Social cannabis clubs in Barcelona are well-known for their informal, relaxed and atmospheric ambiance. We’ve always been curious to set foot inside.
Unlike Amsterdam, where coffeeshops are open to the public, the Cannabis Clubs in Barcelona are available to members only. In order to become a club member, you need to be referred by an existing member, and luckily I came across Russ Hudson; an American cannabis consultant living in Spain, who has become well renowned in the cannabis scene. His website gives great advice for people travelling to Spain, and explains how the clubs work. He recommended his home club Circulo (which he rates 5/5), and sponsored my membership.
I arrived at Circulo on a Friday evening, rang the bell, was buzzed in and greeted by the host. The entryway was light and there were a few people ahead of me also waiting for their appointment. After filling in the necessary forms and going over some of the House Rules we went through the sliding glass door into the club.
Looking at the menu there were different strains of bud and a selection of hash, as well as edibles and wax. The budtender was helpful and I chose to start with the Malana Cream hash and some Purple Kush. Around the corner from the cannabis counter were plush sofas and chairs, a DJ spinning chill house and groups of people sitting with friends enjoying a beer and a spliff. The atmosphere was lively, no one was sitting around stoned with their eyes glazed over (a welcome change from the norm in Amsterdam). Hands down the Malana cream was the best purchase, the high was uplifting and clear headed, we enjoyed chatting with others around us on the sofas, everyone was very friendly.
The next morning I found a beautiful spot for brunch at Flax & Kale, and enjoyed some delicious healthy juices, a famous Coco Masala Chai, and lots of vegan and gluten free treats. The best spot is definitely on the rooftop, surrounded by trellises and greenery.
Next I headed to Choko, the cannabis social club for smokers and lovers of urban art. You could almost miss Choko walking past, hidden down a quiet street with graffiti on the walls. Inside the club is spaced over 3 levels, downstairs there are big sofas and cushions, a large TV and chess boards. The main level bar is stocked with beer, wine, teas and coffees and a cannabis bar, offering a superb selection. The upstairs has large oversized cushions on the floor, low tables and a DJ area. I tried the Shaka hash, and Choko’s own house special, a sativa strain which won the Spannabis Cup in 2014. Overall Choko has been awarded 5 different cups since opening its doors.
When comparing the differences between Amsterdam and Barcelona in terms of its cannabis culture, Choko is trying to break away from the ‘Rasta’ stereotype image surrounding cannabis. The members at Choko are all from different backgrounds and of various ages. Its patrons range from DJs to graphic designers.
The club encourages people to mix and chat with other members, which has often led to great collaborations between like-minded people. At Choko they have a sativa dominated cannabis menu, which encourages people to be chatty and uplifted. Choko stood out as a lively place to come together and share good weed with interesting people. Its sophisticated and sleek décor made it very welcoming.
Overall my experience of Barcelona Cannabis Clubs was inspiring. I felt so welcomed at the clubs and never felt judged or intimidated by the bud-tenders…as sometimes is the case in Amsterdam. Places looking to legalise and/or have legalised should look closely at the Spanish model for cannabis social clubs and steer away from the kitschy tourism fuelled coffee shops of Amsterdam.