If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then the way to a traveller’s is through their watering hole. So what better way to discover the true essence of one of the finest cities in Europe than via its most notable bars?
Madrid literally has something for everyone, whether you want to soak up some history in a quaint tavern or pose and people watch at a swanky bar, you’ll never be stuck for incredible options.
A great spot to mingle amongst locals after spending a day out gallivanting through the city is Cerverceria Santa Ana. This lively yet cosy spot offers great beers and wines along with some tasty (and great value) tapas. It’s a super affordable alternative to splurging on a swanky restaurant, without compromising on atmosphere.
You’ll do more than taste a slice of history if you frequent Casa Labra. The traditional tavern is steeped in plenty of history to keep you both fascinated and entertained. Having been around for ions, (since 1860 in fact), it famously was the site where the Spanish Socialist Party was founded back in 1879. Much to our delight the décor and style will make you think you’ve stepped back in time too. It has even been name checked in Spanish poet Lorca’s work, so how’s that for a recommendation.
Based in the lively Huertas neighbourhood, this contemporary and stylish bar-cum-restaurant boasts the culinary expertise of Michelin starred chef, Sergi Arola. Cold plates are prepared alongside the barman so revellers can enjoy watching the masters at work and then devour all their hard labour afterwards.
If there’s only one rooftop bar you go to when you’re in the city, the penthouse rooftop at ME should be it. Not only is it an ideal setting for taking in the pretty impressive views of Grande via and Plaza D’Espana from a great vantage point, it’s also worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the streets. Lap up the tranquil club vibes, probably more familiar to heaving Mediterranean coastal resorts, whilst you recline in style on Balinese daybeds to the soundtrack of the last funky house tracks.
The true testament to a great spot is how busy it is, and El Tigre is virtually always brimming with people, so justifiably it gets full marks. Situated just a street away from the famous Grande Via you’ll be able to enjoy generous servings of tapas for free, (yes you read correctly), which come with any order of drinks, and hopefully make a new friend or three along the way.
Featured image © PromoMadrid, author Max Alexander
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to… whose guide to Madrid covers all the best hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, sights, shops and spas.