You must have heard stories about the nightlife in Madrid. Clubs that don’t open until midnight and close around breakfast time, bars that draw you in with menus of spectacular cocktails and gorgeous food... With so many brilliant things to do in Madrid, you might think you’d be too tired to go out post-11pm. But make sure you don’t miss out. In Madrid, sampling the nightlife is just as integral to the tourist experience as visiting the city’s renowned museums, lingering at its restaurants or lounging on a sunny terrace with a cold beer. Daunted by this city’s endless array of bars and clubs? These are the 15 nightlife spots you must hit up.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best clubs in Madrid
Best nightlife in Madrid
We all love a good secret hideout, and this is the hottest one in town. Behind the façade of what appears to be a shop that sells tights, socks and various other women's undergarments is a thriving nightclub with three dance floors that can hold a thousand party people. Fans love the wild shows, excellent cocktails and highly rated food they serve up. Expect an eclectic soundtrack to your amazing night, but don't expect to get in if it's not Friday, Saturday or a night before a bank holiday, and doors don't even open until 11.30pm. They don't close again until 5.30am or later, so a fab time is guaranteed for all.
Barbara Ann welcomes you with open arms into a world of pure rock. Sip their signature and seasonal cocktails surrounded by paintings of music legends like Blondie and David Bowie. You can also get something to eat if you like, and we're not talking about pub grub: the menu, designed by chef Pepe Roch, features the most delicious elaborate dishes and desserts. In a place that's open until 3am on a Monday, you'll also have plenty of time to work your way through the never-ending options on the cocktail menu as well.
Ochoymedio is where you want to go for the top indie music of the moment on Friday and Saturday nights. Their big idea is Tres a las Tres (Three at Three): at 3am the resident DJ is interrupted from playing the usual banging mix of indie, electro-clash, electro-pop, new wave and New York rock tunes, and a big local group takes over, playing three of their biggest hits played in the club. And the crowd goes wild.
You might start out all civilised, listening respectfully to the tunes the piano player is treating you to throughout the evening. But at some stage you'll find yourself standing around the world's longest piana and joining in a rousing rendition of someone's favourite song, your drink held above your head, swaying back and forth. The sun could be coming up over the city of Madrid, and you'd never know because you're having the time of your life at Toni2.
This behemoth of Madrid clubs boasts a whopping seven different floors, each one with its own ambience and musical style. Groove to R&B and hip hop, jump around to Spanish disco, get comfy with a cocktail, take it outside on the terrace, watch a bit of a flick on the big screen, or even screw up your courage for some karaoke. If for some reason you need a break, you cannot beat the people-watching from the upper balconies onto the main dancefloor, which is also great inspiration for trying out new moves.
If you find yourself still quoting the original 'Twin Peaks' series, watching the famous dream sequence over and over, or dreaming of a slice of damn-good home-made cherry pie, get yourself immediately to Estupenda. Even the cocktails are ah homage to David Lynch's brainchild: the Laura Palmer is a Bloody Mary served in a plastic bag, and the One-Eyed Jack comes with a poker card. You might even catch a screening, presentation or open mic comedy.
Live music has taken centre stage at El Sol since the 1970s, but that doesn't mean it's had its day; on the contrary, it's still a draw for up-and-coming acts from near and abroad. Concerts start between 8.30pm and 10pm, and club sessions usually kick off at 1am. DJ sets and club nights mean moving your body to rock, rhythm and blues, punk, soul, and hip hop, so there's always a bit of something for everyone in this concert hall and nightclub that's a part of Madrid's living history.
Stay up late with a cocktail menu that was voted the best in Spain by the 2018 Coaster Awards. Diego Cabrera offers loads of classic cocktails, others of his own creation, and new combinations that he's concocted with Pepe Orts, the country's greatest botanist. When you feel peckish, there are plenty of gorgeous little eats. And you won't notice time flying by in the comfy seats, casual surroundings and 1960s-style decor.
Another stellar cocktail menu comes to you from brothers David and Mario Villalón, who also have quite a thing for wine and show it off with their massive cellar. Also sizeable is the space itself, and you can enjoy your night with any number of over 500 varieties of wine on the first floor or bespoke cocktails downstairs. Though no one says you can't float back and forth between the spaces, but just remember to manage the staircase responsibly. And get some food in you with their extra-fresh recipes.
Open just Thursday to Sunday, but until 5am, Ciriaco Brown is the late-night pub in Lavapiés that everyone's talking about. Great attention is paid to all the numerous details, from lighting to fabrics, from the columns to the sizeable cocktail menu, and nothing's more important to Goyo, the man behind Ciriaco Brown, than comfort – he's even got a tattoo dedicated to it. There's always good music on, and you'll be comfortable with the bill at the end of the night as well.
Anyone who goes out in Malasaña at night will name Café la Palma among their favourites. It's got a long history of live performances, with a strong programme of concerts and club nights, and even improv jam sessions and other activities like book presentations. You can sit around a table with your drink, relax in the chill-out zone, or make your way to where the onstage action is in the main hall.
Here's another very-late-night club where you can catch live music and special club sessions in the centre of Madrid. Standing between Chueca and Malasaña, Intruso is also known for its jazz-based jam sessions on Mondays and Tuesdays. Even if Intruso isn't where you start the night, there's no reason not to end up here, as they're open until 5.30am (and on the best nights, even beyond). What better way to make the most out of your night in Madrid than quality live music and reasonably priced drinks?
This is an amazing option for those warm Madrid nights. Up on the rooftop, the lounge of the five star ME Madrid Reina Victoria hotel, called Radio, is a spot where you can dine if you want to, on seasonal and exotic dishes like octopus, suckling pig, and Peruvian-influenced recipes. But the main draws you'll be interested in are the DJ sessions, along with the always-busy cocktail area that features a few original creations. You can also choose to just sink in to a sofa and enjoy a care-free Madrid night.
Not only is The Hat our favourite in affordable accommodations in the city, it's also got this great rooftop space, where you can relax with a cold drink in Madrid's hot months, and still enjoy the ambience and incredible views in the cooler months when the the outdoor space is heated. There are nibbles available at the bar as well, but what you're really going for is the relaxed vibe and those vistas. If you want to get an early start on your night, get to The Hat to watch the sun set with an aperitif in hand.
What a great idea, indeed, to turn what was once an X-rated cinema ('sala x' in Spanish) located in a former mansion into an ultra-hip space with hanging hammocks, wooden benches, lounge chairs and even swings. And besides a bar where you can get food and drink, what else have they done with it, you ask? The programme features acoustic concerts and other activities, but the main attraction is they're still able to put on film cycles, and they're shown in their original language with Spanish subtitles, so you won't miss out if your language skills aren't up to scratch.
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