Address: Alegre de Dalt, 55
Metro: Joanic (L4)
Opened in 1984, the KGB was one of the places at the heart and soul of Barcelona’s response to the ‘movida mdrileña’ of that decade, and was a veritable haven for live music, in the year 2000 winning award for having over 300 concerts in a single year, more than anywhere else in Spain.
Not that it’s a wonderful place for live gigs. It’s small, and the columns and other structural elements make it a nightmare for trying to get a decent view of the stage. But it’s ‘underground’, and somewhat unkempt feel, and the thrill of successfully going to the toilet without slipping and breaking your ankle on the stairs made it one of the most special venues in city. Being in the ‘bohemian’ district of Gracia, it was always a place to get away from the ‘pijos’, a place where you could dress as you liked and it didn’t matter if your only mode of transport was a metro T10.
All this has been changing of late. The locals started complaining about the noise and disturbances, and a drug raid in 2010 didn’t help with its struggling image. The KGB’s response was to promise that they’d change the style of music and ensure that it started attracting ‘decent’ folk instead. This has naturally served to alienate the regulars (which was presumably the idea) but Barcelona doesn’t really need any more techno clubs, and KGB is hardly in the place one is needed, and no matter how alternative that techno might be, it looks like after a quarter of a century as one of the city’s most popular ‘offbeat’ venues, the KGB is going to be on far fewer radars.
The KGB is located in the district called Gracia, which almost like a separate town in the middle of Barcelona, with a generally bohemian atmosphere, where most of the bars look half-built as they offer the rugged kind of alternative charm that drives people into the district. People that hang out in Gracia would probably never dream of hanging out anywhere else. It’s a bit like the Rambla but without the tourists, the bag snatchers, the kerb crawlers and the side streets that double as urinals.
If going to the KGB, we’d recommend you first have a drink or two in one of the many squares in Gracia, Plaça del Sol is always a good bet, and then make your way there later. But if going directly, then Joanic is the best metro stop, on yellow L4. From there, go straight up Pi I Maragall, and swing into the first left, Alegre de Dalt, and you’ll find yourself at the door to the KGB in no time.