Madrid has a lot to offer the average day tripper – museums, art galleries, parks, castles and piazzas. But after dark, the fun really gets started.
No Spaniard worth their salt would hit the town before midnight – and only a lightweight calls it a night before 6am. In Madrid, the night begins with a selection of tapas, some fine wines or beers, and great conversation, and there is no better place to experience this than Huertas.
Huertas is one of Madrid’s most central barrios. It is famous for its nightlife, and tourists are frequently handed flyers for some of the area’s most popular bars.
If this is your first time experiencing the Madrileno nightlife, pace yourself. You don’t want to peak too soon and leave before the fun really starts.
So take a tip from the locals and break up your drinking with a few traditional tapas plates. Huertas has a huge range of tapas bars, and clubs that offer tapas throughout the night. We’ve listed a few of our favourites here:
• Casa Gonzales
Calle de León,12
This famous cheese shop can’t be missed – ask for a cheese plate or try one of their famous tostas with a glass of rich Rioja.
Calle de Echegaray 15
Cardamomo is a flamenco bar, first and foremost. This is where the professional dancers go to show off their moves and over the years it has become a popular tourist attraction. A classic range of tapas are on offer but to be honest, you’ll stay for the music and the infections flamenco spirit.
Calle del Ave María, 44
This place has single handedly reinvented the toasted ham and cheese sandwich. Melo’s is famous for its zapatilla, a thick sandwich oozing with thick ham and cheese slices. The tapas menu here is short, but everything is done well, making it a big hit with the locals. Expect queues at peak hours (between 11pm and 3am).
• La Petisa
Calle de Lope de Vega, 15
A bit classier than your average tapas bar, it is worth going to La Petisa for the look of the food alone. Presentation is everything at this quirky little bar, making it a foodie favourite.
• Casa Alberto
Calle Huertas, 18
Right in the heart of Huertas, Casa Alberto is more authentic than many of its neighbours. It was an old haunt of the bullfighters way back when, and still retains some of that gritty Old Madrid charm. Tapas dishes are likely to includes variations on snail meat, tripe, ox tail and rabbit, so make sure you know what you are asking for before you order!
Calle Huertas, 12
Grown up tapas – this place brings a modern, gourmet twist to traditional Spanish fare. The tasting menu is great value for money and allows you to sample some of the bar’s best offerings. Don’t miss the meatballs with chimichurri and goat cheese fondue.
This information was provided by Insider’s Madrid, who have entertained and delighted thousands of visitors to the Spanish capital with tours of the real Madrid.