It’s safe to say that bars in Malasaña are pretty much ten a penny. There’s possibly more bars than beards, and that’s saying something. What’s not so common though, is to find a bar that looks super appealing from the street, yet for one reason or another you’re yet to make it inside.
This had been the case with Varsovia for literally, months. I’d strolled past it almost daily either on the way to work or the gym, however, I’d never actually been. So feeling high on hump day vibes last Wednesday, I decided to suggest it to a friend for a long overdue catch up, and to see if what was on the inside was as engaging as the exterior.
It was rammed. This might be partly due to Madrileños being on a countdown to Christmas and therefore not really needing to have their arm twisted when it comes to a post work copa. But even at 8pm (a slightly weird time to be boozing here) – not quite after work, definitely not post dinner – but the atmosphere was buzzing.
We quickly discovered that it was one of the waitresses’ birthdays so a chorus of Cumpleaños Feliz rang out as we entered, and a cake appeared from nowhere – which the lovely Virginia even offered to share. First impressions count and the immediate feeling was one of friendliness and very much that it was a local bar, for local people.
The cocktail list is extensive but we thought we’d pace ourselves and start with a gin. Virginia kindly recommended that we sample a Nordes (one of my faves hailing from the North West of Spain) which even came with a little tapa of manchego cheese.
I’m always beyond thrilled when you’re offered a food freebie in Madrid, as whilst it remains commonplace in the south of Spain, it’s a lot less common in the capital unless you’re offered some bog standard olives. Manchego cheese has become a cheese of choice for me and for this reason alone I was delighted.
Gins slurped, we thought we’d then sample some of the hard stuff. A gin cocktail that was nameless (we explained that it was our spirt soulmate) and we were promptly presented with a concoction that was gin based but laced with juicy apple flavours.
Cocktails in hand, we were able to chat whilst appreciating the background tunes which weren’t offensively loud , as can so often be the case. I was told that come weekends, DJs frequently take to the decks and kick-out doesn’t happen until 3am – leaving you plenty of time to get the party started.
Varsovia seemed to offer something for everyone. Cocktails for those looking for some for weekday (or weekend) glamour. As well as vermouth for those who like their tipples to be a little more traditional.
Don’t make my mistake of walking on by. Stick your head in and give it a try (apologies for the terrible rhyme, clearly there’s a frustrated poet in me itching to get out).
- Address: Calle San Andrés 33
- Metro: Bilbao