There's almost nothing more "Spanish" than watching Flamenco. Flamenco is a MUST-DO when visiting Spain. Why? And HOW does one choose one Flamenco Tablao over another? How much does a Barcelona flamenco show cost? What's included in the price of a Flamenco show? How do you know you'lll be getting a high-quality performance? Do you need to make a reservation? How can one find NON-touristic, "authentic flamenco" in Barcelona"? These are all very good questions. We'll answer them below.
Things you never thought to ask about flamenco in Barcelona and Spain. You might be surprised at some of the answers.
Barcelona Tablao Directory (those with websites)
PALACIO DEL FLAMENCO
Explanation: "A show of the purest flamenco. The show is made up of original choreography acts including soloist acts. The night begins with the unique and enthusiastic performance of our flamenco group. The guitar and the sound of the palms accompany the "taconeo" and the movement by the "bailaores" that introduce to us in this enthusiastic world. In our show also, you will be able to see some classic Spanish dance acts with the intention to offer a glimpse of the wonderful ones and varied dances of flamenco. The music, created originally for this show, is interpreted live giving rise to a full picture of plastical beauty, light, and strength. The improvisation between the musicians and the bailaores, makes the show different day to day."
BarcelonaMan says, "An excellent flamenco show in Barcelona. The non-stop flamenco dancing performance entertained from beginning to end and the dancers are definitely professionals at their art. Thank you for a wonderful evening of Flamenco and wine in an elegant setting. Read the complete account of my visit to Palacio del Flamenco - along with many photos - in my blog entry entitled, "Day 5 Barcelona Trip Review 2010".
Explanation: "The Tablao de Carmen pays tribute to the great flamenco dancer Carmen Amaya, born in 1913 in the gypsy quarter of Somorrostro which then existed in what is today Barcelona's Olympic Village. Carmen Amaya made her debut in 1929 before King Alfonso XIII on the site which is today the Tablao de Carmen at the Inauguration of Poble Espanyol."
One of the added attractions of Tablao de Carmen is its location, as it is located within Poble Espanyol de Montjuïc. Tablao de Carmen is located within its Andalusian quarter (Barrio Andaluz), on a typically Andalusian street which enables the visitor to get a feel for the authentic flamenco atmosphere.
+34 933 256 895 www.tablaodecarmen.com
Avenida Marques de Comillas s/n
Poble Espanyol, Metro Plaza de Espanya, L-1 and L-3
35 Euros (per person, show+drink)
Explanation: "Our Restaurant / Live Flamenco Show, a family business founded in 1980 and located in the heart of Barcelona, near Picasso Museum and the Cathedral."
The location for this Barcelona flamenco tablao couldn't be better, on the Via Laietana, dividing the Gothic Quarter with El Borne neighborhoods. While dinner is available to accompany your flamenco show, one can simply attend the show-plus-drink for only 12 Euros per person, quite possibly the cheapest flamenco en Barcelona.
+34 933 152 103 www.restaurantenervion.com
Calle Princesa, 2 with Via Laietana
El Borne, Metro Jaume I, L-4
12 Euros (per person, show+drink), 35 Euros (per person, show+dinner)
FLAMENCO TABLAO CORDOBES
Explanation: "Since its inauguration in 1970, TABLAO CORDOBES has always been faithful to its commitment of professional quality. One of the main characteristics of this genuine "Tablao" has always been the presentation in different programs of the most talented artists of each period of time. In the 70's TABLAO CORDOBES presented in Barcelona two [mythical figures] in the history of flamenco: CAMARON DE LA ISLA and FARRUCA. Later, it presented EL GUITO, MANOLETE, MANUELA CARRASCO, LA TATI, CHOCOLATE, JUAN VILLAR, and LOLE Y MANUEL are regarded today as masters in the historical catalogue."
+34 933 175 711 www.tablaocordobes.com
Las Ramblas, 35
Gothic Quarter, Metro L3 - Liceu, Drassanes
37 Euros (per person, show+drink)
Questions and Answers about Barcelona Flamenco
WHY should you see a flamenco show in Barcelona?
First, because it's so darn entertaining!!! Can you even see anything more Spanish than a flamenco show? Flamenco is generally associated with the southern region of Andalucia - most typically with Seville or Granada. But where there are tourists visiting Spain for the first time there is a market for seeing Flamenco, even though flamenco in Barcelona is about as odd as consuming paella or sangria in Barcelona. It's just not regionally correct. Neverless, it exists because the market exists.
HOW does one choose one Flamenco Tablao over another?
It's a challenge. There are a number of flamenco tablaos in Barcelona with websites and probably triple that number which do not have a website. Below, we'll detail only those tablaos in Barcelona which have a website simply because most travelers prefer to SEE something of what they're getting before paying. One criteria for choosing a flamenco show could be the price (see next discussion item). But money should not be the ONLY criteria. Other criteria could be the location of the flamenco tablao. Some are in the old downtown and some further out, requiring public transportation. And finally, the most important criteria, the quality of the flamenco musicians and flamenco dancers. It's likely that a visit to Spain could be the ONLY opportunity in some travelers' lives to see LIVE flamenco and so they are seeking the best flamenco show in Barcelona possible. Who can blame them?
HOW MUCH does a Barcelona flamenco show cost? And WHAT'S INCLUDED?
Flamenco shows in Barcelona can be expensive. While accepting that expensive is a relative term, we'll assign some guidelines. Generally speaking, the typical price for a flamenco show is about 35 Euros per person. I've seen flamenco shows for as little as 20 Euros but also for as much as 40 Euros. This cost is ONLY the admission price. Most flamenco tablaos in Barcelona have kitchen or dinner services available. But ordering a MEAL PLUS SHOW can raise the total flamenco experience price to 70 Euros - per person - and flamenco tablaos are not known for their high quality food. That's not to say the food is bad, no, but the "flamenco food" served is usually just of average quality and prices tend to be inflated. I generally recommend that people have their dinner before or after the flamenco shows to save some money and to vary their evening experience. Most Barcelona Tablaos will offer a free first drink with your entry and it sometimes accompanies a free tapa like a plate of olives, crackers, or even potato chips. (an odd tapa for a flamenco tablao but common) Subsequent drinks ordered can be expensive.
Do you need to make a RESERVATION FOR FLAMENCO in Barcelona
ABSOLUTELY! Be sure to make a reservation 1 day in advance if possible, calling after 8pm. You won't be able to make a reservation by casually encountering a tablao on the street - because they won't be open until 8pm at the earliest - but you will be able to write down their phone number to call later. It's best to find a flamenco tablao in the general area of your hotel or at least within a short distance using public transportation. Be forewarned that it's not likely that the person answering the phone will speak English when making your reservation so, if at all possible, make your reservation via email - if they have it - or make the reservation through a tour company.
HOW do you know you'll be getting a HIGH-QUALITY PERFORMANCE?
The short answer is, you won't know. Most people in the world don't know anything about flamenco dancing or flamenco music so the client is generally happy with whatever they're "served" as a performance. The better known flamenco tablaos in Barcelona usually have very good performers, either luring profesionals out of Andalusian tablaos to come to Barcelona or hiring up-and-coming talent from accredited acadamies in other parts of Spain. The larger, more popular tablaos tend to be more expensive so they can hire more talented flamenco dancers - paying them more.
How can one find NON-touristic, "AUTHENTIC FLAMENCO" in Barcelona"?
All the flamenco you'll find in Barcelona is "Authentic Flamenco". The dancers have studied for years. But finding flamenco tablaos without tourists is a bit of an impossibility. People often write me asking where they can see REAL FLAMENCO without the tourists. The answer is simple. (POSSIBLY) In the houses of Barcelona gypsies! But no non-gypsy would ever be allowed to enter that society. The gypsy society is a CLOSED society so Gypsy Family Flamenco is only for gypsies and NOT for outsiders. On rare occasions in some bars you'll find "spontaneous flamenco" performed but this only happens when A) flamenco-trained persons are in the bar and B) when the mood strikes these people. So in short, it's truly a hit-or-miss situation where it's more likely you will not see spontaneous flamenco being danced than otherwise. I've only heard stories from 2 people when they saw flamenco being danced at a bar they were visiting one night but the next night they went and there was nothing. Plus, bars in Barcelona are very small and usually full of people so DANCING of any kind, particularly the swirling FLAMENCO style of dancing, is nearly an impossibility. Finally, only a tiny percentage of non-gypsy women study flamenco anymore (it used to be much more common) and authentic gipsy women generally DO NOT frequent bars.
» Various Important Notes:
» flamenco shows typically start at 10pm and midnight
» many have shows every night of the week
» tips are not necessary but some coins could be left for good service
» waiters may or may not speak English
» some flamenco tablaos do not allow flash photos taken
» prices are not generally listed on flamenco websites