Address: C/ de Deu I Mata, 1
Metro: Les Corts or Maria Cristina (L3)
One of the classic nightspots in Barcelona, Bikini usually operates with two separate halls, one playing dance music, the other catering more for the Latin crowd, but the partition can be removed to create one immense space as well. It’s been around since 1953, but was completely refurbished about 15 years ago, and can now boast one of the best sound systems in the city and fantastic acoustics – and is also renowned for its excellent atmosphere (bouncers excluded), generally thirty-somethings and not as ‘pijo’ as most similar venues in the city.
As far its status as a concert venue is concerned, the only downside is the limited capacity, because otherwise it would be absolutely perfect. Instead, it can get pretty cramped even when only half sold out. It’s also a standing room only venue, which can of course be a good or a bad thing depending on the kind of music you’re listening to. Kids be careful though – they’re very strict about the over 16 thing. Which most of us would also agree is a good thing. All those wee muckers wishing they were older will soon be wishing a whole lot harder that they could give up a year of free tickets for the Bikini just to be too young to be able to use any of them again.
Due to the limited size, this is generally a venue for lesser acts, but the Bikini is used by some international artists that would be more used to larger venues but are not particularly well known in Spain, and also several blasts from the past. Acts that have graced its stage, sometimes before going on to bigger things, have included Adele, Arrested Development, Asia, Billy Bragg, Black Eyed Peas, Boyzone, Camouflage, Catatonia, Christopher Cross, Cornershop, Dandy Warhols, De La Soul, De Vision, Echo & the Bunnymen, Echobelly, Estopa, Evanescence, Feeder, Fool’s Garden, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, Green Day, Guano Apes, Hombre G, Ian Hunter, Jackson Browne, Jarabe de Palo, Jeff Beck, Joe Strummer, John Cale, La Oreja de Van Gogh, Levellers, Lisa Stansfield, Lloyd Cole, Los Lobos, Manic Street Preachers, Marillion, Marilyn Manson, Marianne Faithful, Maroon 5, Muse, Paul Carrack, Presidents of the USA, The Pretenders, Psychedelic Furs, Quiet Riot, Ritchie Blackmore, Roxette, Shakira, Skid Row, Stereophonics, Sugababes, Super Furry Animals, Supergrass, Suzanne Vega, Terrence Trent D’Arby, Texas, Thin Lizzy, Travis, The Undertones and Wet Wet Wet.
Bikini doesn’t have any particularly handy metro stops. On the green L3 it’s more or less equidistant from any of Maria Cristina, Les Corts, Plaça del Centre or Sants Estacio, and on the blue L5, you could also walk there from Entença or Hospital Clinic. None of the walks are particularly scenic.
You could always go for the taxi option. Any taxi driver should know where Bikini is, and if he (or she) doesn’t, then tell them they’re bloody hopeless and should think about a change of career. A taxi driver that doesn’t know where Bikini is is a crap taxi driver. If the driver decides to take a roundabout route and it ends up costing you a lot more than it should you have two options. The first is to shrug your shoulders and accept that shit happens. The other is to do a runner. But fear not. Taxi drivers in Barcelona don’t usually pull that cheap trick – as long as you can speak their lingo. If you can’t, that’s your problem.