It’s a small dancehall with only a few instruments in it, some people stand and hock bottles as if they were mace, some girls sit and read comic books, there is one DJ, an opening act and the occasional bouncer looking for a drink. It is a place where one can drink to one’s heart’s content and feel the heat without going out on a Friday night in search of some weed.
“Barcelona is a strange place, because you don’t know where to go, you don’t know what to do. Sometimes you’ll find the place that seems like it’s a joke, but not at all. It’s just there, and it’s the first time you’ve ever been into a bar. I remember the first time I went, it was at La Diferentia’s (a bar near the Plaza de Catalunya) and it was the biggest bar in town. Everyone was standing up, they had a little sign up saying ‘Barcelona Bar, Bar. Bar. Bar. Bar.’ It felt like there was some secret place where nobody would ever go.”
Cristina Tovar is now an entrepreneur, and it is obvious that Barcelona has had a significant impact on her life. She has built a reputation as a talented DJ and the daughter of Colombian bar owners and her brother is one of the best-known DJs to come out of the city.
“When I was growing up in Barceloneta, there were always barrios and bars, and they were everywhere. In the barrios of Barcelona, there were clubs, and everybody had to have money to spend. In my town, everyone had a house to live in while they were getting their education, but everyone was still in their house at night. Then everyone got a job working in some barrios, and now Barceloneta is like Los Angeles — it is a metropolis.”
Tovar and her friends now travel to Barcelona every summer to hang out and dance at festivals such as Viva Las Barrios. They are part of a club culture that has been in the works for more than a decade. They have also made the most of the city’s recent economic boom.
“I remember walking along Catalunya [a major street in Barcelona], like a child. It was a beautiful day and I had just gotten here. It was like, ‘You need to get a tan!’ I was a pretty normal kid that thought I was
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