So dear reader (yes the singular was deliberate. And I know I should probably call you “mum”, not reader, but I want to maintain an air of professionalism) you’ve probably been wondering what I’ve been up have you since I last wrote? Well I’m glad you asked, because I’ve got some exciting news. Despite being super busy with various projects this 2015, there was something that I’ve wanted to do for a while now that I decided simply can’t wait any longer… with the help of a few amigos, I’ve finally launched a super original food, drink and nightlife activities brand…. please welcome to the world my new baby, which we’ve christened: Tapas & Beers Barcelona!
You might remember that back in 2010 I launched my very own alternative bike cruise of the Catalan capital, called Steel Donkeys. The idea was to offer something completely different to a twenty-person tour around the narrow alleys of the Gothic Quarter (which is what most companies back then were delivering at the time) and take people well and truly off the beaten track to cool districts like Poblenou, Ribera and Raval and simply spend some time with them, treating them like friends not tourists. For this reason of course the tours had to be small group only, and this was the key to our success. In a small group the guides and the travellers can really engage with each other, the itinerary can be bent and/or broken to accommodate a fresh idea or request, and the whole vibe changes – from that of a tourist on the treadmill, to that of a traveller just hanging out and getting under the skin of the city, if only for a day. The feedback from the very beginning was amazing, and we’ve constantly been rated as one of the best bike tours in Barcelona on Tripadvisor.
Meanwhile others have successfully implemented this same small-group, alternative tour mentality to food – and in particular – tapas tours, something I’ve wanted to do myself for a long time. Whilst the Catalan beer revolution has got everyone in the entire city drinking craft ales, and is something that travellers are increasingly interested in trying too! Well, it would be silly to do one and not the other, so the concept of Tapas & Beers was born. In fact so far we’ve only launched the Catalan Craft Beer Tour (the tapas tour is under development however!), and after a deliciously successful test run with our extremely knowledgeable guide (he had so much to say about the history of beer and the Catalan beer revolution that we ended up drinking for 5.5 hours instead of the planned three hours!) we are now open to the public. The tour will be running every Saturday at 17:30 during summer (any maybe longer) in 2015, and includes tastings of five regional beers, some tasty tapas and plenty of expert insight from your crazy Catalan guide. So get your beer-drinking buddies and get in touch! We’re also on the look out for any Barcelona bloggers who can roadtest the activity and share it on their blog!
The project has also created the right space for me to realise another dream of mine, and that’s the launching of an alternative pub crawl of Barcelona…. aka the Hipster Bar Hop. The concept is to offer travellers an authentic nightlife experience that is in stark contrast to the cheesy brashness of a regular pub crawl. Having done it twice already I can confirm that it lives up to my original concept, with a lot of new friends, cool bars and crazy dancing ensuing. Not sure the inclusion of absinthe was such a great idea though…