Entirely different from any of the other bars in Madrid, Balmoral is formal but unstuffy, and with its grand fireplace and range of fine whiskies, you would be forgiven for thinking you were in a remote castle in the Scottish highlands. It gets busy in two shifts – firstly from 7.30pm to 9pm with after-work drinkers and shoppers, and then with the up-market Salamanca regulars who arrive late for the last of the night.
Passers-by are warmly welcomed, and this is a great spot for a coffee or digestif after a meal in one of Salamanca’s smarter restaurants. The refined and civilised atmosphere means there are no queues at the bar, no music and plenty of chairs to go around. Balmoral first opened in 1955 and hasn’t changed much since. In its heyday (in 1987/88) it was voted Best Bar in Europe by Newsweek magazine.