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. Cha Chá the Club

    Sol | Dance Clubs

    For trendy twentysomethings, there's no buzzier place to be on Friday nights than this converted multifloor movie theater that erupts into epic...Read More

  • 2. Azúcar

    Barrio de las Letras | Dance Clubs

    Salsa has become a fixture of Madrid nightlife. Even if you don't have the guts to twirl and shake with the pros on the dance floor, you'll...Read More

  • 3. Cocó Madrid

    Sol | Dance Clubs

    This club, with its wild color palette, huge dance floor, and better-than-average cocktails, is best known for its Mondo Disko nights (Thursday...Read More

  • 4. El Sol

    Sol | Dance Clubs

    Madrid's oldest discoteca continues to win over its patrons with all-night dancing to live music (around midnight Thursday–Saturday) and DJ sets. ...Read More

  • 5. Joy Eslava

    Sol | Dance Clubs

    A downtown club in a converted theater, this is a long-established standby that attracts a varied, somewhat bourgeois crowd of locals and tourists. ...Read More

  • 6. New Garamond

    Tetuán | Dance Clubs

    At this hopping venue, popular among Latino locals, you'll find plenty of space to dance (under the gaze of go-go girls), and also quieter nooks...Read More

  • 7. Ocho y Medio

    Malasaña | Dance Clubs

    If you like booze-fueled pop and techno parties frequented by college kids that peak at 3 am, then Ocho y Medio is for you. Arrive before 1...Read More

  • 8. Velvet

    Palacio | Dance Clubs

    Magical and chameleonlike, thanks to the use of LED lighting and the undulating shapes of the columns and walls, this is the place to go if...Read More

  • 9. 69 Pétalos

    Chamartín | Dance Clubs

    Five minutes from Plaza de Castilla, this is a popular club among people in their thirties; there's an eclectic music vibe—pop, hip-hop, swing...Read More

  • 10. Charada

    Palacio | Dance Clubs

    A few blocks from the Palacio Real, this is one of the sleekest clubs in the city, with a huge LED screen on the ceiling, professional barmen...Read More

  • 11. Elástico

    Sol | Dance Clubs

    An indie, hip crowd flocks to Elástico, the Saturday-night (from 1 am to 6 am) pop and indie session at Moon club; it has two different spaces...Read More

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