Tapas are generally a little more expensive in Barcelona than in other parts of Spain (though it is possible to get Free Tapas in Barcelona). To find the cheapest tapas bars, it's often a case of avoiding ones with any semblance of a chic decor or modern makeover. Or indeed, any locale with the word 'tapa' in its name. These are usually chain joints and charge an arm and a leg. Instead, home in on the ones with the grease-splattered tiled walls and napkin-littered floors. If you're looking for cheap Barcelona tapas bars, then roll your sleeves up and be prepared to get messy.
Several blocks off Passeig Joan de Borbò on Carrer Ginebra is one of Barceloneta's cheapest tapas deals, La Jaica. It specialises in fried baby squid, mussels au gratin and other olive-oil drenched seafood classics. The ambiance is loud, lively and inebriated.
On a dinky cobbled sidestreet of El Born just off Passeig Picasso is La Paradeta (Carrer Comercial), where you weigh whatever seafood you want and tell them how to cook it. The fish market-style feel is accompanied by market prices and market noisyness.
On Carrer Mercé, in Barrio Gòtico, is Bar Celta. It's specialities are all Galician; octopus and potatoes in oilive oil and paprika (pulpo a la gallega) is the house speciality. Cheap and very cheerful.
La Xampanyeria (Carrer Reina Cristina) is perhaps the cheapest way to get tipsy and fill your stomach in the whole city. It's a small bodega beside Port Vell serving greasy rolls full of chorizo, morcilla, jamon, butifarra and other local favourites with absurdly economicable bottles of cava, which get spilled all over the floor in the thick of the exuberant crowds.