Chueca is one of Madrid’s most stylish neighbourhoods and the centre of the city’s thriving LGBT scene. It is home to a host of great wine bars where you can discover the joys of Spanish wine, an often under-appreciated but excellent (and excellent value) tipple. While many Spaniards still prefer a beer, wine is becoming more and more popular. Find out some of the best wine bars to explore the next time you visit Chueca, Madrid.
This old tavern opened as a shop selling Iberian ham in 1929, and over the years transformed into a favourite local tapas bar. It has a good range of Spanish wines, all available by the glass, as well as traditional tapas and raciones (larger, sharing plates) featuring Spanish cheeses like Manchego, Spanish hams and sausages. Its warm, wooden interiors are the ideal place for a drink and a bite to eat while shopping on Gran Vía. Grab the window seat if you can; it’s a great spot for people-watching.
This stylish wine bar, restaurant and cocktail bar has over 500 different bottles of wine on offer and more than 50 available by the glass or half glass. The wine bar is led by sommeliers David Villalón and Rubén Moreiro, who will happily and expertly guide you in choosing a superb Spanish wine. And to accompany your drinks, you can make a bespoke cheeseboard to pair with the wine, or dine on the restaurant’s modern versions of Spanish dishes, made using the very best seasonal produce.
A must-visit for wine buffs, Vinoteca Vides goes a step beyond the usual Riojas and Riberas on offer in Madrid. Owner Vicente Herrero opened this wine shop-meets-bar because of his passion for all things vino, especially opening his customers’ eyes to the more unusual varieties of Spanish wine. He makes his own wine and works with small producers across Spain to bring some exciting and under-the-radar varieties to Madrid. Grab a seat at a tall, wooden table and enjoy a glass of something you have probably never tried before.
This old tavern has been going strong for over 100 years and is a great place to sample one of Madrid’s favourite aperitifs: vermouth. White wine fortified with botanicals, this drink, known to many as a key ingredient in a martini, is enjoyed on its own in Spain, often before lunch. Keep an eye out for the bar’s elaborately painted ceilings and a certain Spanish director: Pedro Almodóvar set a scene in his 1995 film The Flower of My Secret here.
This over 100-year-old neighbourhood market was renovated in 2011 and today is one of Madrid’s most popular gastronomic hotspots. There are food and drink stalls spanning Spain and beyond; try mojo potatoes from the Canary Islands or Greek pitas, washed down with a quality Spanish wine. In summer, the market’s rooftop bar is the perfect place to while away a lazy afternoon over a few glasses of wine.
This popular gastrobar and shop offers some of the very best produce from around Spain, from Iberian ham from Extremadura to artisanal cheeses from Galicia, all washed down with a wide-ranging section of wines. Try a Gastronomic Route tasting plate – options include the Ecological (zucchini and dried tomato salad, Mahón cheese shavings and basil dressing, with two glasses of eco wine) and the Galician (octopus prepared in the Galician style with creamy potatoes and paprika and two glasses of Albariño wine).
While the sign outside reads simply Tienda de Vinos (‘wine shop’), the nickname of this legendary old bar, El Comunista, belies its past as a popular meeting point for left-wingers during the days of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. You might be served by one of the two great-grandsons of the bar’s original owner; they’ll be only too happy to offer you some recommendations so you can choose the ideal Spanish wine. The menu consists of Spanish classics that haven’t changed in decades.