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. Café Central

    Barrio de las Letras | Music Clubs

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

  • 2. Corral de la Morería

    Palacio | Music Clubs

    A Michelin-starred dinner followed by a world-class flamenco performance in the same building sounds too good to be true, but at Corral de la...Read More

  • 3. Café la Palma

    Malasaña | Music Clubs

    There are four different spaces in this divey local favorite: a bar in front, a music venue for intimate concerts (pop, rock, electronic, hip...Read More

  • 4. Costello

    Sol | Music Clubs

    A multiuse space that combines a café and a lounge, this place caters to a relaxed, conversational crowd; the bottom floor is suited to partygoers...Read More

  • 5. El Amante

    Palacio | Music Clubs

    Blocks from Plaza Mayor, this might be the closest thing you'll find in Madrid to a posh private New York club. Its creative and lush spaces...Read More

  • 6. Intruso Bar

    Chueca | Music Clubs

    Easy to miss (it’s tucked inside a building just a block off Fuencarral), this is one of Chueca's best lounge-bars. There are live DJs and funk...Read More

  • 7. Libertad 8 Café

    Chueca | Music Clubs

    Almost every famous madrileño songwriter, musician, and poet has passed through this timeworn evenings-only hangout (it opens at 4 pm and...Read More

  • 8. Marula

    Palacio | Music Clubs

    Popular for its quiet summer terrace under the Puente de Segovia arches, its unbeatable electro-funk mixes, and for staying open into the wee...Read More

  • 9. Museo Chicote

    Chueca | Music Clubs

    This landmark cocktail bar–lounge is said to have been one of Hemingway's haunts. Much of the interior can be traced back to the 1930s, but...Read More

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