As Madrid came out of the dark ages under Franco, it was Malasaña's liberal-minded and forward-looking youth that helped with the capital's regeneration, commonly known as the movida. The 1980s was when this district of Madrid came alive and while it is no longer as cutting edge as it once was (looking very much to New York and London for its fashion) it is the hippest scene in Madrid.
Malasaña is the area to the north of Gran Via, though the popular part of town was always a little bit further north than the part closest to Gran Via. However, this is now changing, with the "new barrio" known as Triball.
Here are our picks for the best bars in Malasaña. In all cases, the nearest metro stop is Tribunal.
- Address: Corredera Alta de San Pablo, 26
- Open until: 3am.
- What to expect: The kitchest deco since Austin Powers, with Star Wars action figures, Sex Pistols lunch boxes(!) and Godzilla memorabilia adorning the wall behind the bar. The DJ is as likely to play a Sufjan Stevens b-side as the latest hits from The White Stripes and they are always happy to take requests. Downstairs can get very busy, but the upstairs area is usually far more relaxed, with the music at a lower volume and plenty of opportunities to mingle with locals.
- Address: Velarde, 18
- Open until: 3am.
- What to expect: With walls and ceilings covered with pop music memorabilia, you can always expect to hear the best music here. The two floors are always busy, although a part of the downstairs area always seems to get cleared out to make way for dancing. The music is always guitar based, often with an emphasis on 60s bands like The Beach Boys and The Beatles. They also have a pool table (although they cover it on busy nights).
- Address: San Vicente Ferrer, 33
- Open until: 7am
- What to expect: Friday night is indie music night with the house DJ and various guests putting on the likes of The Strokes and The Arctic Monkeys along with older classics from The Ramones and The Clash. But it is Saturday when Nasti's unique style comes to the fore. A mixture of synthesized pop, electroclash and New York disco-punk gets the Madrid crowd going - you'll hear tracks by artists such as Depeche Mode followed by The Rapture or Radio 4. A victim of its own popularity, the small dancefloor can get very overcrowded and it is unbearably sweaty in the summer months.