London vs. Barcelona: The Hipster Hoods

London vs. Barcelona: The Hipster Hoods

Every city has its own alternative alcove filled with beards, man buns and tote bags. Whether you’re in the depths of Tokyo, Portland, Berlin, MIlan, the heights of Brooklyn or in snow-glazed Sweden there’s a paradise, a veritable nirvana, of hipsters with matching birkenstocks and denim jackets awaiting you. With the reign of the hipster not looking to end any time soon it’s time we took a closer look at two cities whose alternative population is rising speedily.

London vs. Barcelona: who wins?

In the game of hipsters, the only one who really wins is the people who capitalize on this alternative image: businesses. Making your café as quirky as possible (with soya, gluten free, organic coffee, of course) acts as a beacon of lights for hipsters. So here are some of London’s “secret” spots that the hipsters don’t want you to know about.

London:

Dalston:

London has some great hipster hideouts. What makes London pop is that it’s constantly reshaping itself and finding a new image. However, if you want to know the hipster neighbourhood that’s in fashion this season it’s Dalston. Once a shabby, no-go area (aren’t they always?) it has transformed its image whilst still retaining a glimmer of its impoverished past.

-Dalston rainy Streets-

Graphic designers, start-ups, organic food, and microbreweries is what’s on the menu in this district which add to its beautiful charm. The Duke of Wellington is where you’d get a decent pint of beer and Alibi is where you can expect to dance the night away to music you haven’t heard of before. And for something confidently cool, aloof and truly nonchalant then Dalston Superstore has what you’re looking for.

  Dalston’s Hipster street

The downsides to this trendy neighbourhood are everything in sight appears to be “artisan” (how can a sandwich be artisan?) and trust fund kids. Eeek.

Peckham:

A special mention should be reserved for the heart and soul of South London: Peckham. It hasn’t been entirely stripped of its personality and is void of Big City investment (although this will probably change). It’s a great place to find some decent eggs benedict on the highstreet and Bellenden Road has the kind of coffee you’ve been looking for to cure the hangover. The nightlife here is full of life: the Bussey Building has an eclectic mix of everything for everyone from reggae, hip-hop and rnb…

-Streets of Peckham-

and it would be remiss to not mention Frank’s Café with its sundown-dancing-with-cocktails rooftop terrace. Go!

Barcelona

Barcelona has always had a special relationship with hipsters. Barcelona is like the rebellious teenager to Spain’s strict parents. Throwing caution to the wind and making its own rules. This is why it makes the best place to come to swim in the unconventional pool of hipsterdom. What’s awesome about Barcelona is that anything goes, it’s a hive of creativity and pop-ups with vintage markets popping up every weekend in different locations, Palo Alto market with its food trucks and a sneaker exchange event that happens around the city. It’s things like these that give the city a little soul and make it stand out from the norm, it’s the breath of fresh air that everyone is looking for in a country burdened with a crisis.

Raval:

Barcelona’s former sketchy neighbourhood, el Raval, was once a run down, beaten up part of the city that’s going through a revival .It’s charming streets, replenished with dive bars and great cheap eats means it’s a winner with tourists and locals alike.

                                                                                            –Raval Barcelona

In the main square of the district is Plaça dels Angels, where you can sit with a café con leche and watch the skaters improve their tricks outside the MACBA museum. A true mix of cultures makes this little spot the place to go for a quick art fix (the CCCB is also nearby too). The benefits of living here is the abundance of great middle eastern food owing to its high population of immigrants and we can’t forget the jazz bars with live music every week days such as Big Bang Bar.

-Ravel Graffiti

Gracia:     

Another hipster hive is the irreverent Gracia neighborhood. Gracia is the homeland of the Barcelona hipster. It’s a former village that was eaten up by Barcelona’s rapid expansion but it still holds tight to its roots and as a result there’s a feeling of independence running through the veins of this district. -Gracia Barcelona-

It has plazas galore with bars, cafes and restaurants decorating every corner. Its location means it’s hidden away from the true hum of the city below and this little barrio is full of organic eateries and men with beards. Not bad, right? The nightlife is also worth writing about as some of the best bars can be found in the streets of Gracia (café de teatre, mojitos perfectos!) and the cinema Verdi found on the main thoroughfare is worth going to for the selection of European films.

In essence all of these neighbourhoods are worth visiting, neither one wins. They’ve both got awesome bars, great ambiance and lots of character. Although, if you find yourself in either city, be sure to check out what to do in London and what to do in Barcelona with locals—they’re who make these neighbourhoods what they really are, after all.

 

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