Nightlife in Madrid

Nightlife in Madrid, Madrid, Spain (D)

This guide is intended for visitors to Madrid who want to take advantage of the world famous Spanish nightlife in this capital city. In a town with bars on every corner, this guide will point out 30 of the gems with a special focus on live music, clubs, and places with good drinks and a good vibe. Besides specific site descriptions, this directory will outline the principle neighborhoods around the city center where you'll find yourself.

Madrid is a safe and peaceful city full of some of the most social and friendly people on Earth. As you head out, remember that the best entertainment will come from the diverse and interesting characters you'll meet. Though there's a lot to see, the best way to enjoy the nightlife in Madrid is to take your time and never turn down a side-trip or a casual conversation. It helps if you speak Spanish, but is by no means required. Enjoy!
How it works: The full article is featured in the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" on Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Download the app to your mobile device to read the article offline and create a self-guided walking tour to visit the sights featured in this article. The app's navigation functions guide you from one sight to the next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Sights Featured in This Article

Guide Name: Nightlife in Madrid
Guide Location: Spain » Madrid
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (D))
# of Attractions: 30
Author: Jeff McCreight
Author Bio: Jeff McCreight was raised in New England but has lived in Madrid for the two years and counting. Besides visiting bars and traveling he writes and makes art whenever possible.
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Café Populart
  • La Fídula
  • Mondo
  • La Boca Del Lobo
  • La Miak
  • Txirimiri
  • La Morena
  • La Rosa
  • Vaova
  • El Maño
  • La Palmera
  • Siroco
  • La Via Lactea
  • Taboo
  • Tupperware
  • Areia
  • El Junco
  • Charada
  • Oeste Celeste
  • Las Cuevas Del Sesamo
  • El Gato Verde
  • Cardamomo
  • La Tabacalera
  • Berlín Cabaret
  • Ojalá
  • La Potente
  • Latina Turner
  • La Candela
  • Sala Sol
  • El Tempo
Café Populart

1) Café Populart

Café Populart is a great place to catch good jazz in a classic small table club. Nightly music rotates between local musicians and touring acts, and is generally quite good. A beer costs five euros, but there's no cover. You can stop in any time, but it's best to arrive before 10pm so you can grab a table. Music every night from 10:30 to 11:30.

You'll be in the Huertas neighborhood which is a short walk from Puerta del Sol: the absolute center of town. Along four mostly traffic-less streets you'll find dozens of bars and clubs. Since Hemmingway roamed these streets sixty years ago, this has been an international encounter point in Madrid, and you can expect to meet plenty of out-of-towners.
La Fídula

2) La Fídula

This no frills bar has been a neighborhood favorite for thirty years. The attractions are a social vibe, cheap beer, and a pick-up jazz band that plays from midnight until they stop. Enjoy conversation at the bar or sit in the dark booths near the band and pay a little extra for drinks.

3) Mondo

Mondo is a player in the European electro club scene. Here you'll meet Madrid club goers in full force including a mix of young playboys and girls and and the city's seasoned clubbers. DJs travel frequently to London and do their best to keep Madrid in the loop. The vibe is casual with no dress code. Cover charge is around 13 euros and includes a cocktail. Keep in mind this club is only open Thursdays and Saturdays and doesn't start to fill up until around 2am. DJs play electro, disco, funk, afro, trance, techno, minimal, detroit and house in a big flashy club environment centered around a dance pit.
La Boca Del Lobo

4) La Boca Del Lobo

This is a fun club on two levels that features funk and soul bands plus DJs. A good night to come is Wednesday with a free open jam starting around 11pm. This event generally attracts good musicians and a big crowd. Weekend events cycle through touring and local bands and DJs spinning funk, mambo, and retro. If there's a cover, it usually won't exceed 5 or 6 euros. Drinks include the basics plus simple cocktails like mojitos at average prices (5 euros for a beer, 8 for a cocktail).
La Miak

5) La Miak

La Miak is a classic hangout for young Madrileños. This is a typical Spanish bar with cheap cañas (short beers) and no frills. Though you won't find live entertainment or chic ambiance, you will find shoulder to shoulder clients chatting it up all afternoon and into the night. This bar is where the locals meet to chat and make plans, and it has a reputation for being the place to hook up if you're looking to make new special friends.

If you had to choose just one neighborhood to explore in Madrid, La Latina would be a good choice. Here you'll find plenty of interesting bars in a compact area along with plenty of picturesque plazas and dramatic views. This is where locals of all ages as well as international types come to drink, eat, and socialize.

6) Txirimiri

This is a famous tapas bar where you can sample modern European cuisine in small helpings (also called pintxos) like foi grois, basil curry shrimp croquettes, or truffles. The atmosphere is casual, crowded, and messy, but the food is highly regarded. Open all afternoon until about midnight.
La Morena

7) La Morena

If you're in the mood for Mexican food, the Latina neighborhood offers up a funky bar called La Morena. With a few different seating areas, the ambiance is relaxed and social. The big attraction here besides the sparkly day of the dead decorations are the cheap eats including tacos for 1 euro 50. Food is served from noon until 5 and then 8 until midnight, 2am on the weekends.
La Rosa

8) La Rosa

This is one of the principle gay bars in the Latina neighborhood, and is a popular hangout for theater and fashion folk. The interior is simple and dark with close tables. The clientele is often boisterous, though it's not unusual to see families earlier in the evening. You can find traditional Spanish food here until late as well as all the usual drinks and cocktails. Closed Mondays, otherwise open until midnight weekdays, 2am weekends.

9) Vaova

This bar used to be an African furniture import store until they decided to add a bar. The upstairs offers a pleasant palm filled ambiance while downstairs is a dark lounge area full of cushions, deep sofas and exotic animal skins. This is undoubtedly the best place to find yourself with a partner for a quiet cocktail mid-evening. Open until around 2:30am. Be warned: the downstairs has a 10 euro minimum per person.
El Maño

10) El Maño

This bar is a remnant of the old style with a marble floor, ceiling fans, and huge casks of wine behind the counter. This bar has recently become popular as a great place to fuel up on cheap tapas and socialize a bit before heading out in ernest. Short beers or wine are cheap and come with a bite to eat like a bit or cheese on bread, some chorizo, or a steamed mussel. Cheap eating hint: half a spanish tortilla with salsa for 4 euros and you won't leave hungry.

La Malasaña is the neighborhood in Madrid where new wave, alternative, and retro culture have taken root. As Mano Chow says: "Me gusta Malasaña, me gustas tu." In a long stretch of narrow streets you'll find one retro, rock and roll, or funk bar after another. Though this neighborhood experienced its heyday during Spain's cultural revolution in the 80s, it still offers up big weekend throngs and plenty of alternative joints.
La Palmera

11) La Palmera

This is a tiny bar across the street from El Maño with a truly classic interior. The walls are hand painted blue tile and woodwork and the bar is a hand hammered relic from the days when the barman rinsed wineglasses in a huge running sink before refilling them from the keg on the shelf. This is a friendly neighborhood bar with good conversation, a relaxed atmosphere, and the best canned music on the block. Open from 8pm until 2:30am.

12) Siroco

This a two floor club with a funk and reggae theme. Cover charge is usually between 5 and 10 euros, but Thursday nights offer up a live reggae band for free between 9:30 and 11:30. Otherwise, DJs spin reggae, dancehall, and funk. This is where you'll find a friendly mix of African expats and the hippy crowd. It's hard to leave without making a new friend or two. Open from 7pm until 3am.
La Via Lactea

13) La Via Lactea

La Via Lactea, or the Milky Way, is a big colorful bar that has been popular with the alternative rock crowd since the new wave "movida" rocked Madrid out of it's fascist slumber in the eighties. There are plenty of nooks here to sit with your crew, have a few beers and listen to retro pop. You'll see the underground rockers of today seeking refreshment here alongside the old guard. The vibe is friendly with plenty of good wall art and old music posters to peruse. Open from 7pm until 2:30am.

14) Taboo

This is the place to see emerging rock acts in the Malasaña neighborhood as well as touring acts passing through. The space features a big stage, an audience pit in front, and two bars. Bands usually start around 10, but check the website for a more accurate listings. Cover is usually between 5 and 15 euros. Open from 8pm until about 3am.

15) Tupperware

This bar offers up further proof that the retro pop vibe is alive and well in Madrid. Usually crowded with young alt rockers, this is a great place to have a few drinks while listening to remixed David Bowie and checking out mountains of antique tchotchkes behind the bar. Upstairs is a small seating area if your dogs are barking. Occasional live acts compliment the regular DJs. Check the site for details. This bar is open every night from 10-3

16) Areia

This bar is popular with young professionals and the urban chic crowd. Besides a huge list of cocktails you'll find deep dark sofas and even a bed plus DJs spinning electro and trance. Those on the scene come to this tropical themed chill-out to see and be seen even though it's hard to see anything in the super dark incense-filled lounge. Call ahead to reserve the bed or the raised platform area by the DJ. Open all day every day until 2:30am.
El Junco

17) El Junco

This funk and soul bar is a great place to go for live music every night or in the wee hours after other bars have closed. After the band, DJs keep the clientele jumping with uptempo soul classics and remixes. It is one the oldest clubs in the country, and frequently has national legends and international acts on its stage, as well as DJs from all over the world. Blues Jam Sessions on Sundays, Jazz Jam Sessions on Tuesdays, and Funk Jam Sessions on Thursdays. Live acts perform between 11pm and 12:30am or so, and DJs carry on until 5:30am Sunday through Thursday, until 6am Fridays and Saturdays. Check the website for listings and cover charges.

18) Charada

This is a big modern dance club with a crazy lighted ceiling upstairs and a red light room downstairs if you want to feel like you're developing photos or riding in a submarine. The clientele are generally flashy and beautiful young clubbers on the scene. Domestic and international DJs spin electro, house, jungle, trance, and techno from midnight until 6am. Cover is usually around 10 euros with an included cocktail.
Oeste Celeste

19) Oeste Celeste

This little ethnic chill out in the Lavapiés neighborhood offers a cozy ambiance, some of the best and cheapest natural food around, and a chance to hobnob with earthy theater types. Of special note is the lunch special starting around 2pm. You'll get a nice plate of wholesome food, bread and a drink for just five euros. Note the selection of homemade cakes for dessert. All afternoon and into the evening you'll find folks lounging on bean bags or at tables in this exotic cafe environment. Weekends often see this place fill up with artsy types drinking five euro mojitos, indian chi, or homemade lemonade. Tuesday is event night with a screening, a spirituality discussion, or music. Open 2 to 12 weekdays, 2-2 weekends.
Las Cuevas Del Sesamo

20) Las Cuevas Del Sesamo

This typical Spanish bar is built into the ancient arched basements, or caves, of this old city. Spaniards and tourists alike gather here to drink ten euro pitchers of Sangría and enjoy the classic noisy ambiance of an old-style Madrid social club-under-the-streets. The grizzled waiters wear maroon jackets and ties to complete the image. Tapas and cold plates available, along with the occasional piano act. Open daily 6:30 to 2am.
El Gato Verde

21) El Gato Verde

This small bar has become popular as a meet up spot for locals enjoying the night life around Lavapiés. Downstairs is a pleasant bar environment offering inexpensive beer and wine and strong drinks for between 5 and 7 euros. Upstairs is a nice lounge with a few small sofas and glimpses onto the street below. Light food is available, and the owner tries to book odd entertainment and events like DJs, storytellers, theater acts, and anything without heavy drums (the neighbors complain) whenever possible.

Lavapiés is the default immigrant neighborhood in Madrid. Here you will find a truly cosmopolitan mix of Africans, Indians, Pakistanis, Jamaicans, Cambodians, Latinos, Moroccans and more. Besides third world textile shops and restaurants, you'll find unique cultural blends here like Indian hairdressers employing Africans to recreate French styles. This is a good place to eat cheap, meet a truly diverse crowd, and see the Spanish melting pot in action.

22) Cardamomo

This is a good destination for those with some money to spend on a nice dinner accompanied by live Flamenco music. The price of the show is 32 euros including a cocktail. 68 euros per person with a full meal included. As the show starts at 9pm, it might be nice to arrive a little bit early in order to get a table and order your food. The show is 75 minutes including at least seven musicians and dancers. Although it seems a bit expensive, you'll get what you pay for: cabaret style seating at the feet of authentic Flamenco musicians in the Spanish capital. On busy nights there's a second show at 11pm, and then a DJ keeps thing lively into the small hours of the morning. Open Tuesday through Sunday, 9pm to 3:30am, check the website for listings.
La Tabacalera

23) La Tabacalera

Spain has a long and distinguished history of squats and anarcho-political organizations. In Madrid, the finest example is the government supported occupation of the old tabacco factory near the Embajadores metro stop. In this expansive compound you can wander among grafittied walls, art projects being installed, theater, circus and music groups hosting lessons or practicing, skateboarders ripping it up, spontaneous dance-parties, and plenty of multi-ethnic urbanites relaxing in groups. Look as hard as you want and you will never find anyone in charge or who even really knows what's going on. Here is a kind of soft chaos where things are constantly happening in spite of, and not because of careful planning. The bar/café alone is worth a visit. Beers and coffee here are just one euro, the ambiance is hippy-chic, and you can peruse the free clothing area if you're so inclined. Very Spanish and very curious, the Tabacalera is worth a wander. Open everyday until midnight.
Berlín Cabaret

24) Berlín Cabaret

Though it costs about 10 euros to get in, the stage at this club is occupied by everything from drag shows to live bands and comedy acts. Drinks and ambiance are on par with other bars in the neighborhood, but this is a good place to drop in for a bizarre late show. Showtimes are 1:30am weekdays, 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30am on weekends. Check the website for details.

25) Ojalá

The yellow and neon interior may seem strange at first, but it gets even weirder downstairs where the floor is entirely covered with white sand and cushions. Notwithstanding, this is a friendly place to have a drink in the Malasaña neighborhood while watching old cartoons projected onto the walls. Keep in mind that this bar also offers really good food and the best cheap breakfast in town every weekday including good old bacon and eggs with coffee for the nice price of 3 euros 50. Open from 9am until midnight on weekdays, 1pm until 2am on weekends.
La Potente

26) La Potente

This is a typical spanish bar serving beer, wine, simple mixed drinks, and tapas. The prices are the similar to other bars in the neighborhood and the ambiance is also normal. What makes this bar worth mentioning is its location in the very middle of the action in the always hopping Latina neighborhood. This is often the place where friends will meet up before heading somewhere else. For this reason it is often a good place to get the lay of land while seeing who's out and about. Open all afternoon until about 3am.
Latina Turner

27) Latina Turner

This is a small dark neighborhood bar de copas (a copa is any alcohol mixed with soda: gin and tonic, rum and coke, and so on) with a friendly clientele and a nice funky playlist. Often crowded with an easy going crowd, this is a nice place to drink a mojito and make a new friend or two before moving on down the line. Open from about 7pm until around 2:30am
La Candela

28) La Candela

This is not a beautiful bar, but it sure is full of character(s). Many famous flamenco musicians have crossed this stage as it has served the function of capital connection for musicians from the south for many years. The musical offerings will be impossible to predict, but often include spontaneous offerings as well as the main act. Authentic sangría and tapas are also available. This bar, named for the famous 18th century bandit Luis Candelas who often hid out in caves similar to this one, is worth a visit for anyone who wants to catch a glimpse into the sometimes seedy, always interesting world of modern flamenco in Madrid. Entry is 6 euros, but only men have to pay. Hours are flexible: more or less 8pm until 3am.
Sala Sol

29) Sala Sol

This has been one of the principle rock venues in town since the late 70s, located right in the middle of things near the Puerta del Sol. Down the spiral staircase visitors will find a large space with two bars and a big stage. Shows cost about 9 euros (drink included) and are followed up by DJs until the wee hours. Concerts start at 11pm, doors close at 5:30am. Check the website for listings.
El Tempo

30) El Tempo

This elegant bar is a little bit out of the way, but it deserves a special visit as it hosts some of the best live soul and funk bands in the city. Local acts alternate with touring groups and include an impressive roster of old legends and new talent. Music acts are downstairs and generally cost around 6 euros. Upstairs is a nice jet set bar with plenty of comfortable seating and good cocktails. Shows generally start around 11pm, the bar is open until 3am. Check the website for specific listings.

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