When dusk creeps in and covers the barrios of this colourful city, breakfast bars turn into tapas and cocktail lounges as madrilenos leave work to play. In the true sense of the phrase, this 24 hour city is a not stop merry-go-round of eating, working and drinking; therefore the cafe where you picked up your morning churros could well be the best joint to enjoy an after work tipple. Whether it’s a cerveza, mojito or vino de la casa you fancy this is the ultimate list, barrio to barrio, of the coolest places to grab a drink before beginning or ending your evening.
Café Del Real, Opera
Open from 10am till 2am this little café is typical of Madrid, if you’re looking for inventive coffees or a solid cocktail fix Café Del Real is the best place to come downtown. Make the most of your visit and sit upstairs and relax under the low wooden beam ceiling in one of the squishy leather chairs.
El Mentidero, La Latina
La Latina is the bar hopping barrio capital and here drinking and tapas live side by side, so expect jugs of sangria and patatas bravas to be on the menu. This neighborhood is young and trendy, full of 20 somethings who pack into the chicest hangouts. The El Mentidero flamenco bar combines authentic music and great wine with a chilled atmosphere where drinkers gather in large groups around the barrels that serve as tables.
Gaudeamus Café, Lavapies
Unlike its sister barrio La Latina, Lavapies has an utterly different vibe. The streets see a more bohemian crowd with quirky bars which have a rougher, edgier feel. This café is a true diamond nestled at the very top of a grand old building with stunning views of the crumbling, ruined church. The large terrace is always buzzing with chattering friends and the fun, pop art interior provides light relief after a long day.
Taberna Alhambra, Huertas
When darkness descends Huertas comes to life and a deluge of spirited party goers hit the streets making this barrio the hub of late night activity. This old tavern stands out among the rest of the bars between Sol and Huertas, due to its extraordinary façade and elegant interior tile work that breathes old charm.
The Geography Club, Salamanca
Salamanca is the land of the beautiful where style and image is key and spotting a Real Madrid player is almost guaranteed. The sleek, trendy and rich rule the roads and for every bar there is a designer boutique. I was recommended the Geography Club by a friend and curious, taking to its junior school sounding name, popped in one evening. The bar is both beautiful and convivial. The expansive stained glass windows, round-the-world décor and central table (a converted hot air balloon basket) give the place a unique charm amongst the glitz and glamour of Salamanca.