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. BarCo


    One of Malasaña's most popular nightclubs, for both its live shows (funk, jazz, and more) and late-night DJ sets, BarCo is a guaranteed good time....Read More

  • 2. Bendito Vinos y Vinilos


    This unassuming stall inside Mercado de San Fernando is a wine-industry hangout—one of the city's top spots for sampling hard-to-find natural and biodynamic wines from...Read More

  • 3. Café Berlín


    For a space so small, Café Berlín packs quite the acoustic punch and draws an international, eclectic crowd. Before midnight, catch nightly live music acts...Read More

  • 4. Café Central

    Barrio de las Letras

    Madrid's best-known jazz venue is swanky, and the musicians are often internationally known. Performances are usually 9–11 nightly, and tickets can be bought at the...Read More

  • 5. Cafetín La Quimera


    The noncentral location of this old-fashioned flamenco tablao keeps the touristy crowds at bay. Choose between a full dinner package (prices vary) or a €20...Read More

  • 6. Cha Chá the Club


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

  • 7. Clamores


    Jive to live jazz concerts and world music until 5:30 am on weekdays and 6 am on weekends. Check the website for performance listings and...Read More

  • 8. Cocó Madrid


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

  • 9. Macera Taller Bar


    The age-old technique of maceration rules at Macera, where bartenders treat spirits like blank canvases, imbuing them with surprising flavor combinations. Gin, for instance, is...Read More

  • 10. Pavoneo


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

  • 11. Sala Equis

    La Latina

    This uber-trendy cinema-bar hybrid occupies a former adult film theater. The first floor is a high-ceilinged bar with bleacher seating, deckchairs, cushy sofas, and an...Read More

  • 12. Salmon Guru

    Barrio de las Letras

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

  • 13. Teatro Kapital

    Barrio de las Letras

    Easily Madrid's most famous nightclub, Kapital has seven floors—each of which plays a different type of music (spun by top local and international DJs, of...Read More

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