Six of the Best” Vermouth Bars
One of the staples of Madrid culture is to “tomar el vermut” for the palate opening midday aperitv (take the vermouth). Vermouth as a drink traces its origins back to Ancient Greece when it was used as a medicine. Nowadays, Madrid observes “la hora del vermut” (Vermouth Hour) every weekend. It is a type of wine fortified with herbs and has many different varieties. It has become a central tradition to Spanish culture, and more and more bars are opening to fill its ever-increasing popularity. The possibilities of where to go are endless, and because of this The Madrid Metropolitan has done the grunt work to present you with six of the best places to ‘take the vermouth’!
Bodega de la Ardosa
A classic in the Madrid Vermouth scene is Bodega de la Ardosa, which dates back to 1892. The bar lies in Malasaña – one of Madrid’s coolest areas, filled with coffee shops, bakeries, markets, and vintage stores. It contains cobwebbed bottles, engraved beer taps, and many antiques to connect you with Madrid’s history. Even their tables are worth seeing – old barrels used to deliver vermouth! The crowd is a blended mix between locals and tourists, and at the weekends it is overflowing with people. The vermouth itself is made in house, and you can see it flow through an old clay amphora from above the bar. They accompany their Vermouth with classic Spanish cuisine. Their “Spanish Tortilla” is so good that it has even won gold medals!
Calle de Colón, 13, 28004, Madrid
La Hora Del Vermut
Named directly after the Spanish tradition, this bar gives no doubt that it specializes in Vermouth. It is right beside the beautiful Retiro Park … what better way to top off a day in the park than with one of the best Vermouth around?? What we loved about this bar was the variety on the menu, with over 80 varieties of Vermouth, it might boast the most diverse menu in Madrid. Their food is great, with many tapas and pintxos. It is more of a meeting place for local friends than a tourist spot and has been designed as a type of hip designer bar, with exposed brick walls and bright green colours behind the bar. For those who want to dive deep into Vermouth Culture with lots of choice, this is the spot for you!
Calle de Fernán Gonzalez, 48, 28009, Madrid
Gran Clavel opened in 2018 and gave Gran Via a much-needed authentic local bar to combat the increasing preponderance of fast-food chains on the street. In the past decade, as vermouth has become ever-more popular, new bars have emerged, but none has burst onto the scene as well as this bar. They have 3 focuses – food, a wine bar, and of course, a vermouth bar. It is decorated in such a way that you will feel a throwback to the 60s (or younger crowds to films of the 60s!!). Nowadays it has become a point of intrigue for everyone who passes by it. They have a great selection of Vermouth on their menu, and a wonderful food offering. For those staying central in Madrid who want high quality Vermouth followed by a meal, we can’t recommend Gran Clavel enough.
Calle Gran Vía, 11, 28103, Madrid
Arima has 30 varieties to try on their menu from all over Spain – from Amurrio to Madrid! Each vermouth is served in a classy glass with an olive and a slice of orange, giving it an extra refreshing taste. They are also incredibly creative with their offerings. In particular we loved their ‘slushy vermouth’ which in the summer heat is a must try! One Sunday every month they host a ‘Vermuteke’ event on behalf of the ‘International Society for the Preservation and Enjoyment of Vermouth’. This sums up how seriously they take this tradition, and this dedication ensures nobody leaves disappointed. For an appetiser, we recommend their croquetas which are bursting with flavour, and go down nicely with the vermouth.
Calle de Ponzano, 51, 28003, Madrid
Found in ‘Antón Martín’, Latazo is one of the best in Madrid for its quality and variety. They have offerings on their menu for all tastes. Drawing on this variety, their owner will recommend the perfect vermouth for you based on your preferences. His recommendation for me was spot on and was one of the best I had ever had! For those who are new to Vermouth, or simply want to explore different varieties, leave it up to the owner, his knowledge is unparalleled. They have a small food menu with cold foods which are delicious when accompanied with their amazing drinks. The bar is small but cosy and attracts locals of all ages. For people who want an extra helping hand when trying vermouth for the first time, Latazo is worth the experience.
Mercado Anton Martin, Calle de Santa Isabel, 5, 28012, Madrid
This bar makes our list for their Vermouth, their cocktails, and their beach theme! Madrid lacks a beach, so any time a place tries to recreate the exotic beach vibes of Barcelona and Valencia it goes down well! Decorated with bright blue colours, palm trees and bright white lights, Bar Vacacion makes you feel like you’re seaside as you drink their wonderful Vermouth. You can now enjoy a Mediterranean beach all year round! Their ‘house speciality’ is made with orange, olives and saffron served cool. It is bursting with flavour, and for only €3 it is impossible to just take 1! If you want to take a vermouth in an alternative scene, come here and enjoy their trendy atmosphere, great food, and, most importantly, even better vermouth!
Calle del Espíritu Santo, 15, 28004, Madrid
By James Ansell
Front Photo Credit: Giorgio Trovato