L. E. Travel Tips: Bodega Marin in Barcelona's Gràcia neighborhood.

Contributing Editor: Michelle Santini

In Gràcia, life is full around these streets, days into night. This primary hub of Barcelona, you can easily pass authentic home-base incredible, yet aesthetically unconvincing troves. Allow your will to take notice of these gems, then engage and experience.

One terrific example of this is Bodega Marin. Located on Carrer de Milà i Fontanals, 72 near the streets of Travessera de Gracia and Calle Balien. Down a regular nondescript street conceals a street level wine cellar. Juxtaposed dusty, aged bottles and spotless new era shelved wines side by side. Whole bottles can be bought; all have prices attached for clear consummation. Shop if you will.

Leather wine bags hang from the awe-inspiring tall walls, a room with narrow bars and stools along the walls in which to dine on homemade patatas bravas or basic tapas dishes.

The owners are constantly present, serving and conversing, they are either known or recognizable by all.

You could be mistaken that you have unearthed an amazing alcoholic haunt, but as dusk dawns the locals venture in. After dark, the outer pavement surges with strewn life with a crowd that has outgrown the premises.

The space is full, framed with yellow and terracotta colors and simple Mediterranean décor. However, it is the bottles that take priority and they overflow all available shelf space.

The outer façade is bare and plain with a hand drawn chalkboard listing only the opening hours of the establishment.

Go here to know modest hospitality, if you ‘know’ wine, or to grab something unknown and local. Prices range from cheap to top shelf in an easy, relaxed environment; buy what you want, when you like, what you like or whatever catches your eye.

People end up here based on word of mouth or by lucky thirsty turns. In either case, I suspect the proprietor here doesn’t want to be preyed on by the touristic society en mass. This being true, new eyes, ears, and palettes would be as welcome as you would be delighted once you arrive.