Baby it’s cold outside
Being an expat in Madrid seems to equate to three things: you’re highly likely to favour drinking a caña over a coffee (it honestly works out cheaper), most of your wardrobe will consist of Zara purchases (although that may just be me) and I’m pretty sure that come Autumn time, you start to long for Sunday afternoons curled up in a pub with an open fire and a glass of red for company. Whilst Madrid can offer a visitor many things, often including wall-to-wall summer sunshine, it doesn’t really pack a punch on the pub front. However, Ana La Santa has become my default option for when I’m craving cosiness, and there’s good reason why.
Situated in Plaza Santa Ana, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful plazas in all of Madrid, Ana La Santa, the bar and restaurant that occupies the ground floor of the hard-to-miss Hotel ME, is without doubt the chicest and next best thing that’s akin to a Blighty Gastropub. Picture a roaring fire, squidgy sofas, easy-on-the-eye staff and the kind of simple style that is more often found in Scandi-land and you’d be on the right page.
This season’s buzzword for urbanites is hygge. Pronounced hoo-ga, this Danish word defies literal translation. In essence, it means enjoying life’s small but soothing moments – perhaps nibbling some croquetas de jamon with one hand, whilst sipping a perfectly mixed gin and tonic in the other; it’s about investing in emotional wellbeing through the simple and homespun, which is exactly what I managed to achieve in Ana La Santa on a bitingly cold Tuesday evening. I left with a slightly larger waistline and feeling that our host, the wonderful Alba, was a new friend – the service was that good. When Spain’s not sunny, and trust me it happens, I urge you to bunker down amid soft cushions, flickering candles and bask in the warmth of Ana La Santa. All that’s left on your part is to find yourself a Spaniard to snuggle with.
Address: Ana La Santa, Plaza Santa Ana, 14, 28012, Madrid. Tel: 91 701 60 13.