Gin tonic, rum with coke and whiskey and ginger ale. All great drinks but very repetitive. What about an Old Fashioned, Vesper Martini or just on the rocks? Sounds much sexier. Cocktails are becoming a bigger trend and the quality is improving, as are the bartenders standing behind the bar.
So if you want to impress a date or your friends with some classy glasses and just plain cool-looking cocktail bars, I present you a list of some very fine venues. These venues have some excellent bartenders and the service is guaranteed to be great.
So stop deciding which gin you will pair with what tonic and enter the world of James Bond and Don Draper.
1. Le Cabrera in Bárbara de Braganza, 2
This is one of the best looking and coolest cocktail bars in Madrid. Unofficially also known as the best cocktail bar in Madrid. Opened by Diego Cabrera who hails from Quilmes, Argentina, every detail has been tended to. Although Diego has recently left the bar to open a new venue, the bar has still retained all its quality. The idea behind the bar came when Sergi Arola offered Diego, who was looking to have his own place, to be part of his project to turn the lower half of Le Cabrera into a bar.
This cocktail bar, even for all its beauty, would be worth very little without the men and women standing behind all the bottles and fruit. The bartenders regularly take part in WORLD CLASS, a competition of the best bartenders in the world, going through to the finals for Spain.
To get to the cocktail bar, you have to go down the stairs when you arrive inside. Upstairs they have a restaurant in which I have never eaten. All cocktails cost 11€ and are well worth it.
Recommended Cocktail: Old Fashioned Bourbon.
The trick with the Old Fashioned is to stir the ice for long enough (approx. 5 minutes) in the glass. The Bulleit Bourbon is a truly excellent one and has recently been launched in Spain.
Metro: Chueca / Colon
2. Costello in Caballero de Gracia 10
Great cocktails and live music! I just love this combination. On the ground level you will find an excellent bar with house bartender regularly offering you to challenge him by making up a cocktail on the spot. All you have to do is to tell him if you prefer it sweet, sour, etc., and if you want to have a specific ingredient. Then this wizard will create it.
Downstairs is a basement with a stage and a further bar (no cocktails). Regularly offering live music of Spanish bands, this is what makes Costello unique. One of the best concerts I went to in Madrid was with the front man playing the saxophone.
Very easy to find as you start to walk to the massive McDonald’s on Gran Via and from there, the bar is located in a side street. On weekends, you will want to arrive before 22h or will have to wait a little outside.
Recommended Cocktail: Make your own! Or choose the Missionary’s Downfall (picture above)
Metro: Gran Via / Sol
3. Only You – Barquillo 21
Opened less than 6 months ago, this hotel is very chic and modern. The reception area shows a wall of white suitcases for starters, and they have a blue room where a cup of tea or a Martini would not be out of place.
What also impresses is the friendly customer service and bright back bar lights. You can clearly see the different type of spirits on offer and nothing is hidden away or obscured.
On Thursdays, they offer an AfterWork with a different concept and music each week. The cocktails cost 11€. The menu offers a large selection of different drinks. I would recommend trying one of their 5 own creations. The menu card will also explain to you what type of flavour the different gins have.
Recommended Cocktail: Barquillo Boyz
4. Bon Vivant in Calle San Gregorio, 8
Another Gastrobar that recently opened in Madrid. It does concentrate more on being a restaurant but the cocktails have a great flair about them. If you order the Piña Colada it will be presented to you in a pineapple—a very real, very big and delicious pineapple.
The cocktail bar is located at the back with bright back bar lights. Take a seat at the bar and watch the bartender create the cocktail in front of your eyes. There is a lot of action; the crushed ice is made by hacking a large block of ice with a pick to pieces. Goggles are not included in the experience.
Recommended Cocktail: Pisco Sour
If you’re more of a beer person than a cocktail person, check out our posts on Madrid’s rising beer scene:
- A Beer State of Mind in Madrid, the best places to get craft beers in the city
- La Buena Cerveza, a shop in Chueca where you can find all types of imported and craft beers, as well as do tastings and workshops
Or check out our favorite Madrid rooftops where you can have both!