The madrileños usually do not just do one activity for the evening, but three or four. The result is that you drive here and there, and the journey itself becomes the main thing of the evening. The streets are particularly lively at 4:00 a.m., and some pleasure-seekers even party until the following afternoon. Although the nightlife on Friday and Saturday evenings is particularly busy (closely followed by Thursday evening), the locals go out every night and surprisingly manage to work or study the next day. Maybe the secret of the endless energy lies in the traditional consumption of tapas , the little snacks ?? such as olives, anchovies, chorizo sausage, prawns(deep-fried crabs) and Madrid’s specialty Orejas (pork ears), Callos (tripe), Mollejas ( sweetbreads), snails in hot sauce and beef balls . However, it could also be the viscous hot chocolate that you eat with the sweet, fried churros after a night of drinking. It is only a bit quieter during the holiday season in August, because then only a few restaurants are open.
The nightlife is concentrated in three districts: Chueca (Madrid’s popular gay area), Calle Huertas (traditional Spanish music, chic clubs and bars) and around the Plaza del Dos de Mayo in the Malasaña district (particularly popular with trend-conscious young people). The city’s red light district is on the small side streets of Gran Vía. Madrid’s night scene is diverse – ?? This includes cafes, discos, nightclubs, cocktail bars and flamenco tablaos . Sometimes a bar can hardly be distinguished from a club, as many bars have a dance floor and not all clubs charge admission. When admission is charged, it is usually consumición(Consumption) included. The legal minimum age for the consumption of alcoholic beverages in Madrid is 16 years. It is common for guests to pay when they leave the nightclub and only for a few bars to accept credit cards. Tipping is a matter of discretion.
Information on music events can be found in the weekly magazine Guía del Ocio (only in Spanish), while the monthly English-language In Madrid (available from tourist information offices, in Irish bars and at Barajas Airport) publishes and even updates information on clubs, DJs, bars etc. is free.
Madrid was home to famous cultural figures for a while – ?? the genius of surrealism, Salvador Dalí, and filmmaker Luis Buñuel lived in the city as students; Ernest Hemingway also stayed in Madrid for a while to write his masterpieces here. The cultural scene in Madrid is still very active today. With its unique dance ( chotis) and music style ( zarzuela), the best Spanish actors and directors, a fantastic opera house, palace-like cinemas and numerous festivities that take place all year round, Madrid’s cultural scene can only be described as extraordinarily lively and fruitful.
Every season brings with it a wave of festivities and parades, which mostly have a religious or traditional origin. Probably the most fascinating festival is the Carnaval , which is accompanied by the traditional masked ball, Entierro de la Sardina (burial of the sardine), a week before Lent begins. In May, the San Isidoro Festival is held in honor of the patron saint of Madrid with dance performances, theater productions, zarzuela, pop and rock concerts and outdoor sporting events. July and August are the months of the Veranos de la Villa(Summer in the City), a season of theater, dance, ballet, flamenco and concerts (pop and classical), in which Spanish and foreign artists perform. Madrid also has a lot to offer in autumn (October and November), when the Festival de Ontoño (Autumn Festival) takes place with a number of cultural events (film, concerts and theater), including premieres (in Spanish and English).
Admission to cultural events is reasonable ??, a discount is given on certain days ( día del espectador) ?? – usually on Wednesdays and on the first Sunday performances. Tickets can be reserved through most hotels, but they do charge a fee. It is cheaper to buy tickets directly at the ticket office of the respective event location, even if not all credit cards are accepted, or from the banks – ?? e.g. at the Cajamadrid (Tel: (902) 48 84 88). Tickets for sold out performances are sometimes (but not cheap) available from Localidades Galicia , Plaza del Carmen (Tel: (91) 531 27 32). Tickets for performances in the state theaters (the Comedia, Maria Guerrero, Sala Olímpia, Teatro de la Zarzuela and Auditoria Nacional) are available at the ticket offices of all five venues.
Information about the cultural events in Madrid and the surrounding area can be found in the English-language event magazine In Madrid and in the Spanish weekly magazine Guía de Ocio .
Madrid’s pubs range from dark, wood-paneled taverns to the splendid, tile-decorated Viva Madrid, Calle Manuel Fernández y Gonzáles 7, which depicts typical Madrid street scenes from the early 20th century.
Address: Calle Manuel Fernández y Gonzáles 7, Madrid
Los Gabrieles, Calle Echegaray 17, formerly a gypsy brothel, also has tiles inside that show the triumph of the Bacchus of Velázquez, and is now a respectable bar with a young, chic clientele.
Address: Calle Echegaray 17, Madrid
The Garamond, Calle de Claudio Coello 10, has a magnificent palace-style interior and appeals to a chic, somewhat more mature clientele.
Address: 10 Calle de Claudio Coello, Madrid
Madrid’s most famous pub is the Chicote, Grand Vía 12. The decor is as it was in the 1930s, and it’s easy to imagine how Hemingway relaxed here during the Civil War. The cocktails in the chicote are particularly great.
Address: Grand Vía 12, Madrid
La Mancha en Madrid
There are numerous tapas bars in the narrow streets, such as in Ventura de la Vega, in the areas around Plaza de Santa Ana and Plaza de Santa Bárbara, in Cava Baja and in Calle de Cuchilleros. One of the best is La Mancha en Madrid, Calle Miguel Servet 13 (near the Embajadores subway station).
Address: Calle Miguel Servet 13, Madrid
Chocolatéria San Ginés
At dawn, the partiers head to Chocolatéria San Ginés, Pasadizo de San Ginés 11 (near the Sol) to enjoy chocolate con churros (hot chocolate and churros).
Address: Pasadizo de San Ginés 11, Madrid
Most tourists flock to the clubs around Sol and Gran Vía, but night owls visiting Madrid may prefer to get to know the clubs frequented by the locals. A typical evening begins at around 11:00 p.m. at Serrano 41, Calle Serrano.
Address: Calle de Serrano 41, Madrid
A typical evening begins at around 11:00 p.m., for example at Independecia, Calle de Doctor Cortezo 1.
Address: Calle de Doctor Cortezo 1, Madrid
A typical evening begins at around 11:00 p.m. at Sportsman, Calle Alcalá 65.
Address: Calle Alcalá 65, Madrid
The Fortuny, Calle Fortuney 34, extends over three floors.
Address: Calle Fortuney 34, Madrid
Café del Foro
Café del Foro, Calle San Andres 38, is popular with locals.
Address: Calle San Andres 38, Madrid
No entry is required at Monet, Calle del Padre Damián 23 (in the Hotel Eurobuilding), but you should dress smartly.
Address: Calle del Padre Damián 23, Madrid
The locals go dancing to techno music in Pacha, Calle Barceló 11, late at night.
Address: Calle Barceló 11, Madrid
The fashionably dressed 20 to 40 year olds also like to go to Gabana 1800, Calle de Velázquez 6 ?? – if the bouncer allows it.
Address: Calle de Velázquez 6, Madrid
Café de la Palma
The hippest bar at the moment is the Café de la Palma, Calle la Palma 62. Here you can hear cantautores, flamenco and Cuban music.
Address: Calle la Palma 62, Madrid
Cuando Salí de Cuba
Fans of South American music should head to Cuando Salí de Cuba, Calle Ternera 4. There is Thursday, Friday and Saturday live music from 10.30 p.m.
Address: Calle Ternera 4, Madrid
Pop and rock are played live during the week at Moby Dick, Avenida de Brasil 5 (in the Castellana district), and DJs are invited at the weekend (reggae and rap). The clientele is a charming mix of foreigners and locals.
Address: Avenida de Brasil 5, Madrid
There is a colorful mix in Café Populart, Calle Huertas 22, where guests are offered almost everything – from live jazz, swing, blues, gospel, African music to reggae. Shows take place twice a night, at 11 p.m. and 12.30 a.m.
Address: Calle Huertas 22, Madrid
The Irish Rover
The Irish Rover pub, Avenida de Brasil 7, imports Irish music, folk and country music.
Address: Avenida de Brasil 7, Madrid
Internationally known performers regularly appear in Madrid’s best jazz restaurant, Café Central, Plaza del Angel 10.
Address: Plaza del Angel 10, Madrid
La Riviera, Paseo Bajo de la Virgen el Puerto, features performances by pop stars and the best salsa groups.
Address: Paseo Bajo de la Virgen el Puerto, Madrid
Teatro de la Zarzuela
The Teatro de la Zarzuela, Calle de Jovellanos 4, mainly features Zarzuela, a genre that can be compared to the Viennese operetta, but which addresses the idealized castizo (authenticity) of the working class in Madrid. The Zarzuela season runs from June to September.
Address: Calle de Jovellanos 4, Madrid
Telephone: (91) 524 54 00
The city’s best orchestra, the Coro y Orquesta Sinfonica de Madrid, plays in the Auditorio Nacional, Avenida Príncipe de Vergara.
Address: Avenida Principe de Vergara, Madrid
The city’s best orchestra, the Coro y Orquesta Sinfonica de Madrid, also plays outdoors for six weeks a year at La Corrala, Meson de Parades 65.
Address: Meson de Parades 65, Madrid
Parque del Buen Retiro
In summer, various concerts take place at lunchtime in the music pavilion of the Retiro Park.
Address: Retiro Park, Madrid
The Teatro Real, Plaza de Oriente, performs Spanish and foreign dance and at the same time fulfills its obligation to music and opera.
Address: Plaza de Oriente, Madrid
Telephone: (91) 516 06 60
Teatro de la Zarzuela
The Teatro de la Zarzuela, Calle de Jovellanos 4, performs Spanish and foreign dance and at the same time fulfills its commitment to music and opera.
Address: Calle de Jovellanos 4, Madrid
Telephone: (91) 524 54 00
Centro Cultural de la Villa
Tour dance dancers regularly perform at the Centro Cultural de la Villa, Jardines del Descubrimiento, Plaza de Colón.
Address: Plaza de Colón, Madrid
Telephone: (91) 575 60 80
Teatro de Madrid
The Teatro de Madrid, Avenida de la Illustración, offers modern dance performances.
Address: Avenida de la Illustración, Madrid
Telephone: (91) 740 52 74; (91) 730 17 50
Ballet Nacional de España
The Ballet Nacional de España (Spanish State Ballet) always performs Spanish dance in front of a full house during the Festival de Otoño (Autumn Festival) in the Teatro Albéniz, Calle de la Paz 11.
Address: Calle de la Paz 11, Madrid
Telephone: (91) 531 83 11
Teatro de la Comedia
Madrid has a long theatrical tradition that can be traced back to the Golden Age, and so are classical plays by Lope de Vega (1562-1635), Tirso de Molina (1584-1648) and Calderón de la Barca (1600-81) in Madrid still an important part of theater programs. The season runs from September to June. The Spanish classics are kept alive by the Compañia Nacional de Teatro Clásico, located at 14 Teatro de la Comedia, Calle Príncipe.
Address: Calle Príncipe 14, Madrid
Telephone: (91) 521 49 31
Teatro Maria Guerrero
Foreign and contemporary Spanish plays are performed in the distinguished Teatro María Guerrero, Calle Tamayo y Baus 4, the headquarters of the Centro Dramático Nacional.
Address: Calle Tamayo y Baus 4, Madrid
Telephone: (91) 319 47 69
Twentieth-century plays and foreign classics can be seen in the impressive Teatro Español, Calle Príncipe 25, which was built in 1745 on the site of an older theater that has existed since 1583.
Address: Calle Príncipe 25, Madrid
Telephone: (91) 429 03 18
The Teatro de la Abadía, Calle Fernández de los Ríos, has received great recognition for its excellent productions of international classics since its opening in 1995.
Address: Calle Fernández de los Ríos, Madrid
Telephone: (91) 448 16 27
A good introduction to alternative theater is provided by Sala Triángulo, Calle Zurita 20, where the ACT (American and Classical Theater) and the Madrid Players also stage English productions. Most theaters are closed on Mondays.
Address: Calle Zurita 20, Madrid
Telephone: (91) 530 68 91