I was recently in Madrid for a one night stop before heading home and it was nice to see the area around calle Barcelona was lively as ever. Lots of low cost bars, tables, light eats and lot of people hanging around having a good time. Several Irish bars.
Dress Code: The area is very casual.
The Plaza of Chueca and the streets around are one of the most picturesque areas in Madrid. Some time ago this area was one of the poorest and marginal spots of the city center, however, in the 80´s, a movement called "La movida" passed like a hurricane through the Chueca district and dramatically changed culminating it with the arrival of the gay community. This circumstance happened at the same time of the design factor and most of the buildings are being rebuilt inside keeping the facades as it used to be.
Also is the place for most of the trendy lounge bars, shops, restaurants and more.
Today it is Madrid´s symbol of freedom and social revindication, and an example of harmonious community life and tolerance.
Dress Code: As you fancy
Many people consider the Chueca district to be the liveliest and to have the best restaurants. You can take metro line 5 to Chueca or walk if you are in the centre - it's just off the Gran Via. The area is a popular part of the gay scene in Madrid.
I went to this bar on one the last nights of my trip to Madrid. I realized that I had walked past it several times previously but never actually went inside. When I did I instantly realized that this is a place that I would definately revisit on my next trip to the Ibearian Penninsula! The atmosphere is very chic and the bar is romantically lit with candles and the brush of several different languages being spoken in the background. There are a variety of seating options. Aside from the normal tables and bar stools you can choose to sit next to your date on the over stuffed pillows while placing your drink order.
Dress Code: I think that you can wear whatever you want...
I was wearing a t-shirt, sneakers, and shorts.
I'd heard that this district of Madrid has a lively atmosphere, so I headed there for a drink.
Chueca is recognised as being the 'Gay Village' of the city. Once a drug ridden/ prostitution area, it is now one of Madrids most fashionable and Cosmopolitan neighbourhoods.
to be continued...
This place is funky and vibrant... in the heart of the Chueca zone, where there's a buzz all around. Set in a long bar/restaurant, surrounded by warm orange backlights interspersed with zebra print walls, this is a great spot for a good bite to eat/share (great-tasting pastas, salads, generous pizzas and fantastic desserts to be tried, tested and of course shared!!)... of course if you prefer to stick to the drinks, the cocktail menu is well recommended... sit back in the lounge sofas and low tables and listen to the tunes spinning out from the DJ of the night.
A great place for people watching, a nice opportunity for a seat and chat with some space which is rare in most bars in Madrid.
Nachos are to be avoided here, as they are quite disappointing value and you can find much better in the neighbouring mexican restaurants, a couple of streets away.
Food served until 02h00, copas (drinks) until 03h00
Free wi-fi connection is also available here.
Dress Code: Be Yourself!!
Wow! What A place... Currently "The" place to be seen in Madrid. Located at the former Reina Victoria Hotel (basically a hip rebranding by Sol Melia Hotels) and dominating Plaza De Santa Ana lies the rooftop bar at "ME By Melia".
Seven floors up and decked out in sumptous furniture, featuring cosy enclosed sofas in neutral fabrics and rustic effects... all on different terraced levels. Great views over the city and and wonderful place to sit and sip cocktails whilst people-watching... ermmm, oh yeh, very sexy bar staff to serve you those cocktails too.
Not cheap for drinks but you're paying for location here also. Do it... an amazing place, well worth the money.
I had a sneak look in the day too... see the other 4 pics!!!
During the daytime, this is a trendy looking cafe and bar. But at night (after 10pm), the downstairs transforms from a lounge-ish area to a dance area.
The website as of Feb 2007 is down but below I've linked to an archive of the website from last year so you can get a feel of the place.
At the Sorroundings of Plaza Santa Ana and Calle Huertas. Here you can find people around their 30s, it's a high market area (prices are high for students to pub in this area) you have from Irish Pubs to theatre-cafes, live Jazz performances, Tapas and even a Hawaian Restaurant.
Dress Code: Well dresed and leave your snickers in your backpack.
Lavapies is a neighborhood just south of Sol centering around the metro stop Lavapies. I am not recommending this area to just anyone though because it is not the place to go if you look like you are carrying a lot of money. The area is working class and home to many new immigrants which means you wont find fancy establishments that apeal to people who want to see and be seen.
BUT, if you are looking for cheap morrocan, arabic and indian food and grocery stores, boehemian bars and tea houses and something a little different OFF the tourist track and within walking distance, this is the place for you. I always go to this area to get great pita bread, tahine paste and other spices. Cafe Barbieri which is similar to Cafe Manuela is in this area, near the Metro Stop of Lavapies.(See picture) Great specialty coffees, hot chocolate and coctails. This cafe feels like you are stepping back in time to a bar that was already getting old in the 20s. With original mirrors on the walls and creaking floors included. Just up Calle Ave Maria from the Metro Lavapies.
Along the street Argumosa which runs to Atocha are several bars popular with expats such as "Automatico" and a great bar de "Tostas" which are like big canapes, toasted bread with tasty and tasteful toppings, and good wine. Farther down is an English language book shop "La libreria de Lavapies." If you go to the end of Argumosa you arrive at the new wing of the Reina Sofia Museum near Atocha.
Morrocan food and gift shops, complete with tea pots and glasses, trinkets and other imported-direct-from-Morrocco things are on Calle Tribulete.
Dress Code: Casual, sans the diamond jewelry.
Widely considered as Madrid's most sophisticated cocktail lounge during the 1940s and 1950s, it attracted famous drinkers like Hemingway and Ava Gardner. Today you can sip coktails and look at the array of pictures from days gone by.
Plaza Dos de Mayo is the heart of the Malasaña district and Madrid´s alternaitve scene and in the summer its a great place to sit at one of the outdoor cafes (if you can find a free table) and have a drink and enjoy the atmosphere. The crowd is mainly 30s and under but everyone is welcome. There are lots of cool bars around this area too. Its not very touristy but very popular with the young and the hip from here and all over.
Dress Code: However you want
Lovely area to go of an evening, although certain spots are quite expensive for a drink. Nice, chilled atmosphere for sitting outside and watching the world go by and plenty of trendy looking wine bars/eateries to choose from.
La Latina is the place where you go on a Sunday afternoon after shopping for Bargins at 'el rastro' the sunday market.
If you are wondering what people do on Sundays, they are in overcrowded bars and restaurants having great tapas or 'cafe con leche'
Dress Code: Spanish people don't overdress. Go casual and comfortable.
La Latina is a great neighborhood in madrid. it is one of the oldest and has many small winding streets making things somewhat hard to find but worth it! on the weekends the cafes, bars, restaurants are overflowing with madrilenos out for the night. you can just sit in one of the squares and watch or go grab a drink and join in the fun.
my favorite place to be at night in madrid.
Dress Code: casual but stylish.