Hg2 : The Hedonist

A Hedonist’s guide to…

Madrid

La Venencia
A local favourite, La Venencia is a decades-old bar that’s serves sherry and local tapas to devoted Madrileños and sherry-loving visitors.
Le Cabrera Cocktail & Gastrobar
Le Cabrera Cocktail & Gastrobar is a sleek and trendy joint in Madrid specialising in cocktails and tapas, with an extensive selection of spirits on offer.
Costello
Aside from specialising in an impressive array of live music of all genres, there are even nights of stand-up comedy and short-film seasons. A hip bar for any night of the week.
Museo Chicote
This hangout was put on the map in the 1950s. Once attracting the likes of Hemingway, Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly, today Chicote draws an older crowd who like to see and be seen sipping on gin tonics and martinis.
El Parnasillo
Take a red velvet banquette, order from the well-trained staff and see if you can take part in some of the highbrow conversation that made this café so famous during the cultural revolution.
EO
Classic surroundings, superb cocktails and funky vibes have given this bar a loyal following - and the pace picks up Thursday-Saturday when the DJs hit the decks.
Stars Dance Cafe
If you're out to have a good time, Stars is a safe bet; a café, restaurant and hang-out zone during the day and a great party venue by night, it is all things to all men.
Areia
Areia, dubbed a 'colonial chill out bar', may well be a little too cool for its own good, but the atmosphere is chilled and the selection of cocktails, teas and cakes more than adequate...
Ramses
Belvedere Lounge
Specialising in an impressive array of vodkas, the team behind Ølsen have created one of the coolest bars in the city - the perfect place to take advantage of the ample seating and admire all the pretty people...
Oui
Oui, with its original set-up, dark and atmospheric vibe and experienced management, is well worth a look.
Puro Placer
Triumphantly flouting the smoking ban, Puro Placer offers a specially ventilated humidor, from where you can choose a fat cigar to enjoy amongst the orange hues of this attractive bar.
Geografic Club
Geografic is a rare find in a Barrio lacking in decent bars; it is therefore packed, helped by the delicious tapas and, for later, chocolate brownies...
Anglona
Get in there early to claim one of the plunging sofas and then sit back and enjoy a professionally prepared mojito...
El Clandestino
Regular jam sessions on the bottom floor alternate with smooth jazz, home grown pop, house and ambient music. The vaulted brick dance floor rarely has space to actually dance - but the beautiful crowd ensures you don't mind packing in like a sardine.
Bar Museo Los Gabrieles
Despite a soundtrack that is slightly incongruous with the décor, which harks back to its famous flamenco past, this bar caters for all. You can even still catch a flamenco show some nights of the week...
Chocolateria San Gines
Within easy distance of Centro's high-street retail jungle, this is a popular spot for tourists to take a snap because of its renowned Chocolate con Churros. In contrast, it is also an obligatory pit stop for locals in search of a post-clubbing fix.
Nietzsche
Cool has come to La Latina in the form of this laid-back exhibition space-cum-bar. Come to watch the weirdness unfold as live acts performance art and projection screens make for a distinctly surreal-feeling evening...
Lamiak
One of La Latina's most popular hangouts, Lamiak offers the chance to see the neighbourhood at its best, with a constant stream of afternoon drinkers coming and going.
Viva Madrid
Open both during the day and at night, it's worth arriving at this beautifully decorated bar early in order to secure a table from which to admire its tiled décor, romantic prints and vaulted ceiling.
La Otra Habana
Unadulterated mojitos and a raft of expertly shaken cocktails await those who choose to move to the Cuban beat. Don't expect to find a lot of space for your dance moves, but do expect a friendly, unpretentious crowd.
La Fontana de Oro
A large bar on the ground floor offers a wide variety of Irish beers and liquors as well as a limited tapas menu, while live bands perform most weekends to an often raucous crowd.
El Bonanno
If you don't know anyone to start with, you soon will in this cheery bar frequented by the young and trendy...
Bar Cock
This long-established cocktail bar has an atmosphere of professional drinking, and is a Madrid institution.
Bristol Bar
For those seeking sports fixtures or a bit of expat bonding, Bristol Bar is a good alternative to its grimier Irish pub counterparts. There's a restaurant serving British and American dishes, and even a plentiful selection of gins - fancy that!
El Viajero
Spread over three stories, this place is everything in one. Secure a comfortable sofa and while away the hours until closing time...
Bufalino
A haven in a sea of vice and coffee-chains, this charming neighbourhood bar is a local favourite. Swing by to lunch on its experimental Italian/Argentinian cuisine or just to watch the world go by over a glass of wine or two...
Loft 39
The wallets of the clientele are bulging and the quality of the stock behind the bar is high enough to meet their expectations. A very exclusive vibe and a range of ages and fashion styles in evidence.
Olivera
This Serbian-run venue is popular with artistic types and their beautiful muses who kick back and relax in the subtly lit space to listen to jazz, electro funk and bossanova, as well as music from the Balkans.
El Son
With a latino soundtrack, incredibly friendly atmosphere and over 90 kinds of rum on offer, only the décor is subdued at El Son.
Suite
Grab one of the cream-coloured leather armchairs or sofas by the front window, and watch the mainly hetero crowd shout above the trance, funk or house music that seems to get louder and harder as the night wears on...
El Barbu
If you're looking for nooks and crannies, this softly lit labyrinthine bar is the perfect place to disappear for an hour or so...
Cafeina
Visit at night for a packed, buzzing atmosphere - or during the day for a more relaxing sit-down with El Pais...
José Alfredo
This bar is often busy, but the people to be seen make up for that - whether they're the pierced and tattooed yet friendly waiting staff or the occasional Almodóvar starlet...
Del Diego
The barmen here, always in a blur of activity, look as though they could mix cocktails in their sleep - and this is true despite the fact that the menu includes in excess of fifty choices...
Balmoral
You would be forgiven for thinking you were in a remote castle in the Scottish highlands at Balmoral, where the atmosphere is refined and civilised and the queues non-existent.

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