Dusty because it’s old

The dust bunnies on the ceiling and the crusty bottles lining the shelves were not there to add to the kitsch factor. Marsella, a bar in the El Raval section of Barcelona, has been around since 1820.


Picasso, Hemingway and Dali are said to have been regulars here

I had heard this was the place to have an absinthe and there was little need to twist my arm.


lighting our absinthe on fire

I couldn’t tell you what kind of absinthe we tried. The service was unceremonious at best and the glasses were already filled when they were brought over to our table. That all said, it didn’t matter – it was great to partake in a drinking tradition that has gone on there for almost 200 years. The closest parallel I can draw in the U.S. is McSorely’s bar in the East Village, which opened in 1854. Of course, as a woman I wouldn’t have been able to get in until 1970!

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