Nightlife: Literary Quarter - Huertas

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The main artery of the Literary Quarter, Calle Huertas has some of the most famous verses of 15th and 16th century literature etched on its pavements, in honour of illustrious residents, such as Miguel de Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Francisco de Quevedo or Luis de Góngora. This leisure quarter spirit lives on today with many taverns that are still open.

The Literary Quarter is one of the capital’s most famous nightspots, because it is possible to find something to do on any day of the week and it has a diversified range of musical styles.  The right angle formed by Calle Príncipe and Calle Huertas, with the Plaza de Santa Ana between them, is where most of this offer is concentrated.

The nightlife in this neighbourhood is marked by the heterogeneity of styles, ages and leisure habits, which can all find their preferred place. The pedestrian areas of most of the roads –Calle Huertas and adjacent streets – make this a convenient space to go out at night. The characteristic former layout of narrow streets and labyrinths is not a problem when it comes to finding the desired establishment, as almost all establishments have their public relations staff to inform passers-by of special offers in drinks and the type of atmosphere in the respective pubs. 

A little bit of everything

In this area, which is extremely popular with the foreign student community and even with well-known faces from theatre and television, you can find pubs and discos for the young crowd, such as Mi madre era una groupie. Some of these discos even open all night for those who want to dance until the early hours. They exist side by side with other establishments, such as Salmón Gurú, where you can have a relaxed drink whilst discussing the play you have just seen at the Teatro Español, another of the hotspots in this area, as well as Viva Madrid by the famous Argentine barman, Diego Cabrera. One of the newcomers, Decadente, offers many options for night owls who go with the flow of its proposals: restaurant, cocktail bar and informal bar. 

Other great cocktail bars in the area include Lovo Bar, a sentimental bar under the spell of Josephine Baker, offering an area for night owls and another for patrons who need to take a break in the afternoon; Belisa,whose menu includes all sorts of creative cocktails; La Santoría, serving signature cocktails; Caracortada, a new bar run by Edu García, where old cocktails are rescued from oblivion; and Calle 365 Callejón Secreto, specialising in Mexican cocktails and drinks.

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It is also possible to accompany a drink with a live music performance of different styles, from jazz to flamenco.

From the Plaza del Ángel, a must place is Café Central, an emblematic space where  jazz has been the main feature for over three decades and which has made a name for itself  in the ranking of European clubs devoted to this musical style. With a daily programme from 9pm to 11pm, it is possible to reserve a seat around the grand piano that presides the stage at the Central. Get carried away by the sound of the saxophone and the blues or soul at La Fídula in Calle Huertas.

Located in the Huertas district, you will find the recently renovated Jazz Bar, which offers coffee and cocktails accompanied by the best jazz music; the Cheers Karaoke; and the Toulouse Lautrec bar which is open to the public until late at night.

Beer gardens and restaurants fill both sides of Plaza de Santa Ana, where the immaculate white façade of the Hotel ME Madrid Reina Victoria stands out,  heir of the former “bullfighter’s hotel” – where bullfighters visiting the Las Ventas bullring stayed decades ago and which today has a pleasant terrace with amazing views over the city.    

As we go down Calle Huertas and just after Plaza de Santa Ana on the left, in Calle Echegaray, flamenco takes the floor at the Cardamomo flamenco house, one of the most popular halls. In this area, there are discos and establishments such as Carbones 13, with retro decoration retro and famous for its preparation of gin-tonic. To grab a bite before having a drink, try Los Gatos, a traditional pub where you can get the finest old-style tapas.

Cardamomo

On the other side of Calle Huertas lies Plaza de Matute, with establishments offering various styles and their own DJ sessions, which at times becomes a meeting point for representatives of the performing arts. In the heart of the Barrio de Las Letras, you will find Matute 12, a gastrobar with a new concept in leisure and gastronomy. You can also visit the Taller Margarita, a workshop that brings together tacos, margaritas and DJs in the same space.

 

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