Madrid: The Late Night City
When it comes to experiencing Madrid, a day in the Museo Prado is just as important as dancing until the churro stands open at dawn. After all, Madrileños are creatures of the night, and to fall asleep early is to miss what makes this vibrant city so alive. So grab a double café cortado and follow our guide to the city’s most fabulous nightlife. You’ll thank us later. (After you’ve slept in, of course.)
Where to Stay
Park yourself in the heart of the action
Me Madrid Reina Victoria
Set close to the city’s historic sites (because you should see those, too) and the nightlife hub of Plaza de Santa Ana, Me Madrid is perfectly situated for any-time-of-day city exploration. The glamorous building boasts an original 1920s Modernist facade along with updated interiors and contemporary furnishings. On the nights you don’t feel like “going out,” just head upstairs to one of the hottest rooftop bars in Spain.
Where to Eat
It's never too late to have a bite
Make a 10:30 rez at one of Madrid’s hottest restaurants, then order the salmorejo (think: richer gazpacho), eggplant drizzled with sugarcane honey, black risotto calamari and, of course, Cava cocktails. When midnight hits, the tables move to the side, the music turns up and everyone starts dancing.
The darling of the burgeoning Madrid brunch scene, La Jefa has a creative menu designed to soak up last night’s drinks. Get cozy on the plush sofas and leather banquettes, and dine on international comfort food like scrambled eggs with vegetable tempura, Iberian bacon burgers and quinoa ceviche...then contemplate a Bloody Mary.
Calle Ponzano is a locals-only restaurant row with everything from classic Spanish tabernas to posh cocktail bars. Start with the old school El Doble for a beer and complimentary bite, followed by Syklar for the best Spanish tortilla (think omelet, not taco) and a night cap at La Contraseña’s outdoor gin bar.
What to Do
From late-night food tours to all-night dance parties
Tapas Night Walking Tour
Get versed in the traditions of Spanish dining, the breakdown of the classic dishes and the best local hole-in-the-wall joints when you sign up for this small-group tapas tour. It covers four quintessential Spanish bars, and you can expect to sample everything from Andalusian sherry to Asturian cider to Galician octopus to the country’s coveted jamón Ibérico.
Circulo De Bellas Artes
Theater, music, film and otherwise cultural exhibitions rotate through this Madrid hive for the arts. Snag tickets to a show or just pop in for a perusal and sunset cocktail at the happening rooftop bar...it has one of the best views in the city.
We aren’t club kids either, but in Madrid, you either go big or go home. Set in a grand old theater, Kapital is the city’s mega club and one of the most iconic in Europe. With seven stories, each with a different music style and vibe, you can dance and dabble with house, hip-hop, salsa, chill lounge and karaoke.
What to Skip
Drink like a local, not like a co-ed
While Madrid advertises plenty of pub crawls, leave that for the backpackers. Head to the Salamanca neighborhood and you’ll find your way to the chic bars and lounges that the real Madrileños frequent.
What to Pack
Bring a sexy yet sensible heel that’s low and supportive enough to get you through a night out. You wouldn’t want to have to hobble back to your hotel, now would you?
Between your trans-Atlantic flight and sleeping until noon, you’ll want to block all the light you can. Go for some extra cushion and a fun pattern, so you can look stylish even in your slumber.
For the streets or the clubs, black pants with a little bit of stretch will give you extra mobility and hug your sexy figure.