The magic of Barcelona’s Els Quatre Gats Café

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The convergence of art, cultural and historic bourgeoisie can be found at Barcelona’s Els Quatre Gats Café. Founded in 1897 and revived in 1903 by the friendly and vivacious Pere Romeu, its bohemian spirit started when owners offered good food for low prices to friends only of course.

By Ralf Roletschek – Own work, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44709277

The eclecic architectural style of the modernist building of Casa Marti is further enhanced by the inspiration drawn from Paris “Le Chat Noir”. Its artistic roots come from the frequent gathering of Spain’s most famous artists including Ramon Casas and Santiago Rusiñol, in addition to throngs of musicans, writers and creative minds from Spain’s golden era of artistiry.

Its most significant influence was Picasso, whos influence can be found in the design of the café menus. Picasso even held his very first exhibition in the café as his posters remain on the streets close to the café.

The interiors are also well decorated by Casas as a paintain depicts the owner , Pere Romeu , riding a tandem bicycle. An inscription reads “ To ride a bike, you can’t go with your back straight”. The owners at the time had to break tradition and do something completely new, which is why they chose that quote as their mission statement.

By Ramón Casas, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44709359

The name Els Quatre Gats is actually the Catalan translation of “Le Chat Noir” and  is the birth place of Spanish modernism. It means four cats, which is a Catalan expression meant to describe a situation unique to only a few people. Looking further back in history, its story quite closely coincides with Barcelona’s historic events.Although it was closed in 1903 during a financial crisis, it was restore in 1989.

As Barcelona evolved thorugh a modernist phase of art and architecture, the café grew more popular. The beautifully tiled terra cotta floors and Gaudi-esque while tiles make it very unique. It remains a very popular spot and a must-see stop on any Barcelona trip.

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