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Albert Adrià Shows Off His New Playground, 41° and Tickets

[Photos: Gabe Ulla/]

Much like his brother Ferran, Albert Adrià exudes a charming restlessness. Fortunately, the one-two punch of 41 Degrees and Tickets, the new projects the brothers are opening on Barcelona's Paral-lel, looks like the ideal outlet for his rustic energy.

We visited the spots last week, just two days after elBulli had kicked off its final season and one day after the debut of the cocktail bar 41 Degrees. Due to delays in construction, Tickets, the ambitious but casual restaurant that adjoins it, will now open at some point in February.

41 Degrees

With 41 Degrees, the brothers hope to bring mixology to a country that doesn't seem to venture past the gin tonic (if you employ the "and" in Spain, you're sunk). "There are maybe five cocktail bars in all of Barcelona that do it right, and we want to change that," Albert said. He wasn't joking: at one point he grinned and confided, "Tom Collins are great. I hadn't ever tried one until we decided to open this place."

For the moment, the bar is offering a roster of classic cocktails, all priced at 12 Euro. But Albert seems intent on innovating after the place has gotten off the ground. There's already some indication of this on the menu, which has a blank gin tonic page towards the end that reads, "Coming Soon." He plans to develop ten variations of the cocktail.

Also on offer is a short menu of "snacks." Here you'll find oysters, as well as both Andalucian Riofrío caviar and Siberian "Schrencki" caviar. Understandably, though, the biggest draw on the food side is the list of twelve tapas culled from the elBulli archive. It includes the famous olive sphere, Mexican-style chicharrones, and pistachios wrapped in crunchy, acidic yogurt.

Albert, Ferran, and their associates in this venture, the owners of the established Barcelona seafood restaurant Rías de Galicia, envision the 35-seat bar as a place for patrons of Tickets to come and have a drink before or after dinner. But judging by the line that had formed outside by 9 PM, that could be difficult to pull off. As was the case with Inopia, the classic tapas bar nearby that Albert closed to make way for this project, the goal here is to run a business that is more accessible than elBulli. They'll be able to please more folks, but smart money says not everyone will have a seat at the table — or bar, rather.

Rías de Galicia co-owner Juan Carlos Iglesias explained that he had never experienced anything like it: "We're getting hundreds of calls at my other restaurant... There's a Galician lady who's worked with us for years. She doesn't speak English and now has to deal with press requests from Holland. People want to get into Tickets, and the place hasn't even opened yet."

[Photos: Gabe Ulla/]


Tickets is a bit like a theme park attraction — tapeo as James Cameron might do it. The 90-seat space consists of five sizeable bars, each of which will prepare a different section of the menu. Nostromo 180286 will handle the innovative tapas, the Garage will specialize in grilling and pan tumaca, La Estrella will — surprise, surprise — handle the booze, La Dolca will do sweets, and La Presumida, or "vain one," because it is the longest, will do hot mains, seafood, and charcuterie.

Some early reports suggested that Tickets would be a walk-in restaurant, but that won't be the case. The team is in the process of developing an online reservations system. Some tables will be set aside for those without reservations, as well as friends that might need to be squeezed in.

The brothers have a lot on their hands, but faced with the prospect that these two spots will soon be the only places of theirs with paying customers, Albert doesn't seem worried. "I can do so many things in this new project...innovating, researching old recipes, exploring the cuisine of the Canary Islands," said the chef. "It won't happen next week, but maybe I'll open an authentic ceviche bar in the neighborhood, or a taco spot with the lady from El Bajío. Who knows?"

· All 41 Degrees Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All Ferran Adrià Coverage on Eater [-E-]