Malasaña is one of Madrid’s most hip neighbourhoods, stemming from its role as epicentre of La Movida Madrileña
, a counter-cultural movement that emerged after the death of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco in 1975. The 80s Malasaña: gritty, underground and alternative has made way for a 21st century version: a hipster hangout
that retains its rebellious edge and is an excellent destination for a Madrid night out. From traditional taverns to cosy cocktail bars, we take you through the best of Malasaña’s nightlife.
Malasaña’s young residents like to rub shoulders with its oldest in the neighbourhood’s traditional taverns. Casa Camacho – an excellent example of one of Madrid’s truly authentic old bars – is heaving every evening, with people spilling out onto the streets. Order a vermut de grifo (vermouth on tap) and enjoy the free tapas. It has steadfastly refused to jump on the hipster bandwagon and we love it all the more for it.
Calle de San Andrés, 4, Madrid, Spain +34 915 31 35 98
Lolina Vintage Café
Lolina’s is a firm neighbourhood favourite, its vintage-inspired decor the ideal backdrop for early evening beers or late night cocktails. It is renowned for its mojitos and also offers cocktail and cake deals, which makes it the ideal dessert spot.
Calle del Espíritu Santo, 9, Madrid, Spain +34 915 23 58 59
Bar, Spanish, $$$
One of Madrid’s best craft beer bars is located in the heart of Malasaña. It has its own mini-brewery at the back of the bar where it brews its own artisanal beers. Many traditional Madrid bars just have one or two beers on tap, so this is a great option if you want to sample some Spanish beers made on sight with some serious love and attention.
Calle de Valverde, 29, Madrid, Spain +34 915 21 87 53
Café de la Luz
Bar, Cafe, Spanish, $$$
Café de la Luz
This laid-back gem is a firm favourite with locals, and step inside its vintage-inspired interior and you’ll soon find out why. Whatever time of day, the bar is bustling with people enjoying everything from a morning coffee to late-night cocktails. Interior design fans will love its decor: from vintage sofas and accessories to paintings by local artists.
Calle de la Puebla, 8, Madrid, Spain +34 915 23 11 99
Madrid might be landlocked, but that doesn’t mean you can’t visit the beach. Vacaciones cocktail bar is decorated like a chiringuito, or beach hut, and embodies the laid-back coastal vibe. Grab a seat at one of the wooden tables and enjoy a cocktail under the fairy lights strung across the ceiling.
Calle del Espíritu Santo, 15, Madrid, Spain +34 911 70 40 15
1862 Dry Bar
This stylish cocktail bar brings a touch of Prohibition-era glamour to the neighbourhood. Head downstairs – a romantic, cave-like space – where you can order at the cute mini-bar and check out the cage of alcohol (yes, you heard right). Cocktails are lovingly hand-crafted and a good deal at around €8 (US$9). Try the Mary Pickford – a rum and pineapple juice mix named during Prohibition after the silent film actress.
Calle del Pez, 27, Madrid, Spain +34 609 53 11 51
Head to the beach in the heart of Madrid at this popular Malasaña bar/restaurant. It hides a sandy secret downstairs: it’s ‘playa’ or replica beach – a sandy space with low tables and giant cushions to sit on. Kick back with a cocktail and imagine the waves lapping at your feet.
Calle de San Andrés, 1, Madrid, Spain +34 915 23 27 47
La Vía Láctea
La Vía Láctea opened its doors in 1979 and saw many of La Movida’s movers and shakers hit its dancefloor. Today, it is still going strong and is a firm favourite with locals. Expect cheap drinks, quirky decor and a playlist of indie, rock, Britpop and electronica.
Calle Velarde, 18, Madrid, Spain +34 914 46 75 81
MADKYLN weaves together the look, feel and music of Madrid and Brooklyn, playing a mixture of rock, pop, indie, soul and garage as well as putting on regular live shows. Open until 3am, it’s one of the neighbourhood’s liveliest bars and is usually packed on a weekend.
Calle de San Andrés, 12, Madrid, Spain +34 915 32 36 71
La Casa del Pez
A must-visit for fans of gin and tonics, La Casa del Pez is a popular local bar, with reasonable prices to match. The barmen are friendly and the atmosphere is welcoming and laid-back, with groups of friends catching up over a cocktail.
Calle Jesús del Valle, 1, Madrid, Spain +34 674 78 46 36