This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
The 2022 list of the "World's 50 Best Bars" recently dropped, and much to my surprise, I happened to visit the No. 1 spot this summer on a whim… and ended up absolutely hating it.
The World's 50 Best Bars is an annual list established in 2009, and this year's list features some pretty cool-looking spots to grab a drink.
However, looks can be deceiving because the world's best bar, according to the list, is Paradiso in Barcelona. And if you ask me, it was subpar at best.
I had just flown into Barcelona from Toronto and reunited with my long-distance best friend on the day I visited the bar, so you can imagine our excitement about spending our first night out grabbing drinks.
While roaming the streets of the gothic quarters of Barcelona, my friend and I came across what looked like a pastrami shop from the outside with a long line outside.
After chatting with some locals outside, we realized it was actually a speakeasy bar. Once you enter the pastrami door, behind a fridge door is a swanky, stunning-looking Barcelona cocktail bar.
We quickly jumped into the queue, and within 15 minutes, we entered the eccentric bar decorated with forest leaf wallpaper and a carved wooden bar and roof.
Don't get me wrong; the interior was exciting, but it was definitely a lot.
I won't say the experience was underwhelming because, in fact, it was the complete opposite. Being quite overwhelming, that's one of the reasons I didn't enjoy it.
The only thing more overwhelming than the bar's interior was the drinks, and I mean both the flavour and presentation.
I ordered the drink called "Coral," and it literally looks like its name. The drink is served in a coral-shaped vessel and garnished with several herbs and crystal-looking ingredients. I honestly couldn't tell you what they were.
The drink itself uses a base of Principe de los Apostoles gin with ingredients including mint, coconut, passionfruit wine, jasmine liquor and green tea soda. It's a lot.
My taste buds couldn't figure out what they were experiencing because there was so much going on in terms of flavours.
Did I taste the coconut? No. Did I taste the mint? No. Did I taste the passion fruit wine? Again, No.
So would I order it again? Probably not. Was it worth the almost 20 Euro price tag? Definitely not.
My friend ordered a tequila-based drink called "Aurora," and you could say her experience was pretty much synonymous with mine, except her drink was served in a crystal-shaped glass lit up on a volcanic rock.
That may sound all cool, but in person it was just "meh."
To top it all off, even the menu found a way to be extra. It was the size of my torso and when I opened it up — surprise! — it lit up and I let out a little scream.
According to The World's 50 Best Bars, Paradiso's theme changes every year, and this year it's "Evolution of Humankind."
To be quite frank, I'm not sure what a coral and a crystal have to do with human evolution.
The whole experience felt like a fever dream, and we were actually relieved to step out of the bar and back out onto the streets of Barcelona.
Is it worth checking out? I would say for a one-time experience as a tourist, go for it. But be warned; our bills came out to a whopping $50 for two drinks and a not-so-good time.
There are plenty of great places to enjoy the nightlife in Barcelona, and we had some spectacular drinks during some awesome nights out while there.
Paradiso, unfortunately, just wasn't our favourite.