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Madrid Travel Guide

Madrid’s Best New Cocktail Bars

Courtesy of Chatarra Cocktail Bar

Madrid has long been a mecca for gin lovers, who routinely hop from bar to bar sipping goblets of flamboyantly garnished “gin tonics,” as Spaniards call them, until sunrise. But until recently, those with a taste for well-made Martinis and other classic cocktails had largely been out of luck. Not anymore: The capital is in the midst of a cocktail renaissance, with a new wave of innovative coctelerías—all featuring distinctively Spanish flourishes—that would impress the most discerning mixology buff. To imbibe like a sophisitcated Madrileño, cozy up to the bar at these new hot spots.

By Benjamin Kemper

Courtesy of Tatel
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Where: Barrio de Salamanca

When Rafael Nadal, Enrique Iglesias, and Pau Gasol invest in a restaurant, it’s bound to be hot. Throw in a successful chef with a local cult following—Nino Redruello of Las Tortillas de Gabino—and you have the makings of a long-term success story. The cocktail bar at Tatel may be a place where the elite rub shoulders over expertly made cocktails, but it doesn’t feel stuffy or exclusive.

What to Drink: It’s not often that you come across a port-based cocktail, but the Luciano’s port flip at Tatel makes one wonder why. Shaken vigorously with date syrup, spiced rum, and a whole egg, it’s an unctuous concoction that can double as dessert.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Madrid Travel Guide

Courtesy of Only You Hotel & Lounge Madrid
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Only You Hotel & Lounge Madrid

WHERE: Chueca

The Only You Hotel & Lounge bar has become the go-to spot for after-work drinks among professionals in the Chueca neighborhood. Set in a century-old room that’s been renovated and retouched with well-placed lighting, the space feels stately and timeless. In-the-know regulars pour in for the Dolce Martedi aperitivo on Tuesdays at 7 pm, where a complimentary smorgasbord of Italian appetizers is set out to accompany cocktails.

What to Drink: For something authentically Spanish, try the Elvissa Connection cocktail, which features the rare Hierbas Ibicencas liqueur made from herbs grown on the Ibizan coast. Stirred and served on the rocks with a dash of amaretto and muddled thyme, it’s a refreshing concotion worth seeking out.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Madrid Travel Guide

Courtesy of The Principal Madrid Hotel Bar
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The Principal Madrid Hotel Terraza

WHERE: Gran Vía

It doesn’t get much more luxurious than the rooftop Terraza at the five-star Principal Madrid Hotel, where hotel guests mingle with socialites to the backdrop of 360-degree views. From here, you can gaze beyond Madrid’s iconic skyline—Cybele Palace, Torrespaña, Metropolis Building—to the snow-capped Sierra de Guadarrama mountains. Make sure to arrive well before sunset to lasso a table.

What to Drink: With a jigger of Pedro Ximénez sherry and a garnish of lightly torched rosemary, the Negroni gets a welcome, delicious Spanish makeover at the Terraza bar. The Moscow Lola is equally excellent, blending earl grey-macerated vodka, bitters, and muddled fresh ginger.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Madrid Travel Guide

Courtesy of V Manneken
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V Manneken

WHERE: Malasaña

An antique store by day and speakeasy-style cocktail bar by night, V Manneken (Calle Marques de Santa Ana, 30; +34 622 66 74 99) feels like entering an erstwhile gentleman’s study. Cut-glass decanters filled with Scotch sit on the marble bar top; gold-framed oil paintings accent the walls; and yellowed, out-of-print books sit on tables for guests to thumb through as they sip staunchly classic cocktails like Cream Fizzes, Last Words, and Tom Collinses.

What to Drink: It’s no surprise that the Aviation, a refreshing riff on the Gin Sour, is one of V Manneken’s best sellers during Madrid’s sweltering summer months. A pre-Prohibition throwback served ice cold in a coupe glass, its attractive lavender color comes from an unusual ingredient, crème de violette.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Madrid Travel Guide

Courtesy of Platea Madrid
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El Palco Cocktail Bar at Platea Madrid

WHERE: Barrio de Salamanca

El Palco is an aerie perched on the fourth floor of Platea Madrid, the city’s newest high-end food court that also houses high-end restaurants and tapas bars. Overlooking the main floor and stage, the bar features more than 50 cocktails, as well as the best seats in the house for taking in nightly entertainment ranging from flamenco to jazz to gospel.

What to Drink: The Brandy Crusta, a shaken cocktail made with Spanish brandy, lemon juice, and an oversized furl of lemon peel, will appeal to Manhattan drinkers, while those with a sweet tooth will fall quickly for the Raspberry 84, a boozy fruit slush of raspberry purée and mint.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Madrid Travel Guide

Rodrigo Demirjian
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El Figurante

WHERE: Lavapiés

A casual bar and film-industry hangout located in the artsy Lavapiés neighborhood, El Figurante (Calle del Olmo, 12; +34 666 08 90 13) serves as a meeting place for all sorts of creative types around the city. The venue hosts movie screenings on Tuesday nights, showing alternative and old black-and-white films (a recent pick was the original Batman from 1966). Thanks to the owner’s Argentine heritage, those with an appetite can wash down Fernet-spiked colas with Argentine–style beef empanadas.

What to Drink: Every cocktail offered at El Figurante recalls a famous film. Take a sip of cinematographic history with an old-school daiquiri—featuring crushed strawberries—which appeared in The Godfather, Our Man in Havana, and So You Want to Wear the Pants.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Madrid Travel Guide

Benjamin Kemper
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WHERE: Conde Duque

Pisco is having its moment, and there’s no better place to experience the Peruvian spirit in all its glory than Tiradito, Madrid’s only pisco bar in the up-and-coming Conde Duque neighborhood. Here cocktails are made with ingredients endemic to South America such as a jungle pepper called charamita; a small, husked, yellow fruit called aguaymanto; and the unrefined, whole cane sugar known as panela.

What to Drink: While head bartender Alex Santiváñez concedes that the Pisco Sour “must be the protagonist” of the cocktail list, it’s well worth trying the mojitos, fizzy chilcanos, and any of the 20 homemade pisco liqueurs.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Madrid Travel Guide

Benjamin Kemper
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Beker 6

WHERE: Barrio de Salamanca

One of this year’s most highly anticipated openings, Beker 6 draws a swanky crowd of see-and-be-seen types including actors and celebrities. The bar, resplendent with mirrors and polished gold accents, feels exclusive and intimate—ideal for pre-dinner cocktails or a quiet nightcap. The marinated “cracked” olives shouldn’t be passed up.

What to Drink: The signature Beker 6 cocktail requires scientific precision, and its preparation is fascinating to watch. In an ornate, two-sided kettle, dried hibiscus petals are heated with Ysabel Regina, a French brandy aged in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks. The liquid must be released at just the right moment—before the alcohol begins to evaporate—into an ice-filled glass.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Madrid Travel Guide

Courtesy of Chatarra Cocktail Bar
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Chatarra Cocktail Bar

WHERE: Chueca

To get a feel for Chueca, the trendy, gay-friendly neighborhood just north of Gran Vía, head to Chatarra (Calle de Santa Teresa, 8; +34 911 16 86 66), a favorite local spot known for its carefully made, yet reasonably priced, drinks. While weeknights are best for cocktails and conversation, DJs get the party started—and keep it going late—on Fridays and Saturdays with an upbeat mix of 90s and house music.

What to Drink: The Bloody Polska, a Spanish take on the Bloody Mary that starts with a base of muddled cherry tomatoes and ends with a fino sherry float, hits the spot on a hot afternoon. By night, though, you’ll want more than one ron ronea, a dangerously quaffable potion made with Kraken spiced rum, Cherry Heering, and a touch of pink peppercorn.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Madrid Travel Guide

Render Emotion
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Macera TallerBar

WHERE: Chueca

The age-old technique of maceration rules at Macera TallerBar (Calle San Mateo, 21; +34 910 11 58 10), where mastermind Narciso Bermejo treats spirits like blank canvases, imbuing them with surprising flavor combinations. Gin, for instance, is steeped with fresh cilantro, lime, and jalapeño until it achieves a grassy piquancy that shocks and pleases the palate all at once. Dark spirits more your speed? Choose a whiskey infused with almonds, fresh cherries, mint, or vanilla bean.

What to Drink: Tiki fans shouldn’t miss the Zombie, a spicy blend of allspice-infused brandy, citrus-steeped rum, and fresh pineapple purée. At brunch, however, nothing beats the caffeine kick of Macera’s espresso Martini, a shot of espresso shaken with coffee-macerated vodka and crème de cacao, which they extract on-site from roasted cacao beans.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Madrid Travel Guide