As Spain's capital and most happening city, Madrid offers a bar scene that perfectly blends traditional Spanish heritage with sleek, contemporary vibes. From the no-frills neighborhood watering holes populated by Madrid's abuelos to chic, avant-garde locales that are redefining local nightlife, there's a bar here for everyone, no matter what vibe you're searching for on your night out. This roundup of the best bars in Madrid will help you start to narrow it down.
Best Traditional Tapas Bar: La Casa del Abuelo
It can be hard to find a good place to eat near Puerta del Sol, Madrid's thriving central square that, unfortunately, is surrounded mainly by chain eateries and tourist traps. One exception is La Casa del Abuelo, which has been serving good, honest, homemade Spanish food since 1906.
On any given night, you'll find this traditional spot packed to the rafters with madrileños who come from all corners of the city to enjoy the tapas they know and love in a bar that has withstood the test of time.
What to Order: Gambas al ajillo—sizzling hot shrimp served in a garlic butter sauce with just a hint of spice—is now one of the most popular tapas in Spain, but La Casa del Abuelo claims to have invented this humble dish all the way back in 1939. Pair it with a glass of wine from the owners' very own vineyards.
Best Modern Tapas Bar: La Palma 60
Tapas bars in Madrid's buzzing Malasaña district are a dime a dozen, but among those dozens, La Palma 60 is a force to be reckoned with. With a sleek, minimalistic interior and a menu full of unique bites you won't find anywhere else, this spot perfectly blends the tapas tradition with modern haute cuisine.
After hours, it doubles as one of the most popular jazz clubs in Madrid, with smooth sounds from the live performances lasting late into the Spanish night.
What to Order: Their white truffle risotto is a dream come true.
Best Craft Beer Bar: Fábrica de Maravillas
The craft beer revolution has taken Europe by storm, and Madrid is no exception. Whereas not too long ago your only options on tap at any given bar were Mahou or San Miguel, the Spanish capital now boasts a thriving craft beer scene thanks in part to Fábrica de Maravillas.
As the city's premier microbrewery, they serve a variety of American and Belgian-inspired artisanal brews, all produced onsite. One sip and you'll immediately see how this place more than lives up to its name (which translates to "Factory of Wonders").
What to Order: You can't go wrong with anything you get here, but their IPA is one of their most talked-about brews for good reason.
Best Traditional Wine Bar: Stop Madrid
In recent years, Spanish wine has started to rightfully earn recognition as some of the best in the world. And when it comes to sipping on rich red crianzas, you can't get much better than Stop Madrid. With their original shop having held down the fort on Calle Hortaleza since 1929 and a handful of other establishments scattered throughout the city, this is the place to enjoy Spanish wine and charcuterie in a place that hasn't changed much in nearly a century—wood paneling, oak barrels, dusty bottles and all.
What to Order: Keep it classic and go with a glass of Rioja and a plate of Spain's culinary pride and joy: acorn-fed Iberian ham.
Best Modern Wine Bar: Angelita
Part speakeasy-inspired cocktail bar, part wine lover's dream come true, there are few places in Madrid that offer as sleek a gastronomic experience as Angelita. With more than 50 wines available by the glass and 10 times that many by the bottle, it's a verifiable vino heaven—and we haven't even gotten to their fabulous food yet. The menu changes daily to reflect the use of only the finest market-fresh products available, but no matter what you order, you can rest assured that it'll pair fabulously with what you came here for in the first place—a glass of wine.
What to Order: Angelita has become the talk of the town as much for their wines as for their expertly curated artisanal cheese boards. Pair your selection with a glass of rich, robust Spanish red, such as Toro.
Best Live Music Bar: Marula Cafe
Ready to let loose and dance? Marula Cafe is calling your name. Nearly every night of the week, this lively bar in La Latina plays host to DJs and artists representing just about every genre you can think of—soul, funk, blues, electronic, and more. They're also one of the only bars in Madrid hosting regular hip-hop jam sessions (every Thursday night).
What to Order: Settle in with an expertly mixed cocktail as you enjoy the show.
Best Flamenco Bar: Tablao La Quimera
Flamenco—good flamenco—can be hard to come by in Madrid. Too many places lean towards the touristy side, with subpar performances and more out-of-towners than locals. Not Tablao La Quimera. The place is small enough that the performers don't even need microphones or amps, giving the whole experience a more intimate vibe that massive concert halls just can't offer.
Yes, there will be the occasional tourist, but when madrileños themselves go to a flamenco spot—as is the case here—you know it's the real deal. And perhaps most importantly, the performers here are some of the best in Madrid, capturing the heart and soul of flamenco with every clap, stomp, and twirl.
What to Order: Sip on something Spanish as you enjoy the show, such as tinto de verano (a refreshing local alternative to sangria).
Best Vermouth Bar: Casa Labra
Vermouth isn't your grandfather's drink anymore, and Casa Labra isn't your grandfather's bar. Okay, so a good part of its clientele may be made up of old men who have been going there for decades, but for every Spanish abuelo propping up the bar, you'll find a group of young madrileños enjoying drinks and tapas out on the terrace. Their house vermouth is among Madrid's best, and living proof as to why this dark, slightly sweet white wine is enjoying a resurgence in popularity among Spain's youth.
What to Order: We've got three words for you: salt cod croquettes. In addition to their famous vermouth, you can't miss these crunchy-creamy bites that helped put Casa Labra on the map.
Best Fusion Bar: Sakale
Blending Latin American and Japanese elements, Sakale offers one of Madrid's most unique dining options for those looking for something beyond typical tapas. The fun, colorful space in Malasaña is the perfect spot to start any night out on the town, and the tasty fusion bites are unlike anything you've ever tried before. Come for the sushi and tacos, stay for the good vibes and friendly atmosphere.
What to Order: This place serves up some of the best sushi in Madrid. Try it with a Latin-inspired cocktail such as a margarita to maximize the fusion experience.
Best Cocktail Bar: 1862 Dry Bar
Despite its unassuming exterior, 1862 Dry Bar will whisk you back to the glamorous Madrid of the past from the second you step through the historic doors. With its high ceilings and chic, sophisticated decor, it looks like something out of a Fitzgerald novel—and the cocktails themselves are second to none. Staffed by a friendly, knowledgable bar team that can mix up any concoction you throw at them, this is the place to sip in style in the Spanish capital.
What to Order: Try their famous mint julep.
Best Rooftop Bar: Círculo de Bellas Artes
No experience feels quite as simple yet as luxurious as the simple act of sipping a drink with Gran Vía at your feet, and that's exactly what's on offer at the Círculo de Bellas Artes rooftop bar right in the heart of downtown Madrid. With an entrance fee of 4 euros, and drink prices on the high side as well, this experience is not the cheapest, but if you have room in your budget it's well worth it for the great vibes and breathtaking views.
What to Order: Go with a classic Spanish gin tonic.
Best Historical Bar: La Venencia
Sadly, every year it gets harder and harder to find bars in Madrid that have withstood the tests of time and gentrification. La Venencia, fortunately, is one of the locales that has managed to hold on. A no-frills Spanish pub where (according to legend) Hemingway himself once drank, they serve just five drinks—all sherry wines from select bodegas in southern Spain. It still looks much the same as it did when it opened at the turn of the century, which is reason enough for visiting.
What to Order: Manzanilla sherry, the driest wine in the world, is crisp, refreshing, and will transport you to southern Spain in one sip. For something a bit milder, go with a nutty amber oloroso.
Best Sangria Bar: Saporem
Many visitors come to Spain in search of two things: sunshine and sangria. The former is plentiful; the latter...not so much. Good, authentic sangria can be hard to come by in Spain. While it does originally hail from the Iberian Peninsula, it's not really something most Spaniards drink, and has earned a reputation as an overpriced drink for tourists.
But if you absolutely can't leave Madrid without trying a glass, you're in luck—you can find decent sangria here if you look hard enough. With a gorgeous outdoor terrace and friendly, welcoming ambiance, Saporem serves up some of the best (and most authentic) sangria in Madrid. This is one of the few spots where you'll actually see locals ordering a pitcher to share.
What to Order: Their cava and strawberry sangria is a delicious twist on the classic wine cocktail.
Best Market Bar: Casa Dani (Mercado de la Paz)
Few Madrid experiences are as enjoyable and authentic as spending a morning at the local market. These buzzing food halls are where madrileños do their daily grocery shopping, and it's not uncommon to see them stopping for a bite with friends at one of the market bars, either.
Every Madrid market will have a bar, but one of the best is Casa Dani, which calls Mercado de la Paz home. They serve up plenty of tasty Spanish dishes, but the standout is easily their famous tortilla de patatas. The trip up to the market in the posh Salamanca district is worth it for this iconic omelet alone.
What to Order: The famous tortilla, of course—if you're feeling adventurous, try it with salsa de callos, a tripe sauce. Wash everything down with an ice cold beer.
Best Unique Bar: Ojalá
Many locals claim that their only complaint about Madrid is that there's no beach. Those in the know, however, make their way to Ojalá, a bright and colorful little spot that's turned its entire downstairs area into a makeshift beach—sand, beach bar, and all. If that's not reason enough to go, they also serve one of the best and most delicious brunch offers in Madrid.
What to Order: A beachy cocktail is in order at a place like this.