Every Tuesday 20:00 hours – 22:00 hours
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‘La Tabacalera’ Calle Embajadores 53
On the scale of cool, things do not get any better than the activities taking place these days in Madrid’s abandoned tobacco factory. La Tabacalera in Embajadores hosts a wide range of cultural activities in its dilapidated innards. One of them is a group of people who meet every Tuesday to sit down and draw for a few hours.
Two hundred years ago a factory was opened in the centre of Madrid, where 1.000 women earned a living manufacturing cigarettes and cigars and gained a reputation for being highly organized, independent and passionate. The factory was closed ten years ago, but the passion, social awareness and smoke has returned last year, with the opening of the factory, now as a centre for anybody with a wish to organize things. The activities take place on the first floor and in the basement and give you a small idea of how huge this place must have been not so long ago.
Anything you can possibly think of is organized here, but the centre is not remodeled. It is just a space and there is a strong okupa-atmosphere (It seems the new anti-smoke law is not applied here for maría). If you are not of the culture-kind, then just pop in and check out the cafeteria on the right.
Every Tuesday night a group of people gathers to draw. In the basement they sit down with their sheets, pencils, BIC ballpoints and they reproduce the poses that a few of the group members are showing on the main stage. Dibujo Madrid was started last year and this Tuesday will be the 48th time that they will meet. Many has changed since the start of the group, but they are still as welcoming to everybody who likes to join. The level is very high, but also people with more enthusiasm than skills can sit down and just draw. It does not matter if you are good or not: as long as you can stand the unheated basement for 2 hours (dress well!), come along and draw.
Entrance is free, you’ll be able to make 4-5 drawings in these 2 hours with any material you bring and after the ‘class’ many meet in a bar close by to show each other results. The brave then post their drawings on Facebook.
Mercado de San Miguel
Plaza de San Miguel
Monday to Sunday from 10:00 hours to 22:00
Quite some time ago you could read about the unclear future of the Mercado de San Miguel, the beautiful, thrilling but somewhat dilapidated market in Madrid’s city center. Almost two years after closing, the place has reopened and you better chalk up a visit on your shopping list.
The new Mercado has lost a little bit and won a lot. Lost in the sense that walking past the stalls you will not encounter true Spanish produce-you-had-never-even-imagined-to-be-edible-in-the-first-place anymore. Tripe? Gone. Sheep heads? Nah. Paws? Go somewhere else.
However, these kinds of foods (sort of) are still freely available in every other market, whereas the new and improved San Miguel offers a Spanish atmosphere you will not be able to resist. You can of course go in and do your shopping, but why not sample a chunk of that French cheese, chew on some Italian dolci, have a glass of Spanish vermouth or lunch with half a dozen oysters from Normandy while you’re at it. The inner court is actually one big bar packed with Spanish enjoying a wildly international offer of anything that has to do with food. At only 10 days after reopening the combination of gourmet market and bar seems to be a big success, looking at the hundreds of visitors buying, looking and eating on this drizzly Saturday morning.
The building itself has improved as well. Already a very elegant and classic structure, the renovation made the space even lighter, bigger and cleaner. The glass façade that replaces the brick walls literally invites passers-by to check out on the buzz inside. Do not forget to walk around the entire market: there is a bakery hidden in one of the corners.
The most central market of the city does not offer the usual grub anymore, which surely is a loss for everybody living in the centre and any tourist trying to get a glimpse of normal Spanish life. The new Mercado, on the other hand, does show a deep love for food and style and is still an excellent place to drag your friends to.