Malasaña is one of Madrid’s hippest neighbourhoods. It was the centre of La Movida Madrileña counter cultural movement in the 1980s, and retains its rebellious indie reputation to this day. Cocktail bars here include everything from vintage glamour hotspots through to modern design setups – the only question is, where will you start?
1862 Dry Bar
Bar, Cocktail Bar, Spanish, $$$
This stylish bar brings a touch of Prohibition-era glamour to the neighborhood. Head to the romantic cave-like space downstairs, where you can order at the cute mini-bar and check out the backlit 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.
This hotspot had an usual start – when left a poignant collection of vintage furniture by her aunt, the now owner of Lolina’s decided to open a bar and furnish it with her newfound pieces. Named after her aunt, the venue is filled with furniture which includes everything from 1970s fringed lamps to ancient televisions and wireless radios. Mix the vintage furniture with a vibrant colour scheme, and you have an excellent backdrop for some late-night cocktails. Go for Lolina’s signature Mojito, or if you’re feeling indulgent, choose a cocktail and cake combo, a snip at €10 (US$11).
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 is the embodiment of laid-back coastal cool. Grab a seat at one of the wooden tables and enjoy a cocktail under the fairy lights strung across the ceiling. Vacaciones does a great range of cocktails and arguably Madrid’s favourite drink – gin and tonic. Cocktails are reasonably priced at around €6-€7 (US$6.70-$7.81).
Head to the beach in the heart of Madrid at this popular Malasaña bar/restaurant. It hides a secret downstairs: its playa, or replica beach, is a sandy space with low tables and giant cushions to sit on. Kick back with a red fruit mojito for €7 (US$7.81) and imagine the waves lapping at your feet. Ojalá also offers a modern and international twist on traditional tapas, so is a great option if you fancy some food alongside your cocktails.
This laid-back gem is a firm favourite with locals, and you’ll soon find out why when you step inside its vintage-inspired interior. Whatever time of day, the bar is bustling with people enjoying everything from a morning coffee to late-night cocktails. It really comes alive when the sun sets, when Madrileños enjoy after-work cocktails like classic mojitos or sophisticated Kir Royals. Interior design fans will love its décor including vintage sofas and accessories, as well as paintings by local artists.
Bar, Restaurant, Spanish, Mediterranean, European, $$$
To step inside ‘The Secret Garden’ is to experience an Arabian wonderland; decorated in lush fabrics draped from the ceiling, and with candles and flowers surrounding the cute little tables, this is a romantic destination for after-dinner cocktails. Make sure not to miss the dessert list – a chocoholic’s dream. Prepare for a bit of a wait or book a table on weekends, when it’s at its busiest.
When this stylish furniture shop/gallery shuts its doors for the day, it soon re-opens as a secret cocktail bar, where those in the know enjoy a drink among the designer lamps, tables and chairs. Almost everything is for sale, so if you enjoy some design inspiration while you sip on your cocktail, this is the place for you. It also holds new art exhibitions every couple of months. A great place for a dash of creativity with your cocktail.