Lavapiés (Alta)

if you’ve spent any time at all in Madrid, you’ll be well aware that by far the best barrio to visit, have a drink in, shop, live and love in is Lavapies.

There are way too many bars, cafes and restaurants to do it justice in one blog post (unless i take a leave of absence from work) so be aware that this post is going to be even limper and more facile than its predecessors.
Also I’ve taken the decision to divide lavapies into two zones – alta and baja and i will cover them in two separate posts. The photos are even worse than usual too…i didn’t much fancy a drink and so didn’t go into any of them when i took the photos. so what i’m whispering into your ear as i gently nuzzle you is : don’t get your hopes up, darling!
i’m going warm you up next to my flat before finally climaxing on calle buenavista and taking sort of a circular route that will drive you wild. or no

El Pozo de Lugo

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The more eagle-eyed of you may have noticed a bearded man wearing a sash and a rather risque summer dress standing outside. For no apparent reason this bar has become a focal point for stag and hen parties, a must-do. Spanish hen/stag does are a relatively recent phonomenon, and resemble british ones aside from the absence of violence, vomit, dildos and police intervention. Aside from the stag-hens, you’ll find this a nice bar to sit and have a glass of wine and something to eat. One of the barmen is a wee galician fella with a love of 70s rock and atletico de madrid. i’d say he’s not adverse to the odd glass of wine either, as he seems less inscrutable as his almost interminable shift goes on. and his nose gets a bit more alex ferguson. reccomended here is the pincho of tortilla (you get a fair old whack of it accompianed by good galician bread) and the empanadas (tuna, bacalao with raisins or chorizo)

There are two bars under my flat, but i almost never go into them. one used to be a bookshop and became a bar with some books in it and plays amy winehouse all the time. i don’t go in there cos it’s expensive…2.70€ for a tercio…fuck off!

so, let’s walk up doctor fourquet instead. if your jonesing for a walk around a private art gallery, there’s about 10 on this fairly scruffy street. minus one, as a chinese fella who owned one has gone inside for money laundering, tax avoidance, human traffiking and extortion. the Spanish don’t like foreigners doing that. you shold at least be a paid up member of the PP.
La Caña

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I include la caña because it was probably the first of the shitty old man bars to get a makeover and become less shitty. and they do great coffee (Illy) and you can get any fruit juice you could imagine (i prefer to get my 5 a day via shower gel and air fresheners). good mix of people in there…tourists on their way to or from the reina sofia, students from the music conservatory or the medical school or the various media companies with offices around. cutting to the chase, yes…attractive women go in there sometimes. I only ever go in there for breakfast though, so you know how to avoid me easily.

Kardamon
The worst photo you’ll ever see of a bar or cafe…

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This place used to be a ladies’ hairdresser specializing in african barnets..but as a bald european man, I refused to give them my business on principle

It opened as a bar about a year and a half ago, and i predicted a quick demise as there was never anybody in it.but as summer arrived and they got a big screen and canal+ and goltv in, as well as a terraza, i was happy to consign my prediction of impending doom to the bin where i keep my Thierry Henry prediction (goal shy, he’ll never do anything at arsenal) and my backing of the mini-disc as the future of data storage.

lavapies is a demi-eden, a paradise…but it’s badly lacking in places to watch football…too cool for school sometimes, so kanela is a badly needed commodity here. also, they serve alhambra tercios and they’re cold to the point of freezing. run by two really nice colombian fellas, it’s a real barrio bar. must be something in the water in latinamerica…not only are the females dizzingly attractive, everyone i’ve met from there has been ridiculously pleasant and friendly. during the world cup i became a colombia fan and watched every game i could here.

Benteveo

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It might not have been the first, but maybe it’s the best example of a horrible old boys’ bar made good with minimal effort. This was a bar that made you contemplate your pointless existence and encouraged any latent thoughts you might have had to end it all. but some camp argentinians came in and turned the lights down, served decent beer with decent tapas, changed the furniture and made it into one of my favourite bars. and they have wifi
Vinicola Mentridana

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Probably not the best time for me to write about this place. Has been one of my favourite bars for years but tonight, while i was writing this, i was asked to give up my place and go and sit in the corner. i was on my own at a table and they wanted a group of 4 people to sit there. fair enough, you might think. but i was quite happily sitting there before these people came in, and wasn’t like i was nursing my drink (nursing a drink to me is not downing it straight from the barperson’s hand). i know it’s an unforgiveable sin to be on your own quite happily, but for fucksake. Not sure i’ll ever forgive them for this. shame, was a nice place.

How would you have felt?

El Corazon

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Did i say the benteveo had been the worst bar in the world? coulda been what was here before, but i never made it inside. too depressing even for me. now though…really nice bar opposite the anton martin market. coffee is portuguese (therefore a cut above the usual spanish shit they serve in this country). they have alhambra in bottles as well as la virgen. pincho of tortilla is very good value and they do the best thing ever…patatas revolconas…mashed potato with paprika, pork scratchings and a fried egg…forget me in a jacuzzi with Lucy Liu, Beyonce and Rachel Riley…give me mashed potatoes, pork scratchings and a fried egg any day of the week. I said “forget me in a jacuzzi”. Now!

immagunna post this and come back to it tomorrow…at ease