Ah Madrid…where the sun shines 300 days a year, where locals are called gatos (cats) because they stay out late (or maybe because of an ancient soldier who climbed the city walls) and where you can find the only statue dedicated to Lucifer. Night clubs open at midnight, siestas still happen in afternoons and there are more bars per capita than any city in Europe. The fountain of Cybele, where football victories are celebrated, is designed to flood the chamber of gold at the Bank of Spain if anyone breaks in. You should indulge in the suckling pig cooked in the original oven at Sobrino de Botin, the oldest restaurant in the world according to Guinness. The artist, Goya waitered here as he waited to get into art school , the fire is never extinguished, and Hemingway wrote about it in The Sun also Rises. He called Madrid the ‘Capital of the World’. While bullfighting has lost its sheen, there is so much to entertain the modern Hemingway.
La Venencia for a trip back to the Madrid of the 30’s and one of Hemingway’s favorite haunts is a must bar stop. Low key, authentic and packed with locals this anti-fascist hang out has not changed much in 80 years. Nothing fancy, it serves sherry and tapas. Only. No photos, no tipping, no spitting.
See a football game… Real Madrid is the most decorated team in football history with more champion league trophies than any other team and incredibly passionate fans. Tickets are hard to come by; the stadium is worth a visit even if the team is not playing.
Shop at Sportivo. Gregorio, the owner, has a great eye and is always looking for up and coming menswear brands, while still stocking old favorites. He is renowned for his curation and the store for its customer service. The offered coffee is a must, heralded as one of the best cups in the city.
Madrid never sleeps and its nightclubs are world famous… Blackhaus regularly wins as the best. Expensive drinks, beautiful people, great VIP tables, difficult bouncers. Top hotels may be able to help with passes. A splurge. (Other top rated clubs include Kapital and Opium)
Flamenco may be a Spanish cliché but it is so entertaining and erotic…the skill of the dancers, guitarist and vocalist wows. There are so many places touting performances but the most famous is Corral de la Moreria…. Touristy, yes; but there is a reason photos of celebs line the walls. The restaurant has a Michelin star.
A tapas crawl along Cava Baja and Cava Alta through La Latina is the perfect way to taste these typical Spanish dishes, sample local beers and explore one of the oldest yet hippest neighborhoods in the city. Still within old walls, it has a crazy medieval layout and mix of buildings from all eras of history. Make sure to pop into Casa Lucio for their famous broken eggs. You might even see the King, he loves this place!
I love Madrid! Thank you for finding the hidden gems and fun facts…I will revisit for sure.
It’s time to revisit Madrid
It is and I’ve not visited for a while, need to remedy that.