In the warmer months, Madrid becomes inundated with talk of rooftop terraces: which one is the coolest, where’s the best view, who has the best drinks? There are the perennial favorites, the ones that always crop up on tourism sites and lists of local secrets. And then there’s Cubanismo.
On the third floor of the massive concept store and multipurpose complex that is El Paracaidista, this Cuban-inspired cocktail bar offers a hidden escape from the busy streets of Malasaña. To enter the building, you’ll need to sign in at the front desk, and then journey through displays of chic clothing and artsy accessories to reach the bar itself. It may not actually be on the building’s roof… but it makes up for this technicality with an incredible atmosphere.
Once you arrive, you’ll be instantly transported back to 20th-century Cuba, or at least a romanticized idea of it. A small indoor area features sofas, mirrors, and old wooden furniture, plus a marble bartop staffed by white-shirted waiters.
The terrace is roomy but still small enough to feel intimate. It features wooden chairs with brightly colored cushions, red umbrellas, and a view of the surrounding rooftops. This isn’t the place to go for a panoramic view of the city, but it’s cozy and charming in its own way. At night, flickering candles make it especially romantic.
The drink menu is creative and complete, with something for everyone. For the full experience it’s essential to order a mojito, which comes in a tall glass with crushed ice, fresh mint leaves, a preserved lime slice, and a touch of Angostura bitters. Other drinks include aperitivos that put an original twist on classics like the Negroni and Bloody Mary. The menu offers various rum drinks, among them the intriguing Cavalibre (rum, lime juice, cava, cola syrup, and Angostura) and the Made in Cuba, with hints of cucumber and absinthe.
Gin lovers will also find several tempting options, flavored with things like blackberry liqueur, apricot brandy, and passion fruit purée. While cocktails are definitely the specialty here, they also offer wine, beer, sangría, and even non-alcoholic takes on classic drinks. If you’re hungry, order a snack like guacamole, hummus, jamón ibérico, a cheese board, or ice cream for dessert.
Although the prices are slightly above average, they’re by no means unreasonable. And for the entire month of October, 2017, all cocktails and mixed drinks are 2 for 1 during happy hour (5:00 to 8:00 pm, Tuesday through Friday). This deal also applies to Parq, the full-service restaurant on the floor above—but if I were you, I’d skip the pricey entrées and stick to Cubanismo’s drinks and snacks. After spending a couple of hours here, you might never want to leave.