As soon as we arrived in Barcelona, all we kept hearing about was La Champagneria. From the owner of our apartment rental, from people online, from strangers we met. We had never heard of the place before, during our prior two visits, but as soon as I heard the word La Champagneria, there was a ring to it, and I knew we had to seek it out.
La Champagneria, or in Catalan La Xampanyeria, or by their other name Can Paixano, is an institution of sorts. When you research La Champagneria online, there seems to be a split personality of sorts. Is it a wine shop? Is it a cava bar? Is it old school and traditional, or a tourist stop? The answer is yes.
What is Cava?
I’ve been told that cava was once called champagne, and was happy to continue down that path. Unfortunately, the Champagne region in France filed suit against them to prevent the cava makers from using the designation champagne, which is now reserved only for sparkling wines that are made in the Champagne region. So, sparkling wine that is produced outside of that region can in no way be called champagne. That’s the history stuff.
I, personally, don’t care what they call it. I love cava, and it is like champagne, but a lot less pretentious. In Barcelona, it is possible to find a glass of cava pretty much any time of day for as little as 2 Euros, and sometimes even only 1 Euro. That certainly elevates cava in my book as one of my favorite things about eating in Spain.
What is La Champagneria?
Can Paixano has been in the cava and sparkling wine business for over forty years. La Champagneria is located in the Barceloneta neighborhood, which was traditionally the typical fishing quarter of Barcelona. On this sunny afternoon, there was nothing else open on the little alleyway, so all we saw were the huge barn doors, open to the bar, with laughter and noise billowing out into the street.
It was a little intimidating walking into the old school wine shop and bar, with an enormous high, arched ceiling. People were spilling out the front door when we arrived, but we managed to sneak into a corner spot, giving us some decent fresh air while being able to have a bird’s eye view of the chaos inside.
La Champagneria offers up some decent sparkling wines at next to nothing. From brut cava, my favorite, to a sweet sparkling rose cava, which was, well, not my favorite. Brut sparkling wine tends to be less sweet, and my preference. You can order glasses or bottles to drink at the bar, or to takeaway.
To be completely honest, we had started drinking a few hours before arriving at La Champagneria. This was supposed to be a pit stop, a historical place to check out, grab a little snack, and some sparkling wine. Then, we saw the prices.
A glass of cava cost a little more than 1 Euro, and an entire bottle cost a little more than 5 Euros. So, a bottle of cava it was. Served with traditional champagne glasses, I felt like I was in a Rat Pack movie. It all happened so quick. The bartender came over, not speaking English, and I blurted out a bottle of whatever and it was delivered promptly. That was it.
It was incredible fun, being surrounded by that many people, all stopping in for some cava surrounded by the history of La Champangeria, with the sun still streaming in through the enormous doors. Yeah, we had fun.
But, I was not about to leave La Champagneria without trying their pink champagne (sorry, cava), Audrey Hepburn style. It was good, but uber sweet. I am so happy we did not order a bottle. Too sweet for me.
We also downed a large sausage sandwich, to soak up the cava. Then, we made our way back to the apartment to nap. What else do you after an afternoon drinking cava at La Champagneria in Barcelona?
La Champagneria is located at Carrer de la Reina Cristina 7 in Barcelona, Spain. It can be hard to find, down a quiet street off of the old fishing port that has become La Barceloneta.
For more tips and stories on Spain, check out the With Husband In Tow Spain Food Travel Guide!