The word “bikini” has various meanings: it’s what the whole world calls toasted sandwiches with ham and cheese, two-piece female bathing suits, and the atoll in the Pacific where the very first underwater atomic bomb testing took place. But only in Barcelona is Bikini above all a club. It is a legendary venue that has already turned 63, but is as spry as ever, good looking and still dancing!
If legends are to be trusted, Bikini was founded by the prim and proper Carmen Polo to hold tea parties for local ladies at times when she and her husband visited the Catalonian capital. This was the place where young Juan Carlos de Borbón and Sofía de Grecia came to dance; of course this was long before they got married and had their son, the current king of Spain Felipe VI. It was here when Barcelonians learnt about the beginning of Seat 600 automobile mass production, and first heard the Letka Jenka twist, which made all the progressive youth of the 60’s move to the same rhythm.
Bikini started to look like a disco in the 70’s after a general renovation, which brought in a DJ cabin, floodlights and a dancefloor
The fifties, sixties and seventies were the golden era of Bikini. It opened its doors in 1953 on Diagonal, which was known then as the avenue of the Generalissimo. It was located, not in the L’Illa shopping centre, as it is now, but in a no-longer-existing building designed by the architect
Julio Chinchilla Ballesta. At first the owners wanted to create the atmosphere of a fashionable American establishment with mini-golf and bowling. Dance-lovers were not overlooked either: live music sounded from a hall with an orchestra pit. Bikini started to look like a disco in the 70’s after a general renovation, which brought in a DJ cabin, floodlights and a dancefloor. And the 80’s were a time of decline: concerts were often replaced by erotic shows, the quality of the music fell dramatically, and the audience dwindled. Probably all this was why the club announce its closure in January of 1990.
Over the last 20 years the locals have got used to the jolly commotion of the party people who gather here at the weekend
Av. Diagonal, 547 (L’Illa Diagonal), metro Maria Cristina, Les Corts
Opening hours: parties — thu-sat, 00.00 to 06.00, concerts — look up the timetable
Entrance: free lists through the club’s Facebook page, ticket at the entrance — from 15 euros
Bikini was reincarnated exactly 6 years later in its new location: the L’Illa shopping mall. Over the last 20 years the locals have got used to the jolly commotion of the party people who gather here at the weekend. The bouncers are not too strict, so the majority easily get through the doors, following a steel tunnel into the depths of Barcelona’s nightlife. The guests have a choice of several halls, each with its own music: indie, rock, pop, latino or dance. The sound is great, the go-go dancers are beautiful, and the musicians on the bill are both local and foreign. For example, just before the club closed for the summer holidays, a Cuban band called Havana D’Primera was grooving on stage under the direction of its dark-skinned trumpeter Alexander Abreu. Salsa with a hint of R&B and jazz filled the place, the bar was overflowing with icy mojitos, and in the middle of the dancefloor an elderly couple were tap-dancing away. No doubt about it, Bikini is a place where at 60 life is just beginning.