Madrid's bars: Where to go after work
To many English speakers the concept is nothing new, but going to a bar for drinks straight from the office has caught on in Madrid, and it has a name: ‘afterwork’
Mon May 5 2014
The Spanish used to say, 'Let's meet for a few beers after work', but something has happened, and the trend of making up words that sound English as well as going to get a drink when leaving the office, combined with bars opening earlier than they once did, has led to a new term, and now you'll hear the calls of 'Let's go for an "afterwork"' when the day is done. If you're not working in Madrid, you'll still appreciate this list of bars that have adapted their drinks menus and even their decor to get in on the new fashion. From the cheapest to the most exclusive, these are the most stylish 'afterwork' bars in Madrid.
- Price band: 3/4
A few metres from El Retiro, in one of Madrid's most exclusive neighbourhoods, this establishment is minimalist and warm at the same time. At the entrance you’ll be greeted by your host – an impressive statue of a black horse which also serves as a lamp. In addition to the bar, decorated with lamps, designer chairs, and a number of lounges with black leather Chesterfield sofas and comfortable poufs, The Gin Room has a VIP area for the most discerning guests. Premium-quality gins and drinks are also on offer. It’s a place that will leave no one indifferent.
- Academia, 7, 28014
- Price band: 1/4
Set in the basement of the renowned Teatro La Latina, this place has been given a dreamlike air, complete with a stage curtain and vintage furniture. Food options include salads, muffins, sausage and a variety of cakes. Varied clientele and lots of quality gin and tonics served from after-work hours till closing time.
- Pl. de la Cebada, 2, 28005
This classic brasserie looks to London and New York for inspiration and adds its own roguish touch. In addition to tasty food, you can order sophisticated cocktails served with care by the friendly waiters. The decor is simply stunning. Thick curtains (in true cabaret style) separate the entrance from the premises, and the large bar with sturdy wooden stools contrasts with the beautiful bottles that fill the walls and the modern gilded lamps made of tubes. This place has pulled off the magical trick of successfully combing the old and new to produce a completely harmonious effect.
- Paseo de la Castellana, 74, 28046
- Price band: 2/4
Weekends bring the crowds in to this tapas bar. Maybe it's thanks to the croquettes or the home-made meatballs, but it's the 'cocido' stew that's really made Casa Pello a household name in the north of the city. Here you'll find local traditional food, such as the exquisite grilled meats. The terrace fills up fast when the weather's fine and for post-work drinks.
- Alberto Alcocer, 49, 28016
- Price band: 3/4
This beautiful English-style bar is all red leather armchairs, with an imposing bar and small café chairs that add up to a luxury and sophisticated decor. The big draw here is what's behind the bar – the bartenders and their cocktails, including concoctions such as the Versace and the acai mojito. They even make an everyday drink like the vodka tonic something special. Surprise is key here, and new cocktails are invented to celebrate special dates, or you'll find the interior terrace filled with flowers to welcome in spring. The clientele is distinguished, and it's usually only the big-money-earners who can afford more than one drink.
- Juan Bravo, 25, 28006
A perfect blend of the modern with the most redeemable elements of traditional Spanish folklore, this place has flamenco in its soul, while at the same time being a rabidly contemporary bar. The chairs designed like ornamental combs, the large orange armchairs lining the wall, and the beautiful portraits of young women wearing mantillas all make this a very attractive place. In addition to a fine food menu there's a nice list of cocktails and premium drinks. The clientele tends to be thirtysomethings who like to come here to chat while moving to the beats of the music.
- San Mateo, 28, 28004
Inside El Mercado de la Reina there’s a space reserved exclusively for G&T fans. After eating at the market’s restaurant, a lovely, quiet, chill-out style space awaits to help you with your digestion before leaving. Cocktails here are made with great care, with the bartender following all the canonical steps before your very eyes, from the lemon twist to the splash of tonic water. It’s a modern and sophisticated spot to go to with friends for good conversation.
- Reina, 16, 28013
- Rated as: 3/5
- Price band: 2/4
This place belongs to a successful Basque restaurant chain and is always packed full. It’s a good option if you’re out shopping in the area. Its bar is heaving with the Basque tapas known as 'pintxos' (with dozens of seasonal specialities) and a quieter eating area upstairs where you can dine a la carte at one of the long shared tables.
- Fuencarral, 49, 28004
The modern (almost futuristic) decor of this beautiful cafe enchants from the first moment. Its huge bar, contemporary bar stools and sombre but comfortable chairs and tables make for a really cool looking space. In this nightclub you can dance to refined chart topping pop music, as well as live Caribbean music which will get your hips moving to irresistible Cuban rhythms. After enjoying sophisticated cuisine during dinner, take a look at their extensive cocktail list. As soon as you cross the threshold you’ll realise that this place practically demands a gin and tonic.
- Silva, 4, 28013
- Rated as: 4/5
- Price band: 3/4
With Ricard Camarena, one of Spain's greatest chefs, as their consultant and his right-hand man in the kitchen, this splendid restaurant with decoration by Philippe Starck offers gorgeous products, flashes of creativity and reliability in each dish. If you want to surprise, they have a room designed by David Lynch.
- Pl Independencia, 4, 28014