After Dark, Madrid Begins to Wake Up
By Sarah Rogers
Buenos Aires Local Expert
Ready to get your blood pumping? The Spanish capital is a lively destination with plenty of dance clubs and even more people ready to enjoy them. From pop and goth to rock and R&B music, you’ll find it in Madrid and both locals and visitors will be dancing to it all night long. In fact, Madrid’s dance clubs tend to get going when clubs in other cities have long since closed. And don’t forget all the after-hours clubs, either!
Tip: For the ultimate Madrid nightlife experience, you’ll need your stamina – head out for dinner at 10 pm, enjoy a leisurely meal, go have a drink or two at a bar or three, arrive at the clubs anytime after 2 am, dance your pants off until the sun comes up, top it off with some Spanish hot chocolate and fried churros, and then tumble into bed for a well-deserved rest!
And feel free to mix it up and sample all the clubs you can handle. You tend to find younger crowds in Malasaña, more refined crowds inSalamanca, the biggest crowds around Gran Via and Sol and more gay-friendly crowds in Chueca. But whatever your tastes, you’ll be sure to find it in vibrant Madrid.
"Come for the shows, but stay for the drinks and dancing" seems to be the motto. With its retro outlook and miscellany of live entertainment, Berlin Cabaret draws a diverse crowd (old, young, preppy, alternative � everyone seems represented there) for dancing, drinks and a variety of shows � it seems like there's a new one almost every night. Most recently Berlin Cabaret has had flamenco dance, burlesque, Bollywood dance and drag queen performances. However, while the live shows are scheduled for almost every day, the place still works as a nightclub and bar even when there aren't. (+34 913 66 20 34)
This rocking discoth�que is a great place to hang out with the locals during the week and blend in with the tourists on the weekends. Pach� provides a steady stream of people with whom to talk or dance. There's constant music, and the dance floors are always packed. METRO: Tribunal. (34-971-19-10-00)
Fulanita de Tal
Fulanita de Tal is loud, proud and overwhelmingly feminine. Although known for its primarily lipstick lesbian clientele, the small Chueca bar and nightclub welcomes all patrons who are respectful of others and looking for a good time. Here the music favors popular Spanish and international hits picked to get people pumped and dancing. As a result, people aren't afraid to dance in the reduced amount of space available in the nightclub's two floors. Besides the club scene, Fulanita de Tal also occasionally has events like karaoke nights, live music, live comedy and watching important local soccer matches. (915 22 02 06)
Madrid is one of those rare cities where the goth scene is still going strong. And you'll find plenty of proof of that at Dark Hole, Madrid's best and longest-running goth club. Side by side, die-hard goths and black-clad club kids dance to their hearts' content down in the depths of the club's rooms while resident and guest DJs spin music that skews heavily to gothic, industrial and dark 80s hits. While for many years it was located at Mesonero Romanos off Gran Via, Dark Hole's newest home is in the heart of Chueca on Pelayo. (N/A)
Located in the Malasana neighborhood, Tupperware is a pop culture themed alternative rock bar that is popular among Madrid's twentysomething crowd. Tupperware's resident and guest DJs spin mostly rock and pop music that run the gamut from yesterday's mainstream to today's indie. You will know you are in the right place when you reach Tupperware's colorful facade and then step inside for the bright decorations featuring lots of pink colored accents, including the old hollowed out televisions that serve as the base for dioramas with different plastic figures. Do check out the interesting mural on the lower floor's back wall. (914 464 204)
A stone's throw away from the Puerta del Sol and open every night of the year, the Joy Eslava theater is part nightclub and part venue with regular dance sessions as well as occasional live shows and concerts of varying musical styles. The place has several bars distributed over three floors, which wrap around the main floor area - a design no doubt due to the building's origin as a 19th century theater. But now a giant disco ball hangs from the ceiling. During the regular dance sessions, pop is the most prevalent thing you'll hear. (913 663 733)
This cavernous old industrial warehouse has been kitted out with all the latest gadgets to please a youngish, house- and techno-loving crowd. Expect a throbbing 60kw sound system and a main hall with a triple-level stage for the extravagant dance groups and go-gos. Add megatrons to squirt freezing nitrogen into the crowd, colored lasers, six giant video screens and even an outside terrace complete with a river running through it. Fabrik's out-of-the-way location is not ideal, but at least noise complaints don't dim the sound. METRO: Fuenlabrada, then bus 496 or 497 (699-909681)
Kapital is Madrid's mega nightclub with seven floors of bars, dance floors and recreational space. They regularly have different theme nights and sessions, including an early evening session for teenagers. The first floor is Kapital's largest dance space, which plays house music and regularly features go-go dancers. The second floor is where the karaoke happens and the third floor has the hip-hop dance space. The fourth floor has a bar area and fifth floor the pop music dance floor. The sixth floor is dedicated to chill out with chairs and films playing while the last floor is in the open air and has billiards. (91 420 29 06)
Ocho y Medio
Another giant hit from the Trip Family stable, this long-running night knows exactly what Madrid's clubbers seek and dishes it out without snobbery. Expect the characteristic "impossible mixes" from resident DJs Smart and Luiliminili who somehow make leaps from Blondie to Beck to the Soho Dolls and Ladytron sound entirely feasible. The main vibe is eighties and nineties, but there's also a smattering of electro pop and New York rock. (91-541-3500)
A line snakes round the block by the old Palacio de Prensa cinema around 3am. Follow the queue to Ohm, one of a variety of club nights held at this 3000-capacity venue. Although everyone is welcome, Ohm nights mainly attract a gay following. A trendy, muscled-up and label-conscious young crowd flirts and boogies to very danceable sweet and soft house music. Much of the same crowd turns up on Wednesday nights here for a rather outr� 1am cabaret show. METRO: Callao (91-531-0139)
About Sarah Rogers
Born and raised in northern California, Sarah grew up to become an expat, traveler and wordsmith. She spent seven years in Madrid, Spain and now calls Buenos Aires, Argentina home. She has had the privilege of visiting 15 countries and working as a writer and content consultant doing what she loves best: facilitating intercultural communication through the written word.
Read more about Sarah Rogers here.