Visit to Madrid
Spaniards average one hour less sleep a night than other Europeans, and madrilenos claim to need even less than that. Proud of their nocturnal offerings they’ll say with a straight face that Paris or New York bored them they don’t retire until they’ve killed the night and a good part of the morning. As the sun sets, terrazas and chiringuitos (outdoor cafesbars) spill across sidewalks. Madrilenos start in the tapas bars of Huertas, move to the youthful scene in Mala-
sana, and end at the crazed parties of Chueca or late-night clubs of Gran Via. Students fill the streets of Bilbao and Moncloa. Madrid’s gay scene, centered on Plaza Chueca, is fantastic. Most clubs don’t heat up until around 2am; don’t be surprised by a line waiting outside at 5:30am. The entrada (cover) can be as high as ‚ 12, but usually includes a drink. Bouncers on power trips love to make examples; dress well to avoid being overcharged or denied. Women may not be charged at all.
EL CENTRO: SOL, OPERA, AND PLAZA MAYOR
In the middle of Madrid and at the heart of the action are the grandiose and spectacular clubs of El Centro. With multiple floors, swinging lights, cages, and disco balls, they meet even the wildest clubber’s expectations. The mainstream clubs found amid these streets sire often tourist hotspots; as a result, a night of fun here is the most expensive in the city. El Centro includes more territory than Madrid’s other neighborhoods, so make a plan for the night and bring a map.
Palacio Gaviria, C. Arenal 9. M: Sol or Opera. A grand red carpet leads to two huge ball-rooms-turned-club-spaces with dancers and blazing light shows; it’s the most exceptional of Madrid’s grandiose discotecas. Cover ‚9-15. Open M-W llpm-4am, Th 10:30pm-6am, F-Sa llpm-6am, Su 9pm-2:30am.
Suite, Virgen de los Peligros 4, off C. de Alcala. M: Sevilla. Classy restaurant, bar, and club boasts nouveau tapas by day and sleek drinks (‚6) by night. Mixed crowd. Open daily l-5pm and 8pm-3:30am.
Joy Madrid, C. del Arenal 11. M: Sol or Opera. A well-dressed crowd parties the night away to disco, techno, and R&B on a 3-tiered dance floor. Cover Su-W ‚12,Th-Sa ‚15. Open daily ll:30pm-6am.
El Barbu, C. Santiago 3. M: Opera. Chill to lounge music in a 3-room brick interior. Cover ‚8. Open June-Aug. M-Th 10:30pm-4am, F-Sa 10:30pm-5:30am; Sept.-May Tu-Sa 8pm-4am.
Kathmandu, C. de Senores de Luzon 3. Right off C. Mayor from Puerta del Sol, after Plaza Mayor and facing the Ayuntamiento. M: Opera. Jammed with locals dancing to high-energy techno and acid jazz until the wee hours of the morning. Cover ‚7, includes 1 drink. Open Th midnight-5am, F-Sa midnight-6am.
Although madrilenos have never settled on a nickname for this neighborhood, the area between C. San Jeronimo and C. de las Huertas is generally referred to as Huertas. Once a seedy area and a Hemingway hangout, Huertas has shaped up to be a cultural hotbed of food and drink. Though quieter than El Centro, Malasana, and Chueca, Plaza Santa Ana, Calle del Principe, and Calle de Echegaray offer some of the best bars in Madrid.
Kapital, C. Atocha 125. M: Atocha. Thumba la casa (bring down the house) on 7 floors of discoteca insanity. Dress to impress the bouncer. Cover ‚12, includes 1 drink. Mixed drinks ‚9. Open Th-Su midnight-6am and afternoons F-Su 5:30-1 lpm.
El Cafe de Sheherezade, C. Santa Maria 18. M: Anton Martin. Surrounded by Middle Eastern music and decor, groups cluster around pipas (pipes; ‚7-10) that filter sweet smoke through whiskey or water. Open in summer Su-Th 6pm-2:30am, F-Sa 6pm-3:30am; off-season Su-Th 5pm-2am, F-Sa 5pm-3am.
Ananda, Estacion Atocha 2, Esq. Av. Ciudad de Barcelona. Large outdoor terraza equipped with multiple bars and a 20-something crowd. Check out the white room indoors for a dance. W and Su transform Ananda into a Sundance party packed with crowds to rival weekend nights. Cover ‚10. Mixed drinks ‚8. Open daily llpm-dawn.
Cardamomo, C. de Echegaray 15. M: Sevilla. Flamenco music spins all night. A local crowd dances flamenco occasionally, but come W nights to see professionals do it. Mondays bump with Brazilian and other exotic beats. Open 9pm-4am.
No Se Lo Digas a Nadie, C. de Ventura de la Vega 7. Next to PI. de Santa Ana. M: Sevilla. Head through the garage doors onto the packed dance floor and squeeze in some dancing along your bar crawl, or play a game of pool upstairs. Mixed drinks ‚3-5. Open Tu-W until 3:30am, Th-Sa until 6am.
Trocha, C. de las Huertas 55. M: Anton Martin or Sol. Come here for Brazilian caipirinhas (lime, mint, rum, and sugar drinks; ‚4.80). The delicious and potent drinks (ask for flor de cana) are served in a chill setting with jazz tunes and cushioned wicker couches. Open Su-Th 6pm-3am, F-Sa 6pm-4am.
Visit to Madrid Photo Gallery
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