Welcome to Cocktail Nirvana
Awarded best bar in the world in 2022, Paradiso is renowned for its elaborate cocktails, extravagant presentations, and captivating showmanship. Located in the heart of Barcelona, visiting Paradiso is a must for any travel-loving cocktail enthusiast.
About the bar
World famous cocktails
If you have even the slightest interest in the cocktail scene, then you probably won’t be visiting Barcelona without having Paradiso on your list of “attractions”. Awarded the best bar in the world in 2022, Paradiso is famous for not only the taste but also the looks of their cocktails.
All this fame does come at a price so be prepared to wait in line next to your fellow cocktail enthusiasts if you want to be part of the show. But don’t worry, if you’re not too much for waiting in line then scan the QR code in front of the bar’s door and join a digital queue system which will allow you to continue exploring beautiful Barcelona while you wait for your turn.
A jungle performance
Once inside, you will be enthusiastically greeted by the friendly staff behind the bar while taking in the beautifully decorated space. The interior stays true to the theme by using natural wooden planks, green colors, and dim lights to emulate this mysterious “jungle-paradise” feeling that the name of the bar suggests.
Paradiso is an all-sensory experience, and the bartenders certainly enjoy putting up a show. Behind the bar is their stage and if you’re in the front row you’ll get to experience everything from fire being lit by lasers, to bubbles, smoke and even fluorescent cocktails. Their menu comes with colorful illustrations of each drink so you can get an idea of what “performance” to expect when you order.
Smoke and extravagance
Our first cocktail was the Great Gatsby and, as the name suggests, its presentation is elegant and extravagant, being served in a chocolate and vanilla tobacco smoke chamber and topped with a cheese snack.
The cocktail was the perfect balance between high-end single malt scotch, truffle and vanilla aroma which can turn any sceptic into a whiskey lover, and the delicious cheese snack helped enhancing the smokey flavor.
All in all, an amazing combination of flavors which really lasts until the last sip when the vanilla aroma from the tobacco still persists, and the truffle notes only become more apparent as the drink develops, yet never becoming overpowering.
A savory journey through time
The second cocktail we tried was Cronos. Inspired by time, the presentation of this cocktail has its roots in the Mayan culture as it is served on a beautiful wooden clock decorated with Mayan symbols. The mechanical rotating band inside the clock carries an edible corn snack and you patiently have to wait for its reveal!
Cronos is a well-rounded and well-balanced savory cocktail with a creamy texture and a deep chocolate aftertaste. The deliciously smokey and crunchy corn chip adds to the savory experience of the cocktail which we really enjoyed.
A fruity and floral space expedition
For our third experience, Paradiso took us to the moon! Their cocktail, Voyage, is inspired by the first moon landing and has a very interesting presentation. It is actually served in a spaceship - which was quite exciting to drink from - and comes with a tiny moon as a side garnish.
The cocktail was very fruity with slight floral notes and a mild bitterness in the aftertaste while “the moon” was a chocolate candy with an explosive raspberry interior.
Overall, while a bit one dimensional and lacking complexity, still a nice cocktail, but definitely not our favorite of the night. It does seems like they had more focus on the presentation than the actual drink when creating this cocktail.
Levitating on an Agave Cloud
Lastly, we tried The Cloud. Served with a cloud of coffee air and with its beautiful hibiscus color, the presentation of the cocktail is quite playful.
The Cloud is a delicious smokey mezcal cocktail with sweetness from birch syrup and floral notes from hibiscus.
Personally, we didn’t feel like the coffee cloud added much to the drink. It seemed a bit disjointed and didn’t quite integrate with the rest of the cocktail. Once again, it appeared to be more for show than flavor. That being said, the cocktail itself was delicious and very easy-drinking!
As made apparent by the cocktails we tried, Paradiso is as much about showmanship as it is about delicious cocktails, and sometimes you even get the feeling that the taste of the cocktails comes second to the presentation and show surrounding them. There is definitely nothing wrong with this approach, and the cocktails are still well-balanced and super tasty, it’s just something you have to be aware of before you visit.
Working against that concept is the fact that they don’t seem to have enough of the presentation-utensils to accommodate their guests. Half-way through finishing the Cronos cocktail, the bartenders would come and collect the Mayan clock, because they needed it to serve other guests. This leaves you with the impression that it serves more as a prop for their show than as an actual part of the cocktail presentation.
All in all, Paradiso is definitely worth a visit! It is undoubtedly a world-class cocktail bar. Even though we, personally, value the quality of the cocktails higher than the showmanship, which can sometimes be a bit too much at Paradiso, it is definitely a great experience and a recommendation from us.