Madrid is renowned for its nightlife and is said to have more bars per capita than anywhere else in the world. If you want to ditch the beers and sip on something a little more elegant, discover the best cocktail bars the city has to offer.
1862 Dry Bar
Bar, Cocktail Bar, Spanish, Pub Grub, $$$
This relative newcomer on the Madrid cocktail scene is located in the achingly cool neighborhood of Malasaña, but brings a dash of old-school glamour to the barrio. The barmen are friendly and knowledgeable and will rustle up a vintage cocktail classic for around €8 ($9). Head downstairs where you can sink into the large sofa and revel in the speakeasy vibe.
This firm neighborhood favourite is also located in the heart of cool Malasaña. The vibe is laid-back and welcoming and the décor, from another era entirely. The whole bar is peppered with interior pieces from the 1950s, 60s and 70s, which makes it feel like you’re stepping into a grandma’s old living room (and we mean that in a good way, of course). Go for Lolina’s signature cocktail: the mojito and add a gooey wedge of cake for a bargain €10 (US$11).
Del Diego is one of Madrid’s most famous cocktail bars and a great place to enjoy a beautifully prepared cocktail or gin and tonic. It’s a family affair, with Fernando’s sons both working in the bar as well. This glamorous haunt is located just off the Gran Vía, in the heart of Madrid’s exciting nightlife scene.
Spain’s oldest cocktail bar retains an air of bygone glamor that saw Hollywood starts like Ava Gardener and Frank Sinatra rub shoulders with some of the most famous bullfighters of the day. Today it continues to attract the stars, who love its cozy booths and Art Deco vibe. It’s the ideal place for a romantic date night and conveniently located right near the great nightlife around Gran Vía.
Located in the trendy, gay neighborhood of Chueca, Macera TallerBar is becoming a real local favorite, despite it being quite new on the bar scene. Its USP is that it makes all of its own spirits using natural ingredients; the spirits sit in clear bottles behind the bar. For a truly artisanal cocktails guaranteed to include natural ingredients only (which might well leave you with less of a hangover in the morning), this is a great place to visit.
FJX960 Platea Madrid Market. Calle de Goya 6. Madrid, Spain | Lucas Vallecillos / Alamy Stock Photo
Perched on the fourth floor of Platea, a restored 1950s theatre in the swanky Salamanca neighborhood, El Palco (The Box Seat) serves high-end cocktails and affords visitors an incredible view over the former theatre (now full of food stalls and bars) towards the stage, which these days hosts DJs and performers.
The place to see and be seen, The Roof is a rooftop bar with incredible views over Madrid’s tree-lined Plaza Santa Ana and beyond. Get dressed up and enjoy a glamorous night above the city’s rooftops sipping on one of their signature cocktails.
This Madrid institution (and a very reputable one at that, despite what the name might suggest) has an English gentleman’s club vibe and, during the early 20th century was the place where politicians, poets and intellectuals gathered to debate over a perfectly mixed cocktail. Later it was the favored hangout of the Hollywood crowd, and has attracted some of the world’s biggest starts – from Ava Gardener to George Clooney – ever since.
Not just a cocktail bar, the rooftop of this arts and cultural centre has the best views over Madrid; its panoramic vistas offering you a 360 degree view over some of the city’s most famous sights. Head up there for sunset and recline on one of the terrace’s comfy beds as you watch the city turn from day into night. This is also where you can get a glimpse of the iconic view of the city’s Gran Vía and its much-photographed Metropolis sign. It costs four euros to access the rooftop.
This modern bar on the edge of Malasaña has fast become a favourite with locals. Its interior vibe is inspired by New York drinking dens and it serves an excellent range of gins and cocktails. Grab a seat at the long wooden bar and settle in for the evening.