When the sun sets on the colorful and vibrant city of Madrid, that is when things get livelier. Indeed, New York is not the only city that never sleeps as Madrid’s hopping and exciting night life can compete with the best in the world. The Madrilenos call it “mucha marcha” – so many fun things to do and so many places to go to in so little time that sleeping is just really not an option. There are bars and clubs in the city that stay open way past the typical 2:30 a.m. closing time, especially during weekends or on public holidays when street parties are to be found everywhere. And if you think that the sunrise signals the end of it all, think again – there are places known as “after-hours” open from 6 a.m. till around midday.
Madrid at night becomes a wonderland with anything and everything for people of all ages. Whether you fancy a good “tapas” or mid-evening snack, chilling out with your friends in a bar or a pub with some good drinks, catching an opera performance, watching a good flamenco show or dancing till the wee hours of the morning, you’ll surely find something that spells a good time. There are several “entertainment zones” where the action can be easily found:
Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor: Easily the most popular and the most “tourist-y” being at the center of Madrid, there is a slew of cafeterias, terrazas, restaurants, tapas bars and cuevas (drinking caves) in the area. On New Year’s Eve, the crowds come and gather to await the 12 chimes at midnight and party the rest of the night away. Check out particular places such as Cava de San Miguel, Cava Alta, Plaza de San Andres, Plaza de la Paja and Cava Baja.
Chueca and Malasana: Also known as the “gay district” of Madrid, Chueca’s neighborhood has a stretch of bars and clubs that cater to everyone, whatever your sexual orientation is. This is also the site of the Gay Pride festival. Malasana on the other hand is referred to as the “alternative” hot spot, the setting of La Movida (The Movement) during the 1980s – an anti-establishment, counterculture lifestyle where partying with no rules was the motto. First-timers to the districts need not be intimidated though, as there are actually a lot of sedate and very trendy options to choose from - Plaza Dos de Mayo, Calle de San Vincente Ferrer, Calle del Paz and Calle Barquillos are among those that would have tapas and jazz bars as well as stellar restaurants.
Arguelles and Moncloa: Those who are in the universities would converge in these areas for nighttime fun and a break from studying. Dance clubs, ale houses, fast food joints and cafes line the streets. Find out where the young and the hip party in areas such as Gaztambide, Calle Andres Mellado and Fernando El Catolico.
Lavapies: Lavapies is a virtual melting pot of cultures, with its ethnically diverse selection of restaurants, cafes, bars and galleries. Check out Calle Ave Maria, Colegio, Calle Olivar and Calle Argumosa.