As you walk through La Paca’s door, you feel like you’re in the right place. This funky café in Malasaña is always a good choice when you’re in the mood for a coffee, a beer, or something stronger.
La Paca is divided into two areas: the ground bears a worn-out floor from a different time period, when the place used to be a family’s house. Vintage furniture from every single corner of Spain fills the room: old sofas, lamps, Galician mirrors, and bird-cages. La Paca‘s owner is an antique collector who travels across Spain in pursuit of treasure troves. You can find his finest pieces either sold at his vintage store La Republicana, or displayed at La Paca.
One step up and you’ll find Chema, the star bartender and the man who runs the show. As I say in Spanish, he’s “un terremoto de felicidad” (an earthquake of happiness). Working alongside Chema is his sister, Vero, who’s also the perfect host. Feel free to ask them both about the place and their drinks.
La Paca’s menu has different types of tea and coffee served with cakes (carrot, cheese or couland which is an oozy chocolate muffin-type cake), and bizcocho (pound or sponge cake). If you’re looking for a drink, they also have a wide collection of craft beers (made from Madrid breweries) on tap, wines and cocktails.
In this quintessential Malasaña café, you’ve also got to try their tortilla de patatas (homemade Spanish omelet), it is my favourite!
Another feature that makes La Paca so special is its events. On Wednesdays at 9pm, they have free movie night downstairs. They prepare the room in a way that reminds me of a movie night at a friend’s house; sofas and people scattered about with no order whatsoever (plus the popcorn is also free!). I went last Wednesday and saw Kill Bill I, and the week before they had shown Taxi Driver (in Spanish with no subtitles).
On Thursdays, La Paca holds acoustic music performances, making room for up and coming Spanish artists. Although Wednesday movie nights and Thursday concerts are held regularly, La Paca showcases several other events such as theater performances, independent markets, English classes, clown shows, and art exhibitions. In fact, when it comes to art exhibits, they’re booked until 2016!
What I like most about La Paca‘s events is the way they’re set up. Last time I was there, I ended up sharing a few beers with Chema and Vero, and I asked them how they make money from their events. Their answer was as simple as it was nice: they just want to help people from the neighborhood. If you have a creative project and you need a place to start, you shouldn’t think twice about getting in touch with them.
Shhh…….. today is Wednesday night and the movie is about to start!
Address: c/ Valverde 36
Metro: Gran Vía or Tribunal