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GSMA Mobile World Conference: Tech Tips on How to Eat and Drink Well in Barcelona

World Mobile ConferenceNext week, Barcelona will be inundated with a digital waterfall of techies attending the largest mobile conference in the world. The GSMA Mobile World Conference attracts some 60,000 mobile players including mobile phone and tablet manufacturers, telecom operators, trade associations, service providers, app developers and amateurs developers who are keen to discover the next “must have” device for 2013. The #MWC13 is no small event, but despite the deluge of new tech prognostications hitting the interwebs, we’re rather skeptical that our tech friends will take the time to look up from their mobile units to ensure a delicious meal. That’s where we come in. Being that Catavino prides itself on its latest gadgetry, in hopes of taking that next 1 million dollar wine barrel Instagram photo, we’re happy to lend a hand to those in need. Then again, we’re generally happy to help anyone avoid shitty Croquetas and gut-rot wine. So here you go, our guide for the “mobile geek” on how to get the most out of BCN in the coming days.

Wine to relax with

Barcelona is saturated with wine bars, but just because a bar has wine, does not make it good. Our suggestion, if the bar has their menu (drinks or food) displayed on a plastic sandwich board, run. If it’s located anywhere near a souvenir shop, send an #sos and run, hard. What you need is a place that’s respected, quality driven and caters to the international crowd, allowing your nightmares to subside that your team will have to rely on your high school Spanglish.

  • La Vinateria del Call (Barrio: El Gotico): Set in a quaint dark wood cavern, enjoy authentic Catalan food alongside a killer wine list. Sorry no mobile signals here, so you can put away your new 4G headset and try out that old 1.0 communications device – I think they call it F2F.
  • La Vinya del Senyor (Barrio: El Born): Aptly named, “The Lord’s Vineyard,” this stellar wine bar provides an enormous list of Spanish wines that changes weekly. International wines are also available, but hey, while in Spain, drink Spanish. The added bonus being that checking in on Foursquare will put you next to the city’s shortest street, Carrer de l’Anisadeta, a mere 2 meters long. Speaking of, there better be a badge for that!
  • Monovinic (El Example): If you’re looking for the perfect fusion of tech and wine, look no further than Monvinic. Every day, the Monvínic team opens a selection of some thirty wines from the four corners of the world, which can be enjoyed by the glass or half glass, and chosen via tablet. If this were a cell phone, it would only exist in your dreams.
  • Bar Zim (Barrio: El Gotico): Now we can’t promise you that more than 3 of you can fit in this tiny little bar, but if you’re looking for an incredibly small place wehre you can discuss the next big app, then this is it. Great wines + good tapas = winning.

Real Beer – Worth Drinking

Beer BarcelonaThe beer revolution has arrived in Barcelona! Over the past few years, real beer – not the scary beer that tastes like colored water – has hit Barcelona with force, which has led to a hop drenched explosion of choices. Ranging from dive bars to top notch brew pubs, you’ve got a fantastic selection to choose from. Here are some of our top choices:

  • Ale Hop (Barrio: El Born): Nestled in one of our favorite neighborhoods in Barcelona, this wee vegan bar (for all you Silicon Valley herbivores) hosts one the most personable beer lovers in Barcelona. Friendly staff, cozy ambience, it also boasts of a small back room perfect for meetings, albeit lubed with only the finest suds. 
  • La Cerveteca (Barrio: El Gotico): Located in the heart of Barcelona, just near the port, it’s where the revolution is claimed to have started. With a small list of choice tapas, and a large selection of bottled beer along with 5 or more rotating taps, the noise level here is a notch higher. Perfect if you need to make sure no one is listening in on your latest innovation.
  • Sf (eSe eFe) (Barrio: Raval): Run by two beer aficionados from San Francisco, this dive bar (in the good sense) has quickly become the gathering place for hop lovers in the Raval. NOFX on the radio and great beer behind the bar, there really is no reason not to stop by and check in, especially for those Bay Area natives.
  • Mosquito: Great beers, fantastic dumplings, incredibly affordable, you’ll leave with a smile on your face and enough money left over to buy the latest oversized Samsung fablet.

Tapas or “Brain” Food

Tapas BarcelonaOkay, so let’s be honest, Catalunya doesn’t do Tapas, as that would be mainland Spain’s gig. Off the record, they do fabulous tapas, called Raciones. After a long day on your feet, we imagine that you’ll be dying for food, now! And if you’re biz meeting isn’t until late, normal Spanish dinner time, consider popping over to any of the following locations to get a few nibbles and cocktails in.

  • Quimet & Quimet (Poble Sec): Fourth generation Quim improvises with hundreds of variations of mini tapas with the ingredients set before him on a steel counter. This is art at its finest and a great way to enjoy canned cuisine, an often overlooked Spanish style. Just a short walk from #MWC13, make sure to enjoy some of their homemade brew.
  • Bar Celta Pulperia (El Gotico): If you’re a fan of tender octopus, spicy peppers or a wide range of fried fish, you will not be disappointed with this fab Galician joint. Again, centrally located and incredibly informal, it also happens to be infront of a series of wonderful Basque places that all feature Sidra and Cabrales, an insanly delicious combination.
  • Cal Pep and Tickets: We’re mentioning both of these together as the likelihood of you getting a table is as probable as you getting the Google Nexus 4 in this lifetime. However, we’re all for being rebels and trying. What will it take? You could hope for the best and try to woo the hostess in 140 characters or less despite not making a reservation a year in advance. Cal Pep, on the other hand, is reservation free but extremely popular, so while you wait in line, you can at least do so in style by mastering the lastest Angry Birds levels.
  • Bar Roure: Located in Gracia (barrio renowned for its small familiar bars), Bar Roure is famous for its homemade Vermouth and tapas. Traditional, informal and incredibly popular among locals, don’t be surprised if the wait is long. However, you’re in luck. As this particular barrio won’t be jammed with fellow techies, you can surf the web effortlessly on your MIFI unit.
The World Mobile Congress is an over the top tech event. Many complain that it’s just too long with an overabundance of information, and we wholeheartedly agree; but remember, Barcelona is an amazing city with loads of ways to decompress and relax including: great wines, fantastic foods, and wonderful scenery. If your mobile appetite gets a bit too saturated, please take a break and head out on foot to wander. And remember, disconnect! You need to get out, chat with locals, breathe and enjoy “reality”. Who knows what you might find around the corner. Cheers, Gabriella and Ryan EXTRA TIP: We’ve created a Foursquare list of all the places you need to be! Over the week, we’ll add some extras so keep your eyes peeled!

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