I just read the review of BARcelona in the Riverfront Times and feel I must comment in defense of one of the best tapas bars I've experienced outside of Spain. If you haven't read the review I've posted a link below.
The reviewer seems to have three main gripes with BARcelona: the setting, the service, and the drinks.
Personally I feel that the setting is perfect. The reviewer suggests that BARcelona should exist as a destination restaurant, something that I do not agree with. Tapas bars (at least in the North of Spain, Adalusia is an exception) exist as stops for people on their evening strolls. That is why they line the streets of so many Spanish cities. Just pop in, drink a small beer or manzanilla, eat something from the bar, have a chat with someone and then off to the next bar. Although Clayton doesn't have the type of tapas culture that exists in San Sebastian or Barcelona and allows for this type of hopping around I am glad BARcelona chose to locate in such a busy and populous area. I've stopped in a few times while doing errands just to have a glass of wine and something off the menu before finishing my errands and going home. I also don't find BARcelona (or Clayton for that matter) to be as stuffy as the reviewer suggests. Friends of mine have worn shorts, and I'm sure that I've been less than sartorially correct on an occasion or two, but have never felt unwelcome.
I found the service at BARcelona to be as competent as any other establishment I have visited in St. Louis. The staff was attentive but not overbearing, well versed in the menu, and willing to go back to the kitchen to find out why the baccala croquettes that I loved so much dissapeared from the menu. I also enjoy the fact that unlike Modesto, they understand that you may wish to order more in the course of your visit and do not remove menus after the initial ordering or bring an unrequested check.
As for the drinks, I can't really comment on the Sangria as I'm not much of a fan (but as a side note, the only people that I have ever seen drinking Sangria in tapas bars in Spain have been British). I do however like their wine list and their sherry selection.
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