbit hole. In this case, you enter the bar through a fridge. Behind it, you are warmly welcome with a friendly smile. The lighting is not too dark and not too bright. The ears are well treated with the electronical background music. The wood paneling and the organic shape of the bar give a very cozy feeling. There is also a seating area with comfy chairs at the end of the room. I would estimate, that there is room for a hundred guests.
A water service is right there when you find your seat at the bar, as well as the menu. A simple black cover outside. Inside, a very tasteful illustration of colourful drawings of birds of Paradise. The drinks are characterised according to their strength and vessels. The small descriptions reflect perfectly the taste. The presentation is the key, beautiful garnish and the great attention to detail creates anticipation. The Salvador Dali Manhattan is served classical. An extra portion is served in a little decanter on ice. Back to the Future includes an ice cube, which refills the drink as if by magic. Le Peruvien, a Frenchified twist on a Pisco Sour, comes in a glassy bird. Every drink has its own distinctive element, and a decision is not easy. The drinks are all very well balanced. My last drink was a Negroni, aged in a leather bag, interesting.
Watching the guys while preparing the drinks is quite spectacular. Despite the elaborate techniques, such as throwing, smoking and decorating, it does not take long. The maximum of six minutes per drink should generally not be exceeded, but the staff consists of experienced bartenders. All have an international background and have worked in prestigious bars in the USA, New Zealand, Australia and London. The lush presentation reminds of the Londons Oriole and Nightjar. The lovely floral embroidered aprons and the unagitated way of hospitality support the relaxed atmosphere. Due to this fact, an evening at Paradiso can also take longer. The sumptuous pastrami sandwiches provide a good basis.
“The eyes drink first. The artfulness of the beautifully executed cocktails excites before they even run down your palate.”
In the beginning I mentioned a double speakeasy concept. A second hidden bar is within this hidden place, as well which is open on Fridays and Saturdays and can be privately booked. The entrance can only be found on demand. The bartender showed me this secret tiny place with only a few seats. I followed him, the flickering red light splitted the scene into a succession of images showing fragmentary sequences of movements: Opening the soap dispenser, entering a code, the wall with the sink opened. I found myself in a small room clad with shiny copper panels. Ask for the secret Macallan bar.