This street really reveals the hidden cafes and restaurants favoured by Madrileños such as La Brocense which is on this street.
Do not miss the 16th century pharmacy on the corner of calle Lope de Vega and calle León. On the outside of the pharmacy there are azulejo tiles and inside at the back of the shop as you go into it is an old till from when the pharmacy originally opened. On calle Lope de Vega itself there is also the convento San Ildefonso (which can be easily missed as it does not stand out from the buildings around it) where Miguel Cervantes is buried (the convent is not open to the public but a plaque on the outside of the building telling us that Cervantes is buried here is what you need to look for). Do not be fooled into thinking that this street is where Lope de Vega lived. The house where he actually lived is preserved as a museum and can be found on the next street on the right called calle Cervantes. Calle Lope de Vega is also a short cut to the Prado museum from Antón Martín metro station. If you follow calle Lope de Vega to is end it will bring you onto the paseo de Prado and the Prado museum is in front of you across the boulevard.
Nearest metro station: Antón Martín
Exit Antón Martín metro station and turn left onto calle Atocha. Cross calle Atocha and take the next street on your right. This is calle León. Go up calle León
and take the third street on the right which is calle Lope de Vega (you will see the pharmacy on your right hand side on the corner of calle Lope de Vega)
Calle de Lope de Vega, 30, 28014 Madrid, Spain
+34 914 29 00 99
Google map: bit.ly/UCdgcY
Do you want to finish your night out in Madrid as a proper Spaniard? This is your bar! Pure flamenco atmosphere with gypsies and Andaluz performers will delight your night until 6am. If you are lucky enough you can attend jam sessions downstairs where famous flamenco players and dancers drop in with their guitars without previous notice so you will never know who is performing until you get there. That's what I like! Amazing music and company to finish your Madrid night out as a real flamenco dancer - you cant miss it!
Calle del Olmo, 2
+34 91 467 33 82
Hours: 11pm-5.30am, Sat&Fri till 6am
Google map: bit.ly/K2ENuO
Very nice arty Jazz club and although in the famous Calle Huertas, is not touristy in that sense. Two sittings and the repertoire changes every a few days.
I can rightly claim the "hombre más baratas en Madrid" crown after surviving a weekend on €38.
The Madrid Metro – the Orient Express compared to the London Underground – runs from the airport to city for a paltry €2. Visit the Parque del Retiro and explore the Crystal Palace art installations, monuments including the beautiful but sinister El Angel Caído, go boating by Alfonso XII's grandiose statue, then watch free street performers and puppeteers. Sip your sangria and toast the Madrid teleférico's 40th anniversary at the terminal bar: the skyline's not as exciting as Barcelona but it's relaxing and cheap.
Window-shop the Gran Via and continue to Plaza de España, Teatro Real, Palacio Real and Plaza Mayor for some classic Spanish architecture. Don't miss the El Rastro fleamarket on Sundays: calling it a flea market is a disservice to the sprawling city of stalls filled with delicious food and exotic crafts. It covers several blocks and gets very crowded so mind your valuables.
Madrid's gloriously rowdy tapas bars were out of my budget so I made do with the supermercado for flavoursome food. Ubiquitous Carrefour City and Express stores stock tasty Iberico ham, chorizo and other Spanish treats at unbeatable prices.
From horrific realisation to splendid sunny weekend of exploration, Madrid is perfect for a Spanish holiday on the cheap.
Metro - €2 one way from airport to central city, daypass tickets available. www.metromadrid.es/en/viaja_en_metro/tarifas/billetes/contenido07.html
Teleférico - €5.10 round trip, Paseo del Pintor Rosales, nearest metro Arguelles. www.teleferico.com/tarifas
El Rastro - start at Puerta de Toledo metro from 10am on Sundays. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Rastro
Parque del Retiro (and other locations) - madridspain.ca/attractions/retiropark.html
Carrefour store finder (use Google translate) - www.carrefour.es/
Don't join the long line of people waiting to get in the Prado. If you are with your kids go to the Reina Sofia instead and see some marvellous contemporary and modern art paintings like Picasso's 'Guernica'.
After, go to the café/restaurant for some great food and of course a bottle of wine from the Ribera Del Duero region, superb.
Teatriz restaurant in Madrid is a fantastic restaurant designed by Philippe Starck, converted from an old theatre. I had lunch there on Christmas Day with my family to celebrate my wife's birthday and it was one of the best meals I have ever eaten.
Calle Hermosilla 15, Tel.91-577-53-79
A state-run arthouse cinema showing a range of different films. All films are shown in original version, with Spanish subtitles if required. Screenings are eclectic - I've seen some gems I'd never have watched otherwise, some bona fide classics and some "I'll go because it's in English and cheap" bilge. Listings can be found in Guia del Ocio, or with film notes at the cinema itself.
Tickets on my last visit cost just under 3€.
The main screen is a fabulous old salon, complete with balcony and boxes. The whole cinema is housed in a fin de siecle building which has starred in at least one Almodovar film.
As with any Spanish museum, morgue or meeting place there is a cafeteria serving coffee and snacks on site.
If anyone feels like having a pleasant evening with candlelight and intimate ambiance, try 1917 Blinis & Vodkas. They have a good assortment of smoked fish (salmon, tuna, herring, etc) on top of freshly baked blinis and a choice of 30 different kinds of vodka from Estonia, Russia, Poland, France, Argentina, etc. And the location is perfect: next to the Teatro Real (Madrid's Opera House).
Calle de la Independencia 1, 911 429 800, Opera metro station, bar1917.com
You can laze around feeling really decadent in this place. A chilled bar experience awaits you as you are served contemporary modern European food as you stretch out and your weary limbs recover from a day pounding the streets of the Spanish capital.
There are plenty of sidrerias (cider bars) in Madrid, but this one in the gay-friendly Chueca district is a huge stand-out for the quality and, especially, the quantity of the complimentary tapas. 1.50 a 'caña' isn't cheap, but you'll get a steaming pile of piggy, bready delights along with it, and that's every time you take a drink.
Also a great place for vast filled 'bocadillos' (baguette sandwiches), and various other tasty 'raciones'. Just watch out for complimentary paella - myself and others have been laid low by food poisoning for some time after a visit. The fact that I'm still recommending the place tells you just how good it is.
One final thing - get there early if you have any kind of designs on a table.
c/ Infantas, metro Chueca
Ignore the photo of Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock they've got hanging from the wall and wedge yourself into this small bar/restaurant for some fine, fine food.
Pedro Almodovar is said to love the place. After a few raciones it's hard to disagree. They deserve recognition for their liberal use of olive oil if nothing else.
Calle de la Libertad 4-6;
Tel: 91 532 12 19;
Art work hangs from the lime green painted walls and exposed pipes at this trendiest of hang-outs in Chueca. It's laid-back and an ideal escape from the nearby mania of Gran Vía. The staff are sound enough to knock off any euro cents you might be missing for your cafe con leche.
11 Calle Colón, Tel. 91 522 9107, Metro Gran Vía
A friendly bar dedicated to making the perfect caipirinha. The music policy plays homage to Miles Davis and all trumpet players of his ilk. Don't expect to find any chocolate con churros here.
Calle Huertas 55, Tel: 91 429 78 61, www.trochabar.com
A traditional tapas bar in a funny old corner shop.They serve good ham and gulas (funny little eels). It's a cool place to visit because it is on the edge of the red light district and run by a very camp couple. They serve drinks, bitch with customers and chase out drunks and undesirables whilst neatly arranging your ham and goats cheese tapas. We felt welcomed and entertained. Check out the wig shop down the road.
Calle Hortaleza, Chueca
Near to the Paseo del Prado there are narrow streets with lots of bars and tapas bars. This one was fab. It is full of groups of young people. The decor is scruffy-glass beads dangling in the window, green splodges on the walls and menus on pretend paint palettes. It says "pulperia" on the window and octopus is definitely the best thing to choose. We also had razor clams and green chillies. The service was really friendly and the wine was cheap and good. It didn't seem super happening at 1 on a Sunday morning, but a great place to chill out.
Calle Jesus, Centro
Chueca is recognised as a gay neighbourhood in Madrid city centre, popular for its bars and discos of the same description. During the daytime there's a very tranquil, liberal vibe to the area. Then at night, especially on the weekends, it comes alive and everybody, gay or otherwise, mix together and have a great time. A perfect place for gay couples, free of prejudice.
I have just done Victory Over The Sun in the San Cristobal de Los Angeles metro station, 15.06.06. This is a club with no dancing, which is a refreshing change from the formulaic local clubs.
For a cover charge of 60 euros you can drink as much Cava as you wish (the bar only serve Cava) and watch/participate in performance art (much blood letting). Live Electronic music was the order of the day, which allowed easy communication between the sexes unlike the Madrid dance clubs.
Many of Madrid’s club elite were in attendance, including many club owners and promoters, which may indicate that change is coming on the scene. Victory Over the Sun is based in Dublin and will not return to Madrid until November 06. I believe that it will trigger a sea change in Madrid’s nightlife that will bring it into the 21st century.
San Cristobal de Los Angeles metro station among other venues;
tel: +44 7901 853 216
This is an awesome place in Madrid to drink a coffee or beer, or to have breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They have great salads an desserts (my girlfriend ate more than 4 cakes). I love this restaurant and I love Madrid.
Isaac peral 4 (Moncloa); tel: 34 91 543 2009; www.vangoghcafe.com
Wonderful wine and tapas bar that is small enough to get to know the owners well and who may even treat you to a glass of cava gratis! The tapas are amazing and the design of the bar is intimate yet light and airy unlike many tapas bars. Very reasonably priced (for a student!).
Chueca, Calle Pelayo 24
Metro: Chueca. Turn left off Plaza Chueca and Pelayo runs parallel.
After a visit to the fabulous Palacio Real a rest and a drink might be needed and the ideal place for this is just a stroll across the road to the Cafe de Oriente situated in the beautiful Plaza Oriente next door to the Opera. In summer you can sit outside on the terrace, admire the view of the Palace and its gardens and watch the Madrilenos walk their dogs, collect their children from school or meet up with their friends at the next table. Despite being next to one of the main tourist attractions the cafe is mainly patronised by the locals and is a brilliant place to people watch especially during the opera season when it is fun to watch the fashionable Madrilenos meet for their pre-opera drinks. The elegant mirrored interior in the style of the Belle Epoque is inviting on a chilly winter evening and is the perfect place to enjoy a drink and a tapas before heading off to one of the many traditional restaurants in the area.
Cafe de Oriente
2 Plaza de Oriente; metro Opera
Open daily 8.30am-1.30am
Fri, Sat. 8.30am-2.30am
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