The four cats restaurant is a must if you are into
Picasso's and art, is where the intellectuals and artists of the time used to gather, for Picasso it was one of his refuges of inspiration in the city and he even had an exhibition there.
Els quatre gats, is the original name in Catalan for the four cats and it was a beer cabaret bar opened in 1897 in a modernist building and until 1903 remained active being one of the main points of gathering for Modernism.
The 4 gats restaurant is inside Casa Martí, a modernist house designed by Puig i Cadafalch, a gathering place for Barcelona's most bohemian atmosphere in the XX century. This very same place has been chosen by Woody Allen to film one of his movies, Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona, and actually takes place one of the main scenes in the film.
The owner of the restaurant was Romeu, a waiter that worked in Le Chat Noir in Paris, and he decided to create this very same vanguardist and bohemian kind of place in Barcelona. He had some investors with known names such as the painter Ramon Casas, the rag and bone man Maties Ardènic and the banker Manuel Girona.
Easily after its opening it was adopted as a place of gathering for artists and important people in the city. The drivers of the success where Santiago Rusiñol, Ramon Casa and Miquel Utrillo and the musics such as Enric Granados, Isaac Albéniz or Lluis Millet.
The four cats has a long tradition of debates, social gathering and art refuge in Barcelona. There were cultural activities organized such as literature reading, puppet shows, music evenings that Granados and Albéniz organized among other artists. There were exhibitions of paintings by Nonell, Pichot, Torent or Picassos among others that happened in 1900. There was even a magazine that was kicked off with the name of Quatre Gats that had 15 numbers published.
The Martí house is a modernist building by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, in the street level is where Els Quatre Gats is located, and it was an epicenter artistic and cultural in Barcelona from 1897 until 1903. The decoration on the inside of the restaurant was paid by Ramon Casas, who paid the spider round lights and the furniture designed by Puig i Cadafalch. Casas made his most important offer, a painting of two men, Pere Romeu the owner of the beer bar and Ramon Casas himself, pedalling a tandem bike, in the restaurant now there is a copy and the original painting in the Museum of National Art of Catalonia.
Martí's house is a two story building with an attic, you can tell is a modernist building for the usage of artisan techniques such a forged steel that is present in the handrails. On the façade we can see sculptures from Eusebi Arnau, forged steel by Manuel Ballarín and a statue of Sant Josep by Llimona.
As mentioned, Els 4 gats, was active from 1897 until 1903 when it was closed down. After that beer bar of intellectual gatherings it became the Artistic Cercle of Sant Lluc until 1936 and then again it was a restaurant with the name of els 4 Gats.
Disclaimer: Painting by Ramon Casas by Jordan Andrade