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Spirit of the night

As the sun sets, Barcelona comes alive. Explore from dusk ‘til dawn to encounter the places and people at their brightest during the city’s darkest hours

5PM There is a correct way to drink absinthe, and it has a certain sense of theatre. On a quiet afternoon at Barcelona’s Bar Marsella the landlord José Lamiel Vallvé is demonstrating the time-honoured tradition. For this he requires: one glass of neat absinthe, a short silver fork, a pair of sugar cubes and a plastic bottle of water with – and this is the important part – a pin prick in the lid of the bottle. First, José balances the fork on the top of the glass of absinthe and places the sugar cubes into the cradle. Then, taking the water bottle, he squeezes a narrow jet very slowly over the sugar cubes. Keeping my eyes on the yellowy-green liquid, I see the magic start to happen. Ghostly tendrils appear, filling the glass until the liquid has become a misty emulsion. This is known, appropriately, as the ‘louche effect’.

The window display in Marseille-inspired Bar Pastís includes a leggy bar stool. Right: A gin and tonic at 1881 per Sagardi
A bartender pours sparkling rosé wine to customers at La Xampanyeria
The bar at Jamboree jazz club is dominated by a giant disco ball.
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About Lonely Planet Traveller (UK)

In the August issue… get to know Napoleon's ruggedly beautiful home island on a Great Escape to Corsica; explore Barcelona's night-time culture with a tapas-fuelled and absinthe-boosted tour that begins at sunset; discover more original travel experiences around the Mediterranean, from Albania to Xaghra; sail the Norfolk Broads in a century-old, restored wherry yacht; and much more