Category Archives: Bars

A Short Guide on Going Out in Madrid

So you know WHERE to go out in Madrid, but do you also know HOW? No matter how long you have lived here, how well you know your friends or how integrated you are as a guiri in this city, you will end up with the following at least a few times a year no matter how hard you try.

Plan way ahead or just in time. A night out requires plenty of planning or none at all. Either you pin down your friends 6 weeks before they have had the chance to think of something else, or you call them at the very night to go out an hour later. Do anything in between and you will face endless calls (‘I am calling you to say I will call you later’), reconfirmations (Why? Are you waiting for a better plan?) changes of plan, mind and venue only to end up on your sofa alone.

More = better. Forget about having some quality time with your best friends to discuss the important matters in your life. Your friends will bring friends who will bring friends who will bring friends. Relax, it is actually fun and who has ever heard of having too many friends, anyway? Leave the philosophical stuff for Facebook.

Learn to love the street. With all these extra friends, it is even harder to go to the bar you planned. Lady A wants to meet a friend in place B, who actually turns out to be in bar C and then Mr D thinks of excellent restaurant E which is closed so you all flag down a taxi to pub F but Miss G remembers she left her lipstick in café H and suddenly it is six in the morning, the sun is coming up and you realize you spent the last 5 hours on deciding where to go while not actually ending up anywhere. But hey, you saw a great many very picturesque streets.

Spend some extra time on your makeup. Bars that attract the real crowds are always, funnily enough, overlit. They all suffer from a serious attack by fluorescent lights and that, as you will figure, requires a different strategy on the makeup and hair front. But let’s keep it positive: you will never step out with your latest catch only to discover on the street that he/she actually looks funnier than you thought inside.

Goodbye now. You want to leave? Plan at least 20 minutes to say goodbye to everybody (‘I will call you to say when I will call you later’).

Don’t complain. Try to just whisper even the slightest complaint on all of the above and you will be accused of being German, Nordic, square, or plain uptight. So just see it as a local experience and remember: there is always next week. Have fun!

PS And also remember all those nights where everything came together wonderfully and you thought life could not get any better. There will be more nights like these, I promise.

Previously published on


I Draw Madrid

Every Tuesday 20:00 hours – 22:00 hours
Search for ‘Dibujo Madrid’ in Facebook

‘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.