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Often overshadowed by the bright lights of Barcelona, Madrid can be foolishly dismissed by tourists. Arguably one of the lesser explored capitals of Western Europe, the city boasts a treasure trove of cafes, bars and restaurants waiting to be explored. Although Madrid’s thriving gay scene in Chueca may be well known, the likes of Malasana, Lavapies, Moncloa and La Latina are just a few of the other boroughs with mojitos, tapas and atmosphere to boot. For those looking for a decent cocktail or a yummy pincho, take a look at the city’s top ten insider haunts…
Café De La Luz
Situated in Malasana, Café De La Luz offers the comfort of your grandma’s living room with the benefits of WiFi. Relax in an arm chair and enjoy the in house brunch, which includes a glass of orange juice, tea or coffee, a ‘tosta’ and a slice of cake for €9. Add a glass of cava for €2.50 for a real midday treat.
For the best view of Madrid, look no further than Hotel Melia. Ride up the lift and touch the stars at this swanky rooftop bar. Although the expertly blended cocktails may start at a pricey €15, sitting next to the terrace’s palm trees in the summer breeze is nothing short of priceless.
Montaditos is the ultimate stop for those on a budget. Pick up a pint of beer or tinto de verano (in my opinion, a far superior sister of sangria) for just €1. If you’re a bit peckish, then the deal gets even better – montaditos, or “tiny sandwiches” can be purchased for €1, as well as olives, crisps and salads.
The Passenger is the pinnacle of concept bars. Modelled on a 1920s train carriage, the bar is home to several mahogany booths that feature a rolling country scene on the projection screens above. Blended to perfection, the bar’s mojitos are an affordable €6.
Designed for keen cyclists in the area, La Bicicleta is the ideal stop for coffee connoisseurs. Shabby chic and packed with punters, the café bar houses the Stepford wives of the area as well as the coolest hipsters in town.
The cocktail maestros of Zombie know how to make a mojito. Update your typical minty favourite with a hint of melon, forest fruit or strawberry. The bar’s hummus with truffle oil is highly recommended, as well as the healthy selection of burgers which come in equally delicious veggie versions.
Mercado San Anton
Home to a vinoteca, or wine bar to common English folk, Mercado San Anton in Chueca is the great place to grab a glass of rioja. Clamber up to the rooftop bar for your second tipple and a more scenic view.
San Miguel Market
San Miguel Market is the hub of Madrid’s cosmopolitan food and drinks scene. The indoor market comprises of several stalls dedicated to the best in Madrid cuisine, ranging from croquettes, tortilla, paella, seafood, and so much more. Once you’ve sampled the best tasters you can in the hustle and bustle, finish off your sojourn with a nice glass of vermouth, which is Spain’s delicious signature spirit.
Although La Mucca is better known for its satisfying food menu, its jam-packed cocktail menu should be studied. Raspberry Collins are a yummy and fruity take on the gin classic, and Cucumber Elderflowers are yet another refreshing spirit treat.
La Taberna Descubierta
Located in the touristy spot of Calle Barcelona, this bar near Sol offers an authentic Spanish experience. The hearty portions of pimientos de padron and patatas dos salsas won’t weigh down your wallet, nor will the €5 euro mojitos and refreshingly cheap wines on offer.