La Caleta

WordPress gives you various information about visitors to your blog: which pages they read and which country they were in and if they came by way of a google search, what they were googling that led them to your blog. The other day someone found my blog by searching pie drinking porn. I imagine he or she must have been very disappointed with my recipe for oxtail shepherd's pie. And people looking for hot lesbian badgers are going to be equally disappointed with this post.

La Caleta has been around for qute a few years but recently moved up the hill from Calle Tres Peces to Calle Santa Isabel and into a huge space that used to be an Indian restaurant. Calle Tres Peces is undergoing quite a change these days…what used to be the most depressing old man bar el aperitivo has been done up nicely in the way these places are transformed by dimmed lighting, half decent music and decent free tapas. Opposite is la infinita….book shop cafe with wifi. Don't order the house white…i have a glass of it in my hand at the moment and it's ropey to say the least.

Back to La Caleta. It's a gaditana bar which means it's a Cadiz themed place. Massive picture of Camarón on the wall as you walk in. Videos of Camarón on big screen at the back. If you've never listened to La Leyenda del Tiempo then I beg you to do so.

Cadiz is also famous for battered and fried fish which is served in paper. Sound familiar? Battering was invented by the Phoenicians apparently and Cadiz was a Phoenician city. There you go. I'm not sure when the English got into battering.

 

I order a racion of the bienmesabe. This is chunks of cazón, a sort of flat shark (rock salmon in english..if you've ever heard of that) which is cut into chunks and battered. The batter definitely has a bit of cumin in it. Bienmesabe is one of those things that is great when done well, and appalling when, more often than not, fucked up. A bit like the way a pint of Guinness can be the best thing in the world, or quite the opposite. I ordered it as I assumed it would be ther stock in trade as a Cadiz style bar. Very nice.

Not cheap though, that racion and a doble of beer was 13€

Now….to cruise the internet for sexy young ferrets covered in gravy

 

Bodegas Casas

The barrio of Pacifico is an undiscovered gem, a gold mine, the milk. To mix the metaphorical. And the languages.

Bodegas Casas was founded in 1923 by Don Gregorio. His father was a shepherd who, for some reason, had a large collection of clay pots, which can be seen around the bodega. But not in this photo. What with me being rubbish with a camera.

The wee iron fence there serves the purpose of separating the gentlemen from the ladies. Hard to tell if this is enforced still, as I was there on my todd.

Possibly the best vermouth you’ll have in Madrid. Or anywhere I’ve been, at least…which is a…handful…of places.

The vermut used to be homemade until PC “has the world gone mad” came in and ruined everything. I’m not even allowed to beat my wife anymore. Or own slaves

You can buy a litre bottle to take away with you for €5,20.

I was tempted

Casa Zoilo

Somehow Casa Zoilo has managed to elude me for the last 9 years…not many bars in my barrio can say that. Possibly this is because you’d have no reason to walk along Calle de la Huerta del Bayo…unless you lived there..or, like me, you were on a Yelp-inspired wild goose chase and looking for a non-existent portuguese restaurant called Casa Janes on that street.

It certainly puts the old in old-skool. A friendly old couple run it. There’s a massive old fridge…from the 1930s or so i’d say in behind the second part of the bar…and you can buy various things to take away…litres or cans of beer, soda water, litre bottles of wine or sherry.

Very little to say about it. It has no pretensions…there’s a telly in the corner of the back bar, there’s the ubiquitous slot machine in the corner, music doesn’t come from a computer or a disc jockey (who could tell the difference anyway) but a radio sitting behind the bar.

I got a caña for 1,20€ and it came with a small bowl of patatas revolconas…mashed potatoes mixed with paprika and topped with fresh pork scratchings. A work of genius that combines two of humankind’s greatest achievements: a) mashed potato b) pork scratchings.

There’s no comedor so if your wee tapa isn’t going to satisfy you, you’ll have to make do with raciones of cold meats or cheese….or bocadillos filled with..cold meats and/or cheese. The bocadillos ranged from 2,50 to 3,50€.

All in all, a taberna muy castiza

Bodegas lo maximo, lavapiès

Shining example of an old man’s bar taken over by people without enough money to fuck it up. Zinc bar. Half decent music. Armchairs. Disco-ball. As well as your usual beer, wine and (bottled) vermouth…they also do Negroni…which is gin, vermouth and campari served in an old-fashioned glass…and is strong…to say the least. On a campari tip, they also do Spritz…white wine, campari, soda, ice n’a slice…try asking for that in a north nottinghamshire pit village. Having escaped such a mileiu…i was happy to order one

Too much campari in this one…end of bottle…i had to have it topped up with white wine

You can’t see glitterball here..but it’s above these chairs which are on a raised platform. Ideal if you want to be the centre of attention.

Sundays they do paella. Normally there’s tostas and salmorejo.

Lingua Franca

http://www.rastrobar.com/

Great bar, just off the rastro. Run by Bryn (either a scouser or a woolyback not sure) and Guadalupe (not a scouser, from Seville…(i’ve often thought that there was a decent correlation between Liverpool and Seville…sense of humour and general economic status))

Full english breakfasts for 7,50€…that’s with your orange juice and your tea and coffee. And the sausages….the sausages…well…they’re more than nice.

There’s books there in english..two seperate rooms. If you want to practice your ingles, i’d say it’s a great place to go…and if you don’t..same applies

Maybe one of the newest bars in the barrio. I’m hoping it takes off

Bodegas Rosell

Down a street to the right of Atocha train station, a gem…bodegas rosell.

Points in its favour: vermouth on tap, old skool decor. Not much else to say.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking