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Top 5 bars in… Madrid

Spain’s capital, Madrid, is the jewel in the country’s nightlife scene, with bars to suit all tastes. James Lawrence stays up late – very late – to experience what the city has to offer the discerning drinker.

*This feature was originally published in the November 2017 issue of The Spirits Business

Catalans would probably disagree, but for world-­class nightlife – both raucous and sophisticated – there is no finer destination in Spain than Madrid. Its inhabitants, the Madrileños, may be a diverse bunch, but they all share a love of partying. As such, the city has the highest concentration of bars per capita in Europe. Indeed, the country’s most famous attraction could simply be its sociability and infectious sense of joie de vivre. Spain, and in particular Madrid, is where going to bed early really is a complete waste of time.

However, enjoyment of Madrid’s nightlife options does require a major adjustment to your normal timetable – in the summer, friends and families will often not sit down for dinner until as late as midnight, with most nightclubs devoid of life until 3am. Discerning barflies are also sipping cocktails until the wee hours in one of the city’s many rooftop bars. Enjoying a few drinks alfresco is all the rage in Madrid at the moment, with a plethora of new venues opening all the time. But perhaps the most endearing feature of Madrid’s nightlife is its sheer diversity; enjoy a pre-­dinner cocktail at one of the city’s upscale venues in Barrio de Salamanca or head to La Latina and Malasaña for a grungier, hipster vibe. The city’s bars run the whole gamut, from wood­-panelled wine cellars and smoky student haunts to hole-­in-­the wall venues that have been open for decades and trendy designer places that only permit the beautiful set.

Friday and Saturday nights are, of course, the best times to soak up Madrid’s beguiling night­time atmosphere, but midweek visitors won’t miss out – Madrid’s nightlife literally never stops.

From Monday to Sunday, you can go out until the early hours of the morning and end up eating churros with chocolate for breakfast in any café, along with taxi drivers starting their shift. Madrid rarely takes the night off.

Click through the following pages to discover the top five bars in Madrid, Spain. 

Dry Martini

Gran Meliá Fénix, Calle de Hermosilla, 2

Why can’t all hotel bars be like this? Situated in the most exquisite of locations – the luxurious Gran Meliá Fénix hotel – Dry Martini attracts Madrid’s beautiful set in search of equally beautiful surroundings, top service and world­-class cocktails.

An extensive drinks list, including most of the Spanish wine regions, rounds things off in style.

The Roof at Me Madrid

Plaza de Santa Ana, 14

It was the ME hotel that kick­started the trend of rooftop terrace bars, offering its discerning guests a sophisticated and secluded space to enjoy unparalleled views across Madrid and sip cocktails until the early hours.

The DJ always keeps the party interesting, as does the lavishly designed space, which is embedded in a broken stone wall, complete with purple glass and marble tables.

Mercado San Anton

Calle de Augusto Figueroa, 24B

What could be better than browsing Madrid’s lively gourmet food market before heading to a rooftop terrace for vermouth? One of Chueca’s trendiest venues, the terrace at the Mercado San Anton is always packed in the summer, with locals and visitors enjoying great views, delicious tapas and lots of wine by the glass.

Del Diego

Calle Reina, 12

One of Madrid’s most iconic bars, Del Diego embodies a sense of effortless chic. A mix of professionals, students and couples mingle with an international clientele.

Yet Del Diego is anything but pretentious, and visitors are more interested in having a good time than ‘being seen’. With a large selection of wines and spirits and professional, courteous staff, the place is pretty much perfect – expect it to be packed in the summer.

Glass Bar at Hotel Urban

Carrera de San Jerónimo, 34

In the heart of Madrid’s bustling centre, the Hotel Urban’s striking Glass Bar has become the place to meet before a long night out. Complementing the wide range of cocktails and flawless service is a mouthwatering selection of Japanese­inspired tapas. A hedonist’s dream come true.

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