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Madrileños tend to make not one plan for the evening but three or four. While the busiest nights are Friday and Saturday (with Thursday a close runner-up), people seem to go out every night and miraculously manage to work or study during the day.
Nightlife centres on three major districts – Chueca, Calle Huertas (traditional Spanish music, jazz clubs and bars) and Malasaña (mainly bars and clubs frequented by a young crowd). Lavapiés is the new up-and-coming hipster barrio. Guía del Ocio (www.guiadelocio.com) has the run down on what’s on.
Bars in Madrid
A local favourite, this bar is also popular with visitors thanks to the fabulous interior, with its painted tiles of Madrid scenes from the early 1900s. There’s also an impressive zinc bar, with a constantly flowing beer tap and waiters ferrying out drinks. The bar is just off the Plaza Santa Anna.Address:
This is Madrid’s most famous cocktail bar, in part thanks to having preserved its 1930s interior. Sip a daiquiri, and try to imagine American novelist Ernest Hemingway relaxing here during the Civil War. It draws a sophisticated, drinks-aware crowd who know what they like. The drinks menu is one of the best in the city.Address:
Tel: +39 91 532 6737.
Another example of Lavapiés newfound confidence combined with edgy cool is Chinaski, with walls sporting a psychedelic colour scheme, a Guernica-inspired mural and floors covered in broken ceramics. The main pull is the beer, though – Chinaski has an ever-changing roster of artisanal brews on tap hailing from across Europe.Address:
Tel: +39 91 128 3177.
This is Madrid’s most famous cocktail bar and has preserved its 1930s interior – it is easy to imagine American novelist Ernest Hemingway relaxing here during the Civil War. It draws a sophisticated, drinks-aware crowd who know what they like. The drinks menu is one of the best in the city.Address:
Tel: 91 532 6737.
A local favourite and popular with visitors thanks to the fabulous interior, with its painted tiles of Madrid scenes from the early 1900s.There is an impressive zinc bar, with a constantly-flowing beer tap and waiters ferrying out drinks. The bar is just off the Plaza Santa Anna.Address:
Tel: 91 429 3640.
Clubs in Madrid
Café de la Palma
This is the venue of the moment for local, traditional singers, as well as flamenco and Cuban music acts. A regular café during the day, at night it transforms into a Moroccan-style lounge, with early evening concerts and then DJ sets later.Address:
Tel: +34 91 522 5031.
A couple streets over from the important thoroughfare of Pase de la Castellana, Moby Dick plays live pop and rock on weekdays and hosts DJs (reggae and rap) at weekends. The clientele is a charming mixture of foreigners and locals, who always seem to know how to make the most of a night out in the heart of Madrid.Address:
Tel: +39 91 555 7671.
True hedonists in the Spanish capital might want to try out some of the locals’ haunts. A typical night might begin around 2300 with the exotic elite at this upmarket spot. It’s fairly commercial, and very upbeat, with funk and RnB as well as house.Address:
Tel: +39 915 758 652.
Live music in Madrid
International acts play regularly at Café Central, which is widely known as being one of Madrid’s top jazz venues. Besides the musical evenings, it’s a pleasant café during the day, great for an aperitif before dinner. Live performances generally start around 2200, but check the website for listings.Address:
Tel: +39 91 369 4143.
Teatro de la Zarzuela
This theatre is the major venue for zarzuela – a genre loosely comparable to Viennese operetta, which encapsulates the idealised castizo (authenticity) of working-class Madrid. The zarzuela season runs from June to September.Address:
Tel: +39 91 524 5400.
Teatro del Barrio
The hip, up-and-coming neighbourhood of Lavapiés is nurturing possibly Madrid’s most exciting creative hub at the moment. A great example of this is Teatro del Barrio, with its bold and often comical plays, as well as poetry, music, dance performances and more. The bar area also makes for a great hangout.Address:
Tel: +39 91 084 36 92.