Chueca has heaps of great tapas bars. Here are a few favourites:
Taberna Ángel Sierra, (Intermediate A+), 11 Calle Gravina, open 12.30pm-2am, www.facebook.com/TabernaAngelSierra, GEM ALERT!
Take the metro to Placa Chueca you will see Ángel Sierra straight in front of you at the end of the square as you come out of the exit (see photo).
This is my favourite bar in Chueca for pre-dinner drinks and tapas.
It was once a popular spot to meet or stand outside to watch local life pass by, but sadly you can no longer take your glasses out the door, or indeed smoke inside (tobacco stained ceiling notwithstanding).
It’s a beautiful old tiled bar (since 1917) with an ancient zinc counter in the front section where everyone stands sipping cañas or glasses of spicy draught vermut whilst picking at small dishes of delicious boquerones and olives.
You can order other tapas from the display case, or if you need a seat you can sit in the mock British pub room at the back (entrance around the side).
This room has an impressive collection of old photos and advertising signs for drinks on the walls. Click on them to get a better view.
You should come just to breath in the history.
La Piazzetta (Intermediate B), 8 Plaza Chueca, Tel. 91 523 8322
The Plaza Chueca experience is all about sitting outside with a cold drink at one of the bars. However for dining I think you’re better off going somewhere on the side streets around it, but if you must eat in the square, this place selling Italian food is ok.
I had four kinds of grilled veg, some Ravioli Pecorino y Pera (a nice combination but too much of it) and a good bottle of Mesoneros Ribera del Duero for €33.10
Café Comercial, 7 Glorieta de Bilbao (on the corner with Calle Fuencarrel), www.cafecomercial.es
Stop press! This place was undergoing renovations in 2016, but I revisited in February 2018 and am happy to report that the facelift has been completed and is very sympathetic to the original.
A classic Madrid cafe, founded in 1887 but I’m guessing they had a refit sometime in the 50’s.
It’s a huge place with a big bustling downstairs area with an ancient revolving door, brown leather seats, lots of mirrors and worn marble.
In the evening I like to sit outside with a copa of cognac (maybe after going to Ribeira do Mino which is nearby (see my post on regional restaurants in Chueca.
In the mornings I prefer the quieter upstairs where you can sit on one of the red mock-leather sofas by the windows to do the crossword with a plate of hot Churros and a Cafe con Leche by your side. Some days there will be groups of old guys gathered round a chess board but it’s usually very peaceful.
The coffee machine is constantly on the go as are the tiny oompaloompa waiters. They will attend to you eventually, so you can start the crossword while you wait. If you need a newspaper there’s a stand right outside the cafe that sells UK papers. The cafe also has free wi-fi (‘wee fee’).
Stop Madrid (Intermediate B), 11 Calle Horteleza, www.stopmadrid.es
A seemingly unremarkable bar except that in 1929 it was the first bar in Madrid to start selling charcuterie.
Great care is still taken to source the best ingredients and over fifty wines are available by the glass.
I had a glass of decent red Somontano (B) alongside a delicious canape of grilled goats cheese with a splodge of fig jam on top (A). I love black pudding and I love smoked food but sadly the Smoked Morcilla didn’t work for me (C).
Sidreria El Tigre (Elementary B), 30 Calle de las Infantas, eltigre.delsurweb.com,closed Sunday
A legendary bar, due to all the free tapas they give away with every drink. The clientele are a combination of a few locals and lots of tourists, particularly Americans it seems, and the atmosphere is always buzzing.
I went on a Sunday night when they weren’t as busy as usual. If you can’t get in the original place, they have two other locations at 23 Calle de las Infantas (open every day) and 23 Calle Horteleza (closed Monday).
For me, a large glass of red (C) was accompanied by several canapés topped with slices of serrano ham (B), cooked ham (C), chorizo (B-), all spotted with a gloopy (salmorejo?) sauce (C), a garlic mushroom (C) and croquettas (B-).
It’s unarguably great value if you don’t mind mediocre grub and battling to get in in the first place. Personally though I prefer to have better food and more elbow room.
El Respiro (Elementary B), 34 Calle Infanti
Another rough and ready cheap tapas bar that’s always very lively with a studenty crowd in the evening. The wine isn’t the best and the complementary tapas are a bit too greasy (lots of potatoes and sausage), but there’s something about the place that keeps bringing me back.
And there are plenty more!
More places to eat and drink in Chueca:
Traditional Madrileño restaurants here.
Traditional Spanish regional restaurants here.
Modern Spanish restaurants here.
International restaurants here.
Food shops here.
Google map with everything on here.
Photos from April 2011 and February 2016.