In addition to a long list of sherries (11, each poured by the glass or bottle), the drinks program is strong on wine of Spanish origin and features a particularly lively cocktail list. The Bourbon Spice Rack — bourbon, maple syrup, lemon juice, and cardamom and lavender bitters — is winter’s last stand in a chilled martini glass. Of the three sangrias, the Flora is delicate on the palate: French rosé with a splash of St. Germain and soda water.
The tapas are interesting and abundant enough that they make the paellas — three varieties offered, including seafood, vegetarian, and one with rabbit, morcilla (Spanish blood sausage), and chickpeas — seem irrelevant. The rice is undercooked, and a heavy hand with the seasoning overpowers our seafood paella.
Salt, it turns out, is an issue here and apparently has been for a while. A friend who was a fan of the Connecticut locations mentions it was a problem even in the beginning.
When a manager drops by to check in, one of us pipes up about the excess of salt. He listens closely, nods, and insists on taking the paella off our bill; he’s heard that complaint before, he says.
That’s Barcelona Wine Bar’s appeal in a five-minute exchange. That fine line between corporate ownership and the good-natured charm of a Mom-and-Pop joint lets the place transcend its roots and become something else entirely: a top-notch addition to the neighborhood.