Raise a Glass at Some of Madrid's Best Bars



While not everyone knows your name when you walk into a Madrid bar, the city’s watering holes have a friendly, intimate appeal that suggests they might. So whether you’re looking to enjoy a relaxed and civilized drink with good conversation, warm up before hitting a raging dance club, sample a few quality Spanish wines or simply tuck into some of that Madrid nightlife you’ve been hearing so much about, Madrid’s bars are great places to get more familiar with this friendly city. As locals tend to entertain their friends in cafes and bars instead of their homes, here you’ll see lots of groups and couples out and about having a good time at all hours. While cocktails in this city typically follow standard international prices, local wines and beers are practically as cheap as bottled water. Consider that just one more reason to embark on a Madrid bar crawl! Then at the end of the night, taxis are easily hailed from street corners throughout the city. 



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Castellana Ocho
Photo courtesy of Google


 

This super smooth bar, restaurant and club (previously known as Jazzanova) has to be one of the slickest places to listen to some mellow jazz sounds in Madrid. With uplit black walls, burnt-umber velvet cushions to lounge on and excellent cocktails, it's an elegant hangout for the city's mature cool cats, many of whom work nearby. In fact, after work is when things get started, with and a gin and tonic being the libation of choice around here. For a breath of fresh air in summer, there's an outside terrace. Castellana Ocho also has a coat check and valet parking. METRO: Colón


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Vinoteca Barbechera


 

Located in the quaint Plaza de Santa Ana, this relatively inexpensive, yet sophisticated wine bar is the perfect place to sample over 300 different Spanish wines over gourmet tapas. Try the foie gras or any of their fresh cheeses along with your wine by the glass or bottle. With its wine cask tables and dim lighting, the Vinoteca Barbechera brings the feel of a winery to the city of Madrid.


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Yet another haunt of the indefatigable Hemingway, Chicote is now a favorite with Madrid's beautiful people and the huge local gay scene. One of the city's finest cocktail bars, it sports a 1940s and '50s Spanish d�cor, and attracts great DJs playing anything from electro-soul to funk and to hip hop. However, the music is kept at a reasonable level so conversations are still possible. You'll find a mixed crowd of locals and visitors attracted to the great cocktails, unbeatable central location on Gran Via and its glamorous past as the preferred hangout of 1950s movie stars like Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly, Bette Davis and Frank Sinatra. METRO: Gran V�a


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Teatriz


 

This former theater is now a trendy bar, café and restaurant. Teatriz, formerly El Teatro Beatriz, combines avant-garde design and traditional architecture to create an artsy and eclectic ambience. The site houses two bars, one cozy and snug and the other spacious and velvety. They both have a good selection of cocktails and spirits. The bar food menu is quite different from the restaurant menu, so don't be afraid to indulge your appetite in one of the bars. The café is open nearly all day as well. Although very upscale, Teatriz is quite popular and attracts an appealing crowd. METRO: Serrano


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Located near the Royal Palace, "The Old King of Wines" bar opened in 1909 and has not changed much since. Inside are interesting photographs of Madrid at the turn of the century. Venture beyond standard tapas to sweet vermouth from the barrel, served with a tiny dipping cookie. The house specialty is "torrijas," bread slices soaked in milk and fried, served with cinnamon and honey. METRO: Ópera


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1917 Blinis & Vodka is a good place to go for a stiff drink and intimate conversation with your love interest. At the small but rather romantic restaurant and bar you'll find a classy red and black interior, dim lights and good jazz classics playing in the background. As its name indicates, the house specialties at 1917 Blinis & Vodka are blinis and vodka, with a choice of savory blinis, dessert blinis and 59 vodkas. Otherwise, there is a nice liquors and cocktails menu, but be warned that they serve their drinks quite strong. 1917 Blinis & Vodka also occasionally holds vodka tasting events.


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Chueca & Malasaña
La Vía Láctea


 

A legend born of Madrid's cultural revolution from the 1970s and 1980s, La V�a L�ctea has been playing rock and roll and punk ever since and still serves up a hip nightlife scene for the local twentysomethings. With the DJ on the ground floor, the place is spread over two floors with and the bar's walls are covered with funky and colorful rock posters from over the years. Come to dance or else to chat with friends over a bottle or two of beer. Note that La V�a L�ctea does beer and mixed drinks, but not cocktails. Regardless, La V�a L�ctea is a must in the Malasa�a neighborhood.


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The Roof is a cool, upscale rooftop bar with the best views in the city and is perfect for enjoying a cocktail or two in a chill out atmosphere. International DJs are also occasionally featured at The Roof. If you want the best seat in the house, splash out and rent one of the cabanas or lounge areas. To get to The Roof, you have to enter the street level entrance and take the elevator straight to the top. The price of admission is one drink. The Roof sits atop an historic hotel (now the ME by Melia) presiding over Santa Ana square.


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Chueca & Malasaña


 

Areia Colonial Chillout manages to combine the personality of a fun Caribbean beach bar, a seductive Moroccan tent and a laid-back Madrid lounge. In short, it's an excellent place to drink and mingle in central Madrid. During the day you can enjoy a leisurely Asian or Middle Eastern meal or relax over some herbal tea, but at night is when the fun begins. The lights are turned down low, the DJs arrive, the music gets better and it gets packed. Also a draw are the excellent drinks and the extensive cocktail menu. During the summer, Areia fills the floor with sand and you're welcome to take off your shoes.


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Guau
Photo courtesy of Desiree Rocio Alvarez

 

If you fancy a good cocktail, then Guau is your destination. With a New York Art Deco style setting and jazz music in the background, this classic cocktail bar offers up all the cocktails and mixed drinks you know and love like the gin and tonic, gimlet, mojito and Cosmopolitan. As the music is played at a low volume and the lighting is only slightly dim, Guau makes a pleasant location for an intimate evening of conversation. A stone's throw from the popular Santa Ana square, Guau (meaning "Woof" in Spanish), it's also curious to note, sits around the corner from Miau ("Meow").


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Meet 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...  More About Sarah

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