Enjoying a well-made cocktail after a rough week of work on a Friday is a habit Raul and I have developed since we moved to Madrid two years ago. The city has a wealth of high-quality “cocktail bars” and Raúl and I seem to have made it our mission to try as many different ones as our schedule permits (in the name of Guiri Guide research, of course). I thought I would share with you all some of our favorites:
• O’Clock: this place is fantastic. It is like being transported to an old cocktail bar in England a hundred years ago. Even though I am a non-smoker, I feel like I should light up a cigar or break out a pipe.from the second I walk in there In addition to the old-fashioned atmosphere, the drink list is varied and extensive and the servers are both knowledgeable and amable.
• Del Diego: The thing that stands out the most in this famous cocktail bar is the service. No more than a second after walking in the door, someone is there to find a place for you to sit at a table, stand at the bar, etc. The bartenders are real pros as well. This place is un clásico on the Madrid cocktail circuit and anyone who is a fan of a well-mixed libation should make a point of stopping by here.
• Gin Club: Of all of the places we have tried, this one has our favorite gin and tonic, which given the name is not all too surprising. It’s small, very dark and always crowded, but it is definitely worth it for the real gintonic aficionado.
• Bristol Bar: This lovely cocktail bar/restaurant is fun and unique. It has a quirky British style, a huge selection of gins, and the type of menu you do not see in many places in Madrid (think brunch and English breakfast on the weekends, and a la carte selections such as steak and Guinness pie, fish & chips, the Codfather, etc.)
• Shuzo’s: this small, unassuming bar makes a surprisingly awesome gin and tonic, and at €10 for a G’Vine and fever tree, it is a reasonably priced one as well (especially for Madrid and particularly Salamanca). This is another place that is always hasta arriba, but with the undeniable charm of its Japanese owner coupled with the fact that you can order a tapa of sushi with your drink, this is not hard to believe.
• Buenos Aires Cocktail Lab: this relatively new drink joint is an undiscovered gem. It has a sleek, modern atmosphere with chill music and a very creative list of cocktails based in part on the specialties of the owners’ bartender friends. I had one the other night with pepper vodka and it was ridiculously good and very unique. I do not give this place much more time before the locals find out and this place gets packed.