Just because you’re travelling solo, it doesn’t mean you don’t want to experience Madrid’s legendary nightlife. But when it comes to choosing which bars to visit, the choice can be staggering. Discover some of the best bars to check out if you’re a solo traveller in Madrid.
This laid-back café has a quirky vintage theme and is open all day long from breakfast time to late night cocktail hour. This means its clientele is varied, and includes many people going solo, whether they’re enjoying a relaxing coffee or working on their laptops. The chilled out vibe and friendly staff make it a welcoming spot if you’re on your own.
This tiny bar is an old relic from the Malasaña of old, before it became quite so hip. It is standing room only, which makes mingling a breeze and takes away the awkwardness of sitting alone. It specialises in vermouth, a fortified wine that is Madrid’s most popular aperitif. Don’t worry if it looks packed, just elbow your way to the bar and enjoy the buzzing atmosphere.
Another bar that is often standing room only, La Ardosa was founded in 1892 and is said to have the best tortilla de patatas (Spanish potato omelette) in Madrid. Grab a spot at one of its high tables and enjoy a chilled beer or vermouth. As well as tortilla, it also has a decent menu of tapas classics so is a good spot if you fancy a bite to eat in one of Madrid’s most historic bars.
The run-of-the-mill name belies the lovely old character of this traditional Madrid tavern, located in the Chueca neighbourhood, just off Gran Vía. The bar has been going strong since 1929 and is a local favourite for everyone from the busy mother stopping for a quick glass of wine while shopping on Gran Vía to old couples people-watching from the window seat. There is a good menu of delicious tapas and the atmosphere is friendly. Grab a seat and enjoy.
You can spot Delic, a bar on the beautiful Plaza de la Paja in La Latina, by its polka dot tablecloths. Its menu has both food and drink options, including international favourites like hummus and nachos and a great array of homemade cakes (the banana and dulce de leche is incredible). Sit on the terrace in warm weather and watch the goings on of the square or grab a cosy inside table in cooler weather.
The ‘secret’ rooftop terrace of The Hat, a boutique hostel just off Plaza Mayor, is a great place to meet fellow travellers or just to enjoy a beer or cocktail in the sunshine. Cocktails are served in bags (the new jam jars?) and food options include delicious tortilla de patatas (Spanish potato omelette) and a range of toasts, served with a shot of gazpacho (Spanish cold tomato soup).
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This wood-panelled bar on the popular Plaza Santa Ana was a favourite of Ernest Hemingway, and inside it doesn’t look like much has changed since his day. Waiters are dressed smartly in white jackets but it’s a laid-back place. Grab the window table, Hemingway’s favourite if his picture on the wall above is anything to go by, and enjoy a cold cerveza. There is also an outside terrace if you want to enjoy the plaza atmosphere, but you get a real sense of the bar’s history inside – it has been going since 1904.