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The Secret Terrace of Antic Teatre

In the narrow streets of El Born, just a stone’s throw away from the famous Palau de la Música Catalana, hides the Antic Teatre. A fairly secret address known only to the locals, where people like to go in good weather to meet up. At the same time, it is also an important cultural meeting place for theater lovers, because as the name suggests, Antic Teatre is also simply a theater. Curious about the Antic Teatre and what lies behind its doors, read on.

An Independent Theater Stage

For years, Antic Teatre has been the meeting place of Barcelona’s underground scene. Here, emerging artists get the chance to express themselves on the stage of Antic Teatre and give their performances.

The 17th-century neo-classical house that houses Antic Teatre was, since 1951, the address of the cultural center “Círculo Barcelonés de Obreros San José“. A community center where workers could go to develop themselves but also to enjoy one of the many parties and events, such as the theater performances held there. A plaque on the outside reminds us of this.

After the Civil War and until the end of the 1970s, Antic Teatre was the place for many colorful theater and cabaret performances, which immediately changed content if one of Franco’s inspectors came by. Antic Teatre also served as the meeting room for many other groups and associations.

That changed in the ’80s and ’90s, when the activities of the Círculo diminished, and all other social activities virtually disappeared.

The hidden entrance of Antic Teatre
The hidden entrance of Antic Teatre

Fortunately, Antic Teatre was rediscovered in 2003 by independent artist Semolinika Tomic and her friends. They were looking for a place to hold their performances when they stumbled upon this hidden gem and decided to reopen the doors of Antic Teatre.

Antic Teatre transformed from an abandoned community center to a vibrant stage for contemporary art: a new place for Barcelona’s alternative social and artistic activities was born.

After the necessary renovations, the new theater hall of Antic Teatre opened to the public in 2013. A place where more than 200 artists come by each year; that’s 60 different spectacles per year besides the regular events. And even though its theater hall is smaller than average, that is precisely one of the many charms of Antic Teatre.

Tip: Antic Teatre holds two open days a year (on April 23 to celebrate its anniversary and October 31 to celebrate Castanyada). Everyone is then welcome.

Cooling off under the Fig Tree

Although Antic Teatre regularly offers interesting performances by independent and emerging artists, the courtyard and bar remain the biggest attraction and the reason why many people go there.

The outdoor terrace is an extraordinary place to relax and chat with your friends while enjoying a drink (in the case of the Spaniards, una cerveza).

After climbing a few stairs, you come to this oasis of peace, far from the tourist crowds who are photographing the Palau de la Música Catalana around the corner. They actually don’t know what they’re missing.

Between the galleries and buildings, under an ancient fig tree, you’ll find this beautiful terrace, with several seats that fill up in the evening. It’s a quiet place, with a terrace and garden, where the locals themselves like to be to relax and meet each other. An atmospheric green spot that is also one of the last architectural examples of Romanticism in Barcelona.

And although the conditions may seem somewhat Spartan, the relaxing atmosphere here is always top-notch. A bit bohemian, but so cozy. No wonder locals like to meet here!

The hidden terrace of Antic Teatre
The hidden terrace of Antic Teatre

Antic Teatre is at its best on a balmy summer evening. But you can also go there during the day, for example, to work (they have free wi-fi) or to take a break between all the sightseeing in the old center of Barcelona. A highly recommended place, in my opinion!

Practical Information

  • What: Visit Antic Teatre
  • Where: Carrer Verdaguer i Callís 12
  • Metro: Urquinaona (L1 and L4) and Catalunya (L1, L3, L6, and L7)
  • When: Monday to Thursday from 10:00 to 23:30, Friday from 10:00 to 24:00, Saturday from 17:00 to 24:00, and Sunday from 17:00 to 23:30
  • Price: average ticket prices for performances are €12 per person (€10 if you buy tickets online). The bar itself also has very friendly prices.

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Hello! My name is Marta, and I am a born and raised Barcelonian. I love introducing people to Barcelona, especially the Barcelona known to locals. In Barcelona, I am always looking for fun places and tips that I can then share with you, with the goal of helping you experience Barcelona like a local.

Marta Rubio

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