Until the 1960s, the cabarets on the Paral·lel, with their bohemian, free-and-easy lifestyle, provided a haven of freedom in the grey Barcelona of the Franco era. El Molino opened in 1910 as a replica of the famous Moulin Rouge in Paris’s Montmartre. The music hall staged some of the most risqué productions starring the most famous stars of the day. The legendary café-concert on the Paral·lel, which had become an icon of Barcelona’s nightlife, gradually fell into a state of disrepair and closed down in 1997. The local community joined forces to restore the old theatre and, in association with a group of artists and entrepreneurs, made it possible for this unique venue to reopen in 2010.
The landmark sails on the façade of El Molino are spinning round again but this time with a nod towards modernity. A quality programme of performances embracing a variety of musical genres provides a welcome addition to the cultural and recreational offerings of the other theatres in the area, such as the Apolo, the Victòria, the Condal and the Arteria Paral·lel. The night-time ambiance and the entertainments to be found on this section of the Paral·lel, have earned it the monicker "Barcelona’s Broadway ".
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