Following the example of the ‘Restaurants I have Eaten in’ series of posts (see the first one here), I will go through some bars I enjoy hanging around. Yeah, they are also an important part of living in Spain and a big motivation for some people to move here, as you may have already noticed.
Note: the concept of a bar in Spain is wider than in other countries: you can be at it first thing in the morning as if it were a coffee shop, have breakfast or a daily lunch menu, get some tapas anytime during the day, or have some drinks (not precisely teas) after dinner as if it was a pub or small disco. Also, while standing up devouring some tapas or “raciones” (larger tapas), do not look puzzled if in some of them people throw papers or leftovers directly onto the floor ignoring nearby bins, or you see entire families (including children) even late in the evening. With that in mind, let’s go out!
- El Diario de Huertas (Huertas area): vintage flavour with some articles and covers of old “diarios” (newspapers) exposed on its walls. You can both have tapas (many of them displayed in transparent refrigerators on its bar) standing up or in a seated area.
- Los Gatos Madrid (Huertas area): on the same sidewalk a few meters away. Similar and retro concept with a more diverse decoration that again brings you to other times in Spain. More recommended for sitting down and eating in its ‘ancient’ (or ‘legacy’ if you work in the IT industry) downstairs lunch room.
- La Chata (la Latina area): non-apt for those who cannot stomach bullfighting since most of its decoration has that theme. Containing a seating area as well… And a supervisor/owner lady with a high seat reserved for her to oversee the space in a very vigilante way. Priceless to contemplate her with a wine and a paella (their star Tapa) during lunch time at the weekend.
- El Buh (la Latina area): I go occasionally on Sunday with my old friends. More modern than all the previous ones, and adequate to share dishes such as different types of “tortillas españolas” (potato ‘Spanish’ omelets), “Huevos Rotos” (‘broken’/scrambled eggs over potatoes), and fried chicken. There are a few locations of this restaurant-bar in other central areas of Madrid such as Chueca.
- Kikekeller (El Pez / Malasaña): art/furniture gallery that also has a bar during some hours, mainly in the weekends’ evenings and nights. Not for eating but definitely a different concept of a bar to what we primarily think of it. Also, not many people are aware that this is also a bar.
- La Bicicleta (Malasaña): at the core of this trendy/hipster neighbourhood. More a coffee bar with delicious desserts. Alcohol and some light food can also be ordered. Its decoration honours its name (or viceversa): “bicicletas” (bicycles) and components of them. Well aligned with the overall spirit of the area.
- Calandria (Malasaña): also known by my friends and I as Dario’s bar since one of the former owners has that name. He is also a friend of mine and his brothers are still running the place. Surf and beach decoration representing the North (Atlantic seaside) of Spain where they are originally from and in the background eclectic music. Food is not their strength although they serve some toasts. Excellent value for money for the drinks.
- Madrid me Mata (Malasaña): strictly disco-bar to enjoy at night and close this list. No food can therefore be ordered there. Back to the 80s combining Spanish and English-speaking music (with their correspondent videos). Decoration about that time centred around the atmosphere of Madrid and this distinctive neighborhood that was the capital of a liberating cultural and musical movement back in those days called “la Movida” following the end of the dictatorship in the 70s.
The last three are very close to each other (and the previous one not far away from them either).
In future entries, I will reflect on my experiences in bars in other parts of the city/region and country. As I have tried to do in this article, I will focus on the ones that you, the reader, might find more appealing and enjoyable.
What do you like most about Spanish bars? Anything you would change? Do you know any of the bars I have previously mentioned? Any other one worth including in this listing?
Links of Interest:
Mahoudrid, El Diario de Huertas
Cervecería los Gatos, History
La Chata, Menu
Tabernas el Buo, La Latina
La Bicicleta, Cyclking Café
Facebook, Calandria Bar
Madrid me Mata, Museo (Museum)