Nestling in a quiet side street of Barcelona, the café-restaurant, “Els quatre gats”, is located on the ground floor of the Casa Martí. The building, with its medieval-style exterior, invites us to step into its cosy interior which was the meeting place for the intellectuals of modernist Barcelona, at the end of the 19th century.
Casa Martí was built in 1896 on Barcelona’s Carrer Montsió under the supervision of the architect Puig i Cadafalch. The building looks like a medieval castle, its façade inspired by the European Gothic style and decorated with the characteristic ornamental elements of Catalan art-nouveau, or modernisme . We can see beautiful stained glass, the meticulously crafted wrought ironwork, sculptures by Eusebi Arnau in the form of narrative capitals, and there is even a figure of Saint George on the corner.
On the ground floor, a poster designed by Pablo Picasso invites us to enter the café-restaurant “Els quatre gats”, which stands on the site of the original café, inn and literary circle founded by Pere Romeu, Santiago Rusiñol and Ramón Cases. It remained active until 1903, and during these years, intellectuals from the new bohemian and modernist Barcelona attended performances and concerts, and held literary gatherings there. The young Picasso frequented the bar and it was the first place to exhibit his drawings. “Els quatre gats” was the Barcelona gateway to the new artistic tastes that came from Northern Europe, and France in particular, in the style of the Parisian café, Le Chat Noir.
How to get there: Metro L1 and L3, stop Catalunya and L4, stop Urquinaona. | Bus 16, 17, 41, 42, 45, 55, 141 and V17. | Barcelona Bus Turístic, stop Pl. Catalunya.