Madrid

Nightlife, or la marcha, is often drawn out past 6 am in Madrid, and visitors always wonder how locals can get by on (what appears to be) so little shut-eye. Unlike in other European cities, where partying is a pastime geared only toward the young, there are plenty of bars and discotecas with mixed-age crowds, and it's not uncommon for children to play on the sidewalks past midnight while multigenerational families and friends convene over coffee or cocktails at an outdoor café. For those in their thirties, forties, and up who don't plan on staying out until sunrise, the best options are the bars along the Cava Alta and Cava Baja, Calle Huertas near Plaza de Santa Ana, and Calle Moratín near Antón Martín. Those who want to stay out till the wee hours have more options: Calle Príncipe and Calle De la Cruz, lined with sardine-can bars lined with locals, and the scruffier streets that snake down toward Plaza de Lavapiés. But the neighborhood most synonymous with la vida nocturna is Malasaña, which has plenty of trendy hangouts along Calle San Vicente Ferrer, Calle La Palma, and all around Plaza de Dos de Mayo. Another major nightlife contender is is Chueca, where tattoo parlors and street-chic boutiques sit between LGBT+ (yet hetero-friendly) bars bars, dance clubs, and after-hours clubs.

In general, cafés in Madrid can be classified into two groups: those that have been around for many years (La Pecera del Círculo, Café de Oriente), where writers, singers, poets, and discussion groups still meet and where conversations are usually more important than the coffee itself, and Nordic-style third-wave venues (Hanso, Toma Café, Hola Coffee, Federal Café) tailored to hip and hurried urbanites that tend to have a wider product selection, modern interiors, and Wi-Fi.

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  • 1. Pavoneo

    Chueca | Bars/Pubs

    Tourists have yet to discover Chueca's buzziest new gay bar, which caters to well-dressed creatives, selfie-snapping influencers, and models...Read More

  • 2. Salmon Guru

    Barrio de las Letras | Bars/Pubs

    Regularly featured on best-of lists, Salmon Guru is Madrid's—and perhaps Spain's—most innovative coctelería . Come here to impress your boss...Read More

  • 3. Bar Cock

    Chueca | Bars/Pubs

    Resembling a gentlemen's club, this classic—if unfortunately named—bar (est. 1921) with dark-wood interiors and cathedral-like ceilings serves...Read More

  • 4. Del Diego

    Chueca | Bars/Pubs

    Arguably Madrid's most renowned cocktail bar, this family-owned landmark is frequented by a varied, and sometimes celebrity, clientele. Indulge...Read More

  • 5. Domo Lounge and Terrace

    Chamartín | Bars/Pubs

    The NH hotel chain is building a top-notch food-and-drink stronghold north of the city around its Eurobuilding property. Besides DiverXO and...Read More

  • 6. El Viajero

    La Latina | Bars/Pubs

    You can find fine modern raciones here (the ultracreamy burrata stands out), but this place is better known among madrileños for its middle...Read More

  • 7. Fulanita de Tal

    Chueca | Bars/Pubs

    A casual, dressed-down vibe defines this come-one-come-all bar with a mostly lesbian crowd that blasts top 40 tracks until the wee hours. The...Read More

  • 8. Santamaría

    Malasaña | Bars/Pubs

    This cocktail bar mixes vintage design with artsy touches and caters to a laid-back, bohemian crowd. Choose from a variety of not-too-fussy...Read More

  • 9. La Piola

    Barrio de las Letras | Bars/Pubs

    With a bohemian spirit and a shabby-chic interior (a secondhand couch, a handful of tables, and a brass bar) this small place—which serves some...Read More

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