Spain Bars & Nightlife
Bars & Nightlife city
Calle de la Reina, 16, Centro
Opened in 1921 (and astonishingly, consistently open throughout the Civil War), Bar Cock is one of the oldest in the city. In the '70s, it was famously a hangout for Madrid's creatives, and today, if you can get past the name, it's a perfectly cozy place to tuck into a gin cocktail surrounded by dim lighting and a generally chill vibe. It never gets too rowdy here, making it the ideal meeting spot for old friends and for having the kind of mellow conversation you can enjoy without yelling.
65 Edit Carrer de Sant Pau, Ciutat Vella
Founded in 1820, Bar Marsella is famous for having served the likes of Dalí, Hemingway, Gaudí, and Picasso. Today, the crowd skews young and university. Its specialty is still abstinthe—i.e. no-joke, strong drinks.
Bitter Cocktail Bar
17 C/Viladomat, Sant Antoni
Hipster cocktail bars are the hallmark of up-and-coming neighborhoods, so locals were surprised that it took so long for a place like Bitter to open up in Sant Antoni. Tardiness aside, there's not much to complain about here—the menu is fully stocked with well-crafted cocktails that are inventive but still utterly drinkable, like the grapefruit margarita, a London mule (like the Moscow version but with gin), and a refreshing grape-centric drink called the Indian Summer. There's a lovely little tapas menu, too, to keep you from getting too wobbly.
Bocadillo de Jamon y Champan
Calle Fernando VI, 21, Centro
The decor at this quaint little spot off Parque de El Retiro is refreshingly bright, with clean white subway tiles, white walls, and brass chandeliers over the bar. There's also something undeniably appealing about the concept of drinking delicate champagne (their list is outstanding) alongside straightforward ham sandwiches. While the airy feel makes it a lovely lunch destination, it's equally fun in the evenings.
Calle de Jorge Juan, 5, Salamanca
Occupying a historic apartment in the swanky Salamanca neighborhood, this members-only club is really Madrid's version of Soho House. Started by the creative team behind the Matador magazine, it offers all of the amenities you'd expect from a private club, including cultural events, live music, art exhibitions, a screening room, and a well curated cultural program with lectures and workshops. The restaurant menu focuses on traditional Spanish cuisine while the bar has an ambitious craft cocktail program, bringing in mixologists and guest bartenders from all over Europe. Take your cocktail into the cozy library, which is stocked with books and magazines from the noir genre.
Calle de la Corredera Baja de San Pablo, 17, Centro
Malasaña has been a neighborhood on the rise for a while now, due in large part to the presence of hybrid operations like Kikekeller. Part retail store, part art gallery, part bar, it's buzzing from early in the morning until late into the night. Owners Kike and Celia are constantly changing around the shop, bringing new offerings into the retail space, rearranging the furniture, and switching out the art exhibitions, so no two visits are the same.
Les Gens que J’aime
286 Carrer de València, Dreta de l'Exaimple
When GP wandered into this bar a few years ago with some friends, she ended up staying all night. Its dark, old-fashioned décor makes it reminiscent of a library in the coolest way. Plus, it has great drinks and good music.
Calle del Espíritu Santo, 9, Centro
This hipster little bar is cluttered with vintage furniture (each table is surrounded by eclectic, mismatched chairs) set in front of a backdrop of '60s-style wallpaper. They actually serve food and cocktails all day, but we like it best for drinks in the evening, when the relaxed vibe lends itself nicely to snuggling up on one of the cozy leather couches in the back. It can get a little crowded after dinner, so be prepared to wait if you arrive late.
59 Carrer del Rec, Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera
Mamainé is on the small side, but it has a really great, relaxed vibe, and it's in a charming neighborhood. It sort of goes without saying that this is where you'll find the best mojitos in all of Barcelona.
2 Plaça Doctor Andreu, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi
Mirablau is a favorite for its prime Tibidabo mountain location, which affords an amazing, panoramic view of Barcelona. Grab a cocktail and a seat next to the huge window overlooking the city—a tough spot to beat.
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