Cafés with charm
For many years now, this beautiful venue with high ceilings and elegant decor has been the place to get your jazz fix in Madrid. The artists that come here put it among the best of its kind in Europe. George Adams, Don Pullen, Ben Sidran and Bob Sands have all taken the stage, as well as Spanish stalwarts such as Chano Domínguez, Jorge Pardo and the oldest and greatest of them all, Pedro Iturralde. Its classic stone tables are ideal for having a hot cup of coffee while enjoying live music. In charge of the kitchen is a chef from San Sebastián, Juan Miguel Pérez Páramo, aka 'Micky'.
Café de Oriente
The belle époque interior is entirely fake yet utterly convincing, making this one of the most peaceful and elegant spots to flick through the newspapers or recover from the exertions of the Palacio Real opposite. Despite its location, with tables outside on the stunning Plaza de Oriente, the café seems to be as popular with locals as tourists, who are perhaps put off by its air of grandeur.
Bocadillo de Jamón y Champán
A ham sandwich and a glass of champagne? Together? Yes! Though it doesn't seem likely in this bar in the Alonso Martínez neighbourhood, they've managed to find a perfect combination in the pairing. It helps a lot, of course, that they use premium-quality Iberian ham and serve French champagne. Everything in this place invites you to stay, from the chic décor to the attentive staff. The sandwiches are delicious.
The best cocktail bars
This New York–style bar is perfect for women in stiletto heels and elegant men. You can easily imagine Frank Sinatra sitting here with one of their elegant cocktails, which are the house speciality. The bar is king here, serving everything from mojitos and caipirinhas, to international classics like dry martinis and Manhattans, to trendy cocktails like cosmopolitans, apple martinis, mai tais and sex on the beach. They also have some of their own creations such as the Del Diego and El Soltero Tranquilo. The owner learned his trade at Museo Chicote in the 1980s before going on to open this bar.
Its art deco interior is starting to look a bit shabby around the edges, but Chicote is still the doyen of Madrid cocktail bars. This was famously where Hemingway and international press hacks would spend their days sheltering from the artillery shells flying down the Gran Vía during the Civil War. Grace Kelly and Ava Gardner, along with just about every Spanish writer, actor or artist of the last 60 years have passed through too.
The Gin Room
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.
From breakfast to cocktail hour and beyond, this lovely corner of Malasaña, practically touching the Gran Vía, has what you're looking for. Modern yet vintage and industrial at the same time, Martínez Bar has become on of Madrid's most fashionable cocktail bars, and boasts a wide selection of premium gins and first-rate cocktails. With a touch of the New York about it, Martínez Bar owes its success to its menu, which includes tarts, cheeses, a variety of ham, juices and a delicious weekend brunch.
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.
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.