Nightlife in Madrid’s Literary Quarter

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The main thoroughfare in Barrio de Las Letras, Calle de las Huertas has some of the best-known lines of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spanish literature engraved in the paving stones. Stroll along this street and read quotations from illustrious neighbours like Miguel de Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Francisco de Quevedo or Luis de Góngora. The old party spirit of a district brimming with taverns and inns is still very much alive.

Barrio de Las Letras is one of the busiest centres of Madrid nightlife. Here night owls can find a lively atmosphere and enjoy a variety of music styles every night, seven days a week.

Jazz, flamenco, indie, pop and the latest rock songs turn Barrio de las Letras into one of the most vibrant all-ages-welcome nightlife areas in town. The quarter is very popular with foreign students, and with TV or stage celebs as well.

Most streets – Calle de las Huertas and the streets that intersect it – are pedestrian-only, and so great to go out at night. Wandering through the narrow, at times maze-like, streets of Barrio de Las Letras, you will easily find the establishment that best suits your taste and mood. Pub employees are often seen on the street asking passersby to come in and try a drink at a lower price or informing them on the kind of ambiance they will find inside.

Night clubs

Departing from Plaza del Ángel, Café Central is truly a must stop on any jazz lover itinerary. It has earned itself a name across Europe as a top jazz club established more than three decades ago. With daily performances 9pm-11pm, the Central offers seating around the piano that presides over the stage (advance reservation available). The ultimate venue for blues and soul is La Fídula, while Populart features promising young jazz musicians as well as acclaimed jazz masters from Spain.

Plaza Santa Ana is flanked by beer bars and restaurants on two sides, and the Teatro Español – whose reasonable ticket prices attract large audiences – shares leading role credits with the snow-white facade of the ME Madrid Reina Victoria Hotel, an heir to the former ‘bullfighters’ hotel’, so-called because it used to provide accommodation to bullfighters coming to Las Ventas Bullring. Today, the hotel features a fine, modern terrace that affords spectacular panoramic views of Madrid.

Walking along Huertas past Plaza de Santa Ana to the left, on Calle Echegaray, you will see how flamenco holds the stage at the Cardamomo tablao, one of the most popular flamenco clubs in town. The surrounding area is home to night clubs and a variety of venues like Carbones 13, with a retro décor, whose gin and tonics are legendary.

At the end of Calle de las Huertas stands Plaza de Matute, with establishments in different styles offering DJ sessions and frequented by performing artists.

Barrio de Las Letras has become one of Madrid’s nightlife hubs, combining the bohemian spirit of the old days with traditional sounds and the latest music trends.


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