“Six of the Best” Bars in Puerta del Sol
Puerta del Sol is one of the main tourist hubs in Madrid, and because of this has a huge number of bars to choose from. Of these bars, some fall into the ‘tourist trap’ category, with overpriced drinks and not really the best quality. It is best to avoid these bars, although it can be hard to tell the differences between an authentic local bar and the rest, especially in Puerta del Sol. With this in mind, we present you our six favourite bars in the area, so that you spend less time choosing, and more time having fun!
Cuevas El Secreto
This bar has managed to retain the mystery of an ancient cave, while adding some modern touches to it. They serve everything you could ever want, including amazing Spanish Tapas (in particular their Patatas Bravas!). Their service is amazing, and the outdoor sitting is always packed with a perfect mix between locals and tourists, with a fantastic atmosphere. When you go to the toilet’s downstairs, you will notice the old stone walls kept in place from what used to be a cave, it is pretty cool! They also serve as a restaurant, and we particularly recommend the tortillas on offer. Come here for a guaranteed madrileño experience right in the centre of Sol.
Calle de Barcelona, 2, 28012, Madrid
Casa Labra is over 100 years old, and pride themselves on keeping up with the times while not forgetting their original recipes. Their speciality dish is croquetas, which are amongst the best in Madrid! They also serve amazing meals with fish and meat. The wine on offer is great, with perfectly chosen wine on their menu from Spain and France. The outdoor seating is where the action happens, and they have only high tables with many people choosing to simply stand and eat or drink while soaking up the atmosphere. When ordering a drink, you are sure to be happy at the tapas that come with it! Also, for political heads, it is famous for being the founding place of the POSE political party.
Calle de Tetuán, 12, 28013, Madrid
A perfect example of an ‘authentic’ Madrid pub, this traditional pub serves delicious food, and has an unmistakably calm atmosphere, perfect for getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Their menu includes great vegetarian options, which sometimes can be hard to find in Madrid. Their tapas are up there with the best, in particular their ‘jamon iberico’. The portions are super big … you will not leave hungry we can promise that! They offer a great variety of cocktails and wines and tend to cater to a mixed crowd of both tourists and locals.
Calle de Cádiz, 9, 28012, Madrid
Casa Toni is as authentic a tapas bar as you can find in Madrid. It is low-key, expect minimal design, yet maximum friendliness from staff. What you see is what you get – and what you get is guaranteed great food! They make their tapas with the characteristic garlic flavour synonymous with Madrid. Our favourite was their “ración de carne” and their “patatas bravas”. The crowd inside range from friends in their 20s getting some cheap food to older groups finishing off their night at the Opera which lies super close nearby. If you’re staying central and want to dine with locals, check out Casa Toni.
Calle de la Cruz, 14, 28012, Madrid
Matador embodies the spirit of what a bar in Madrid should be … excellent food, authenticity, and great service! Visitors here tend to be locals, very few tourists ever spot this hidden gem. As a 100% traditional Spanish pub they don’t disappoint in their tapas … it is an unforgettable place to enjoy ‘jamon’, cheese, or chorizos. Alongside these tapas they have a menu with a beautiful variety of local cuisine. While food is their strong point, their drinks do not disappoint. Their extraordinary wine, wonderful sangria and refreshing beers are as enticing as their food. One of our favourite things about Matador is the views of the beautiful Plaza del Angel you can enjoy while enjoying your food.
Calle de la Cruz, 39, 28012, Madrid
Founded in 1921, this cocktail bar boasts past visitors such as President Eisenhower, Frank Sinatra and Audrey Hepburn! It is the most expensive option on this list, but certainly worth it for the experience. The first thing you will notice is the distinct atmosphere inside – classy, almost similar to an old-fashioned English gentlemen’s club. They have portraits of celebrities around the walls, and you can’t help but feel you have travelled back to the roaring 20s of one century ago! Most importantly, their drinks are good. Cocktail lovers will be spoiled for choice, but their whiskey is also great. During the weekdays it is calmer, but on weekends it tends to get very busy, and very fun!
Calle de la Reina, 16, 28004, Madrid
By James Ansell