Spain Guide


Madrid Nightlife

Spain's artistic and cultural and centre by day, Madrid becomes a partygoers´ paradise by night. They call it the city that never sleeps because there are few places in Europe where you'll find such large crowds gathered in the bars and clubs until after 4am every night of the week.

It's common practice for Madrileños to sit down for dinner at 10pm and after a leisurely meal the night time fun begins. There are fiestas, flamenco shows, gambling tables, music bars, clubs, gay haunts, student hang outs.

When it comes to dining out you can take your pick from back street tapas bars serving delicious local snacks, cheap fast food joints and world class Michelin rated restaurants.

La Broche in Calle Miguel Angel is one of the capital's finest restaurants, frequented by the city mayor and other dignitaries from near and far. Traditional Spanish and Catalan dishes are given some imaginative twists, earning the restaurant two Michelin stars. Specialties include the "turbot con patas de puerco" (non Spanish speakers might prefer not to know that this is fish served with jelly of pig's feet wrapped in onion!)

The highly formal Zalacin in Calle Alvarez de Baena is generally regarded as one of Europe's finest restaurants. Traditional French and Basque recipes are combined to produce flavours which have earned this restaurant just about every gastronomic honour around, including the coveted three Michelin stars.

Restaurante Botin opened its doors just below the Plaza Mayor in 1725 and is believed to the oldest restaurant in Europe. Class Spanish dishes are served in beautiful dining areas which retain their original painted tiles, oak beams and wood burning oven.

The best places to go for lively pubs, cafes and music bars include the Santa Barbara and Dos de Mayo plazas and the paseos of Castellana, Recoletos and Prado. Students and young trendies tend to hang out in the bars of Arguelles and Moncloa.

On warm summer evenings the open air terraces of Paseo de la Castellana and Parque del Oeste throb with life.

Evening entertainment ranges from impromptu street theatre to opera, ballet, classical and pop concerts, theatre and bull fighting. Check the weekly Guia de Ocio entertainment guide and El Pais newspaper for details of shows and events.

The Teatro Real is Madrid's most prestigious theatre a wonderful concert venue and home to the Spanish opera. The impressive Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas is the main bull ring which is also used for shows and rock concerts.

Flamenco is performed throughout the city but one of the best shows is to be found at Café de Chinitas in Calle Torija. You can also see authentic flamenco performed at one of Madrid's most popular tapas bars Bocaito in Calle Libertad.

The Berlin Cabaret in Costanilla de San Pedron is the place for 1930s style cabaret shows with chorus girls, varied entertainment and much bawdy comedy. At weekends the party here keeps going till dawn.

One of the hottest dance clubs in town is El Sol in Calle Jardines where the hip and hyper active dance throughout the night.

For gamblers, there's Casino Madrid in Autovia where there are games rooms, a nightclub, three restaurants and four bars.