Madrid is one of Europe’s most popular destinations for Erasmus students, not least because of its unrivalled and legendary nightlife. From cheap-as-chips beer joints to awe-inspiring rooftop bars, there is something for every student (and every student budget) in the Spanish capital.
There are locations of this nautical-themed chain of bars dotted all around the city. They serve buckets of beer for as little as €3 (US$3.36) and are great places to kick back and relax with a group of friends. There are also food deals – a great option for a cheap dinner at the beginning of the night. Check out La Risueña and Copas Rotas as well, two other bars with very cheap drinks, ideal for a student budget.
Another great budget option in Madrid is 100 Montaditios, a chain of bars that specialise in montaditos, or little sandwiches. It has, as the name suggests, 100 options to choose from, starting from just a euro. There are different deals on each day of the week. On Sundays and Wednesdays every item on the food menu costs just a euro, while on Mondays and Tuesdays you can get a tankard of beer and a montadito sandwich for just €1.50 (US$1.68).
Elbow past the crowds at this extremely popular bar and order a beer or a cider. El Tigre’s popularity will soon be revealed when you are presented with a plate piled high with tapas. It can include anything from patatas bravas and tortilla de patatas to croquettes, jamón and paella. And the best bit? It’s absolutely free with your drink. The plates are piled higher and higher the more drinks you have, so for lining your stomach before a big night of drinking, El Tigre is hard to beat.
This bar, located in Arguelles, close to Madrid’s university quarter, is incredibly popular with the city’s student population. It offers a host of international and national beers, as well as regular drinks deals. There’s usually a bustling atmosphere and a lot of other students – a great place to get to know some locals.
Another student favourite, this bar is located close to the university quarter and is especially popular with British and American students. Nicknamed la cueva or ‘cave bar’ for its cave-like interior, it has plenty of drinks deals to keep those on a budget coming back for more. Try its signature cocktail the Leche de Pantera, a milky drink mixed with different kinds of alcohol. It appears as if by magic out of the cave ceiling above the bar.
This Erasmus favourite is a little slice of Hawaii in the heart of Madrid. It’s located on the popular Plaza Santa Ana, and you can’t miss the bamboo facade of the bar. Once you enter, you’re transported into a different universe. The bar’s downstairs rooms feature volcano decor, which ties in nicely with its signature drink, the Fuerte Volcano – made to be shared between two and eight people and ideal for a group of thirsty students.
This hidden rooftop bar sits atop the über-cool HAT hostel, just off the central Plaza Mayor. The vibe is hip and the crowd is young. It’s a great place to mix with both locals and other foreign travellers while gazing out across the city’s rooftops. The bar offers everything from beers and wine to an interesting array of cocktails served in unusual containers. It also serves some modern twists on Spanish culinary staples, such as the classic tortilla de patatas accompanied by a shot of gazpacho (a cold tomato soup popular in summer).