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. Toma Café

    Malasaña | Cafes–Nightlife

    The originator of Madrid's third-wave coffee revolution, Toma is a Malasaña institution and a favorite among expats and coffee-geek locals....Read More

  • 2. Café Belén

    Chueca | Cafes–Nightlife

    The handful of tables here are rarely empty on weekends, thanks to the candlelit, cozy atmosphere. Expect a young, mixed crowd. Weeknights are...Read More

  • 3. Chocolatería San Ginés

    Sol | Cafes–Nightlife

    San Ginés is to Madrid what Café du Monde is to New Orleans. A national sensation, for generations this 19th-century café has been frying spirals...Read More

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  • 4. Delic

    La Latina | Cafes–Nightlife

    This warm, inviting café is an all-hours hangout for Madrid's trendy crowd. Homesick travelers will find comfort in Delic's carrot cake, brownies...Read More

  • 5. Lolina Café

    Malasaña | Cafes–Nightlife

    Diverging in spirit from the stuffier baroque-style cafés of the neighborhood, this romantic spot with mismatched vintage furniture attracts...Read More

  • 6. Radio

    Barrio de las Letras | Cafes–Nightlife

    This bar in the ME Madrid Reina Victoria is split between a bottom-floor lounge, ideal for after-work martinis, and a more exclusive rooftop...Read More

  • 7. Gau&Café

    Lavapiés | Cafes–Nightlife

    Along with the theater on the neighborhood's main plaza, the reconstruction of the Escuelas Pías—an 18th-century religious school burnt down...Read More

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