Nothing is more seductive than the forbidden. Any good Madrid guidebook will tell you about hidden corners of the city, places to escape from curious tourists, spots only true hedonists can access. They are secret bars and restaurants. You'll find them in the most unusual places, like a luxurious home décor shop, a seemingly everyday apartment, or a parking garage of an upscale home. If you haven't come across any, don't fret – we've created a treasure map of sorts for you, with lesser-known places in Madrid where you can dine, knock back a beer, or savour a cocktail.
You pick up the phone, make a wish, and the owners of Le Cabrera make that wish come true in their clandestine flat, located in C/Piamonte, 20. Whether it's a lavish private birthday party, an exclusive tasting, or pretty much any event you can think of, you can have your own private cocktail bar at El Back, which is built like a regular flat, but you choose where you want to have your drinks and who you want to share them with. Advance booking required.
When the lights of the wonderful décor shop Kikekeller are turned off, others are turned on – those of their secret bar. After you've marvelled at the gorgeous furniture such as roller-skate magazine racks, ingenuous teapots and eclectic lamps, you can discuss it all with your friends over a glass of wine, a cocktail or a refreshing beer. Just make sure that your mates are as hip as the surroundings. When you feel like calling it a night, you can take the bar with you: everything they sell can be bought to take away as well.
You won't find a bar with a more eccentric location in Madrid than the Palermo. Located in the garage of a chalet in Arturo Soria, behind the door of this attractive place you'll find a rock paradise that few know about. It's reminiscent of a New York speakeasy during Prohibition, it's the underground version of the glamorous Cotton Club of the roaring '20s – and so there is something irresistibly exciting about the place. It's quite the spot to surprise someone you want to impress.
Considered by many to be one of the best stocked bars in the city and the holder of several culinary awards, this tavern has a lofty menu with food served in both the bar and the restaurant area. Here you can try preserved food, homemade smoked produce and a magnificent 'salmorejo', as well as more consistent dishes like pig's trotters and tuna cooked to your instructions. All complemented by an excellent wine list. And, if you prefer, many of their dishes can be taken home to enjoy with your own bottle of wine.
From the mild flavours of Asia to the fiery spice of the most select markets in Latin America. Chef Jaime Renedo travelled halfway round the world before opening his exclusive restaurant in a small décor shop on Travesía de San Mateo. The pleasure is twofold: as you walk among Asian masks, antiques and lovely decorative pieces, your eyes are just as hungry as your stomach, and once you're seated at one of the seven tables, that hunger increases, thanks to the mix of exotic fragrances and flavours of their set menu.
You'll find this little café inside an architecture studio, where, once you cross the threshold, you're transported to the 1930s thanks to the music, white wicker chairs, and vintage furniture. Theirs is a full and varied menu, including salads and small dishes to toasts with scrummy toppings, quiches, pork loin and Lebanese pasties. You'll definitely want to try their home-made pastries and cocktails. Weekends are all about their spectacular brunch, but bear in mind that since the space is small, you should really book in advance.
You've never tried sashimi like this. Very few have been in this select club located in C/Alcalá, which has re-created a WWII Japanese bunker inside. There are at least two differences, of course: this one's in Madrid, and it's one hideaway where you'll want to stay.In addition to the succulent temaki, niguiri and tartars, the kitchen's other strong point is its Kobe beef. The oxen are massaged with sake, and they drink beer and top-quality water. One word of advice: if you order food to take away, be sure to do it well in advance of when you want to eat.
A furniture store that is transformed into a stylish cocktail bar at night. On the lower floor, with African decor, you’ll find plenty of the well-to-do sitting on the sofas, enjoying the soft lighting and cocktails at somewhat inflated prices. The chameleon concept is not as amusing as it once was, but the place is still popular.