Welcome to Madrid
Whatever Barcelona or San Sebastian might claim, Madrid
remains the most vibrant and lively city in Spain. Prado, Reina
Sofia and other museums and sights aside, it's the late-night
nightlife in the bars, cafes, restaurants and terraces around
the city that visitors find most compelling. And the people:
handsome Latino men and gorgeous pouting women who are
both sexy, friendly and happy to talk to people like you. Too
many good bars and clubs to mention here - look at my list
and live la vida loca.
Bars and restaurants
14 Plaza de Santa Ana, Madrid, 28012.
Telephone:Behind its belle époque exterior, the Hotel ME Madrid boasts a stylish, modern interior. Once the hang out of matadors, the hotel is now a contemporary and fashionable venue, a vibe that carries through into the hotel bar. Only open in summer months, the Penthouse offers rooftop views of the city and is a favourite with style-savvy Madrileños. The terrace boasts cushion-laden sofas from which to soak up said views and a private elevator to whisk guests up from the lobby. The bar serves well-made cocktails, a good range of wines and a nice array of tapas, from light crisp calamares to decadent fried brie. As the sun sets the place comes into its own, luminous in the moonlight, romantic and achingly glamorous.
Sol y Sombra
Calle Echegaray, 18, Madrid.
Telephone: +34915428193The first thing that hits you is white. Tomas Alia’s Sol Y Sombra is a sea of white: ceilings, floors, tables and chairs. Though the exterior does not look out of place amid the other traditional tavernas in Madrid’s Las Letras neighbourhood, the interior tells another story. It’s a gleaming and shimmering space with one purple wall patterned with flamenco combs standing out against all that white. The crowd is busy and buzzy, young and fashionable. Though it shuts early by Madrid standards it makes a perfect stop off en route to a true late-night bar. Be warned: the queue to get in can get crazy at times.
Puerta America Hotel, Avenida de América 41, Madrid.
Telephone: +34 917 445 400The Hotel Puerta America is one of the most visually striking buildings in Madrid. Inside it boasts 12 stylistically different floors shaped by 12 different architects. No surprises then that is has a hotel bar like no other. The creation of architect Marc Newson, Marmo is long, narrow room, with the main focus of the space being a cool, smooth bar of white Italian marble which juts from a slanted, rippled aluminium wall. In front of this people perch on black and white leather seats sipping cocktails while floor to ceiling windows allow light to stream in; an outdoor terrace area adds to the feeling that the bar is bigger than it is. While design is very much the thing here, a bar is still a bar and this is a good one – a great place to start your night in Madrid.
43 Calle Argumosa, Madrid.
Telephone: +34 91 467 02 02Housed inside Madrid’s Museo Reina Sofia, Arola is a gorgeous space. The first thing you notice is the striking red ceiling, you can’t help but look up – it’s dizzying, dazzling. Then you glimpse the shining white tile walls and the sleek bar area. From Wednesday to Sunday the place stays open after the museum closes, cocktails are sipped and a DJ gets people moving. If you get a chance you really have to dine at the restaurant where chef Sergi Arola serves up edgy, innovative food – a world away from traditional tapas.
Buddha del Mar
Ctra de la Coru, Madrid, 28040.
Telephone: +34 913 572 908Buddha del Mar is one of Madrid’s biggest party spots. A seriously glitzy club with its eyes on the celeb crowd, it houses a restaurant, a lounge and a night club all under one roof. The two floor venue has Asian-influenced décor and the place is peppered with Buddha statues (over 250 of the things) and Balinese paintings. Candles glitter from every available surface and the air is tinted with incense. There’s a terrace for chilling out and a large dance floor. The music is fairly mainstream: it’s all standard house and dance stuff. The restaurant serves an appealing mixture of Vietnamese, Thai and Japanese dishes. If you can, try and snag one of the big Balinese beds.
Ciudad de Barcelona 2
Madrid ES 28005
Madrid ES 28005
Ananda is one of the capital's most popular summer clubs. This is partly thanks to its ferocious air conditioning and large airy terrace. But also it is large enough to absorb all manner of clientele, from baby-faced models to Armani-clad metrosexuals. After the entrance line are three spaces: a long laser-lit dance floor that leads to a huge terrace adorned with Hindu shrines, incense burners and bright silk loungers and cushions. The Indian theme permeates the club, except for a futuristically white lounge bar serving cocktails. Resident DJs Juanjo Martín and Hugo play chill-out and classic house at the famous Wednesday- and Sunday-night SunDance parties.
Avenida de la Indústria 82
Madrid ES 28011
Madrid ES 28011
This cavernous old industrial warehouse has been kitted out with all the latest gadgets to please a youngish, house- and techno-loving crowd. Expect a throbbing 60kw sound system and a main hall with a triple-level stage for the extravagant dance groups and go-gos. Add megatrons to squirt freezing nitrogen into the crowd, colored lasers, six giant video screens and even an outside terrace complete with a river running through it. Fabrik's out-of-the-way location is not ideal, but at least noise complaints don't dim the sound.
Palacio de Gaviria
Calle de Arenal, 9
With 12 spaces, this club — in a historic castle ballroom — offers a diverse range of cabaret, performances, dance classes in tango and waltz and music of all stripes. Great international-themed events on Thursday nights. Perfect stop for the all-night party.
Eivissa (Ibiza Town)
Eivissa (Ibiza Town)
This rocking discothèque is a great place to hang out with the locals during the week and blend in with the tourists on the weekends. Pachá provides a steady stream of people with whom to talk or dance. There's constant music, and the dance floors are always packed.