Slow down at Slow Mex Madrid


Julie Andrews once sang about these are a few of my favorite things and if I were to pen some similar lyrics they would read along the lines of: margaritas, tacos and anything with a bit of spice.

In light of this, a long Saturday lunch spent at Slow Mex wasn’t exactly a hardship. A low key Mexican joint on Calle San Vicente Ferrer, that does a very nice sideline in craft beers is the ideal place to bunker down for the afternoon now that coat season is well and truly upon us in Madrid.

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Slow Mex has a big open space that feels slightly reminiscent to a pub back in Blighty (again, this could be thanks to the array of beers on tap). It feels like an unpretentious neighbour who invites you over and makes you feel instantly at home.

As it’s essentially a mecca for all things Mexican, all the standard offerings are present on the menu. Tacos, nachos, burritos – they’re all there. However, the homemade grub does offer a couple of fun twists on the to-be-expected tortilla based treats.

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We tried a fairly unusual starter. It was sort of similar to a kind of chowder but with a kick and studded with spicy prawns; it brought me back to life after a particularly boozy evening the night before. We rounded off the leisurely lunch with a brownie.

Again, it was a slightly pimped up version of an old favorite as this pud offered up sugar and spice – as it had just touch of chilli in it. It was downright delicious and had us reaching for one last margarita for the road.

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Special mention has to go to the Maitre D, Mark. He towed the line between clearly knowing his stuff (and wanting to share it with us) and being attentive enough without us feeling like we had a third person dining with us, which can sometimes be the case. He also pointed out that they have a happy hour. Am I the only one who views winter as the perfect excuse for day drinking? Surely not.

Either way, we left Slow Mex giggling and gloriously full. Thanks to the crispy duck tacos that I’m still thinking about, the diet can always wait until tomorrow. I’m just thinking of my winter insulation and working on my extra layer in the meantime.

by @littlemissmadrid

Slow Mex Madrid

  • Facebook, Website & Instagram
  • Address: Calle de San Vicente Ferrer 33
  • Metro: Tribunal or Noviciado
  • Phone: 915 326 791



Brunch at Roll Madrid – Gotta Roll With It


 We’ve all had those Sunday (or indeed Saturday mornings) when you wake up, well, how should I phrase this – praying for death? Your mouth’s dryer than the Sahara, there’s nothing in the fridge to quell your sickness and it feels as though someone’s taken a teeny, tiny jackhammer to your head. In situations such as the aforementioned (which happen far more frequently than I’d care to admit), the only solution for me is a boozy brunch.

Roll Madrid brunch

When you just can’t face waves of nausea coupled with beer fear, there’s nothing for it in my view except for hair of the dog. If this sounds familiar, let me introduce to to the perfect spot to cure your hangover; or perhaps indeed to just top up – RollMy friend and I pitched up a few Sundays ago, starved and in need of Bloody Mary’s.

Roll Madrid brunch

Luckily due to the ongoing Indian Summer, we were able to take advantage of the cute little terrace outside and enjoy some fresh air along with with our food. Roll takes the business of brunch seriously. The menu is akin to many that I’ve seen Stateside with plenty of choices that made deciding what to opt for quite the quandary.

Roll Madrid brunch
In the end we plumped for fried green tomatoes (they were un-be-lievable and I’m a girl who rarely gets her 5 a day), southern fried chicken (with mac ‘n cheese) and a cheeseburger teamed with sweet potato fries – I think you could’ve spotted our hangovers from 50 paces but the combo of carbs and cava sorted us right out.

Roll Madrid brunch

I’m not saying that Roll is just a remedy for when you’re feeling rough. Far from it. They do a roaring trade on the craft beer front and plenty of tasty tacos to boot.

Roll Madrid brunch
Roll Madrid brunch

Roll Madrid brunch

Meaning that there really is something for everything menu wise. The staff were happy to make suggestions given our slightly fragile state but recommendations or not, I have no doubt that everything would’ve been lip-smackingly good.

If you’re an American in the city I anticipate Roll alleviating some of your homesickness. However, yank or not, if you like good food and find yourself enjoying one too many cañas at the weekend, when you’ve enjoyed the rock side of things, head to Roll.

For more Madrid tidbits check out @littlemissmadrid on Instagram.

Info

  • Facebook & Website
  • Address: Calle Amainel, 23
  • Metro: San Bernardo / Noviciado
  • Phone: 918 057 930

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Street spotlight: Calle Ruda, a tiny portal between La Latina & Embajadores


It goes without saying that there’s no shortage of things to do in Madrid. In fact, sometimes there’s so much, you don’t know where to start. On those days when the sun’s shining and you’re itching to get out of the house, sometimes it’s best to just walk to a cool part of town and let the city do its thing. We’re here to give you some inspiration.

Calle de la Ruda

La Latina and Embajadores—bustling multicultural hubs—are connected by a string of tiny streets full of surprises. One of them is Calle Ruda, which takes you straight from Mercado La Cebada to Plaza Cascorro, and makes the very short walk well worth it.

Calle Ruda by Naked Madrid

Onis, for old-school charm

If you enter the street from Calle Toledo, you’re greeted by the classic corner bar, Onis.

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This place is the definition of castizo. Tapas in the glass display case, tobacco machines, weird arcade games, and a grumpy server who has probably been here since the place opened (which was 1976, I’ve learned).

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Ruda Café, for coffee

Looking for something more modern? We got you. Keep heading down Ruda and you’ll come across Ruda Café, a new (opened last year) coffeeshop that’s riding the wave of java experts that has hit Madrid in recent years. We’re not mad about this trend. And yes, they have wifi. They also sell packaged artisanal coffee and tea, jam, art, and coffeemakers.

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De Piedra, for handmade jewelry

But there’s only so much coffee you can drink (unfortunate, I know). So now that you’re fueled up, you’re ready to browse the cute little shops of this gem of a street. If you’re a fan of jewelry and creepy mannequins, pay a visit to De Piedra, an artisanal jewelry shop at C/ Ruda 19. They haven’t been at this location long, but the store has been open for some 15 years.

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Molar, for records, books and cassette tapes

Next you’ll come across my personal favorite place on the street, Molar. Think record store meets bookshop.

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They even sell cassette tapes, which is not something you see every day in Mad City.

Mamá Elba, for something sweet

Got a sweet tooth? Mamá Elba has been open a mere 3 weeks, and is already drawing a loyal customer base. Their selection of ice cream (including vegan and gluten-free), cakes, and coffee will leave you overwhelmed by heavenly choices.

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Erre Catorce (R14), for art and design

R14 is another brand new spot on the street, just open for a month. It’s a modern interior design shop, with local art, restored vintage furniture pieces (from around the world, namely Scandinavia and the US), apparel, and lots of cool home decor.

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Soon they’ll be putting on events to promote and discuss interior design and art, so keep your eyes peeled and follow them on Facebook.

La Tienda de Cerveza, for craft beer

Next up: craft beer. Okay, I lied before, THIS place is my favorite. La Tienda de Cerveza is a must in La Latina (and in the city, really). The shelves are lined with hundreds of bottled or canned craft beers and ciders from both Madrid and around the world. They have a few tables in the back, and they hold tasting events often. An absolute must for cervecerxs.

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Tienda Biológica, for something healthy

Something I love about Madrid is that you can eat healthy without going bankrupt. Tienda Biológica is living proof of this. This small organic food shop sells health products at reasonable prices, and it’s run by the sweetest lady.

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La China Mandarina, for a great meal in a modern space

And last but not least (and not even covering half of the street’s spots), for a great meal and a laidback ambience, visit La China Mandarina at the end of Calle Ruda (closest to Plaza Cascorro). It’s one of those places that masters the art of offering both very traditional and very modern cuisine on the same menu. So if you’re craving a tortilla de patatas but your friend has a hankering for a vegan burger, there’s something for everyone.

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They have great wifi and won’t roll their eyes if you work on your laptop all morning (I know from experience).

Calle Ruda is just one of a plethora of tiny goldmines in Madrid. If none of these spots call your attention (tough crowd!), we suggest you still come to the area on a beautiful day and just get lost. You can’t go wrong.

 




Taproom Madrid: the craft beer bar we were all waiting for


If you’re anything like me, you’ve been patiently awaiting a bar with a great selection of quality craft beer.

Over the past few years, there have been a few contenders. In fact, just in the past year, several new cervecerías artesanales have popped up around the city center, especially in the Malasaña and Lavapiés neighborhoods.

But with relatively small selections, these bars have left the diehard fans much to desire.

That is, until Taproom Madrid came onto the scene.

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Tucked into the up-and-coming university neighborhood of Moncloa, Taproom Madrid offers 40+ delicious craft beers on tap, from IPAs to porters, pale ales, stouts, amber ales and everything in between.

Taproom is one of those place where there’s something for everyone. Not sure which beer to order? You can do a tasting of four different cañas for 10€. Or you can always ask the friendly and beer-savvy bartenders, who recommended me the Founders’ Porter (spoiler alert: it’s the stuff dreams are made of).

If you come hungry, Tierra Burrito (the work of the same owners) is right next door, and you can bring your burrito to the bar while you sip a cold one.

Beer + burritos + good music… what more can you ask for?

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As if that weren’t enough, if you’re a soccer fan, there’s an added bonus: the space’s enormous projector screens always have a game on.

Although the space is gigantic by Spanish standards—with two seating areas plus a patio—the place still gets full to the brim by 8pm. Go early (they open at 6pm) to score a seat.

Taproom Madrid: the craft beer bar we were all waiting for

Info:

  • Facebook
  • Address: Guzmán El Bueno, 52
  • Metro: Moncloa / Argüelles
  • Phone: 915 50 05 85



Cervezas Madriz: Craft beer with Vietnamese treats in Chamberí


There is no doubt that Madrid has a long-standing relationship with beer, but the city’s newly thriving craft beer scene is revitalizing the bars of its diverse neighborhoods. Cervezas Madriz Hop Republic attracts those in search of a damn good craft beer and does not disappoint. Each week, their eight taps rotate to include their own artisanal beers as well as a selection of other local and craft beers.

Cervezas Madrid by Naked Madrid

Cervezas Madriz exemplifies the balance-and-blend authenticity of Madrid from the heart of Chamberí on Calle Cardenal Cisneros. The chic bar draws inspiration from the city itself by naming its craft beers after barrios (including their very own Chamberí) while adding a unique spin to the menu by featuring Vietnamese-inspired tapas. The cat, symbol of Madrid residents, can be seen throughout the bar on every label and menu.

Cervezas Madrid by Naked Madrid

It was Thursday night; my friend Annette and I were seated on the last pair of bar stools except for those in the back corner. The lively atmosphere was amplified by the sounds of chatter and laughter while the bartender, Javi, gave us an overview of the beer list and suggested we try a tasting flight of some of the most popular.

And so we did.

Cervezas Madrid by Naked Madrid

Bar-goers are invited to educate themselves while they enjoy themselves at Cervezas Madriz. The menus feature profiles on selected brews and enumerate the proper way to taste beer.

Cervezas Madrid by Naked Madrid

Following the steps, Annette and I tried the four beers on our flights. While my favorite was the Chamberí and hers was the blonde Arapíles, they all were perfectly paired with our tapas of dumplings and spring rolls.

Find your new favorite artisanal brew? Not to worry, Cervezas Madriz can bottle it for you take bring home.

Madriz offers a fresh, new atmosphere where craft beer connoisseurs can taste the spirit of Madrid.

Info

Facebook & Web

Address: Calle Cardinal Cisneros 21




The Place: Come, eat, and stay a while


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Eduardo opened The Place for the reason we all hope anyone would open a restaurant: he wants you to come over and try his food.

His finely tuned menu is the result of years of travelling around the world. Every dish we tried transported us to a different place, but every ingredient used is home-grown in and around Madrid.

This is reason enough to make The Place “the place to be”, but while we were there, other punters didn’t seem in any hurry to leave. They came for a coffee, suddenly had a cheese/meat platter in front of them, then dinner, and before they knew it, were holding a Caipirinha. Folks were getting totally carried away, confirming that The Place is also a pretty nice place to hang out.

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You can come to The Place for any reason (food, cocktails, wifi), but we were here for dinner, and as you do here in Spain, we decided to share everything.

The Asian-style Waka-Mola Salad with a guacamole and soy-sauce dressing is how I shall make salad from now on. The tabbouleh told tales of the Middle East, and the French-style quiche was packed full of Mediterranean vegetables. The subtle spices in Eduardo’s pumpkin soup momentarily transported me to India before I was hoisted north to Iceland with the Viking Veggie toasted goats’ cheese sandwich, and back to earth with a rustic baked ricotta cheesecake.

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As you can see, Eduardo has a bit of a thing for cutlery. The hallmarks on each handle tell a story, and if you look closely, you’ll find pieces from all corners of Europe, which is exactly where he picked them up. My teaspoon was made in Sheffield between 1900 and 1940! If you’re into cutlery too, you’ll find a haul of Spanish gems in the Rastro every Sunday.

There’s also an unusually good selection of artisanal beers – blond Czech lager and Cibeles Imperial IPA are on tap – and several bottled beers. You’ve also got plenty of local wines to choose from, plus an extensive cocktail and spirits menu.

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The front of the restaurant has a large solid-wood table, ideal for either groups or MacBooking soloists, and when summer eventually arrives, the wall-to-wall windows will be flung open. Even better is the snug through the back where the seating is comfy and cosy and stylishly un-matching. If you can, nab the sofa next to the wood-burning fireplace and upright piano and have a jangle on it if you graduated beyond Chopsticks.

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Info

  • Address: Calle del Noviciado 16
  • Metro: Noviciado & Plaza España



La Virgen brewery - worth the trip out to Las Rozas


As you might imagine, dragging myself out of bed and going to work on a Saturday morning is not really my idea of a good time, especially when it involves getting on a bus and schlepping all the way to Las Rozas. Ok, so it’s not really THAT far (about 20 minutes on the bus from Moncloa) but since I was making the effort to get out there, why not aprovechar and visit Cervezas La Virgen brewery and tap room afterwards?

Cervezas La Virgen

I’m sure most of you have tried one of the delicious artisan beers made by La Virgen, or at least seen them around at events like MadrEat. At their brewery in Las Rozas they offer tours (on Wednesdays only), tastings and, most importantly, a tap room where you can sample all of their tasty beverages. After I was done with work on Saturday, I toddled off to meet my friends there for some lunch and a few beers in the sunshine.

A pint of the good stuff

The brewery is located on an estate called Európolis, which perhaps isn’t the most picturesque corner of Madrid, although there was a nice yard full of cherry pickers across the road, plus the shop next door was called Bebépolis (sadly just full of baby stuff, not another place to drink at).

The beers on offer

We tried the Madrid 360 beer and a tasty IPA called Esperanza (they’d run out of the Veraniega) and both were excellent.

Bar food

They also serve a variety of bar food, including burgers, hotdogs and plates to share such as potato wedges and pinchos morunos. Again, all very tasty.

The outdoor terrace

It’s a popular spot for a Saturday afternoon, so all of the long tables inside were heaving with punters eating, drinking and making merry. We managed to grab a table outside on the terrace, which was very pleasant in the sunshine and afforded us the excellent view of the aforementioned cherry pickers. The whole place really had the feel of an American brew pub about it.

La Virgen

La Virgen isn’t exactly in the most convenient of spots, so the easiest way to get there is probably by car. However, if the car isn’t an option or no one fancies being the designated driver, there are plenty of buses from Moncloa to Las Rozas, and it’s a short(ish) walk to the brewery from there. The tap room is open every day from 12:30-16:30 and from 18:30-00:00, except for Sunday afternoons and Mondays. And for those of you who just can’t get enough, they also do beer to take away!

Cerveza para llevar

Info

Where: Parque Európolis nave A, Calle Turín, 13, 28232 Las Rozas, Madrid

Phone: +34 910 804 742

Website, Facebook and Twitter

Book tour here




Café del Rey, an unexpected restaurant behind Príncipe Pío


Situated on an unassuming street behind Príncipe Pío lies Café del Rey, a modern restaurant that’s totally unexpected. Although it’s a five-minute walk from the train station, as well as the Royal Palace, Templo Dubod and Plaza de España, the street it’s located on is quite off the beaten path.

James and I went on a Saturday night when the center was uncomfortably crowded, as per usual. Dodging pedestrians left and right, we headed down Cuesta San Vicente. Just before reaching the station, we turned right onto a quiet street called Paseo del Rey and bam! We’d completely escaped the city’s hustle and bustle and could finally breathe again.

Two minutes later we arrived at the restaurant, whose stylish decor stands out among the surrounding residential buildings. What is this modern restaurant doing here? It looks like it should be in Malasaña, Chueca, or even Salamanca. That said, we were happy it wasn’t located in those neighborhoods because it gave us the chance to try something new and head in a different direction.

cafe del rey front bar

photo from their Facebook, as are all the high-quality pics below!

The front part of the venue is a casual bar, delicatessen and shop. You’ll find sandwiches on baguettes, mouthwatering cakes and other treats on display, plus a great beer selection and wine list. We went for dinner so we sat in the dining area in the back, also chic and with plenty of space to remind us we weren’t in an itsy bitsy bar in La Latina (which we love, just sometimes we crave some leg room).

inside cafe del rey

As we were eating dinner, we couldn’t help but talk about how oddly situated the restaurant was. How could anyone find it if they weren’t looking for it? Bottom line is you couldn’t. That’s kind of why we like it. While in the summer I’m sure it’s always packed because of its beach-themed outdoor terrace, during the wintertime I imagine the clientele is more from the neighborhood, as well as people coming in from Principe Pio or after spending the day along Madrid’s river. They also hold events like wine and beer tastings that bring in patrons.

Café del Rey Madrid by Naked Madrid

Back to our dinner: James got a burger (which the waiter recommended) and I went with the salmon with vegetables (I’m on a bit of a health kick these days), accompanied by a few glasses of red wine.

Café del Rey Madrid by Naked Madrid

The table next to us was having a true feast and I must say the pasta and tuna dishes they ordered looked huge. We enjoyed our meal and the price range was reasonable. For example, the burgers cost €8-11. We didn’t end up trying their famous cakes which I honestly regret. That’s their specialty – the red velvet and carrot cake in particular – and they looked incredible!

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cafe del rey cakes

The wait staff were also very friendly and attentive. Since Café del Rey serves breakfast and brunch menus too, we’ve got plenty of reasons to go back. I also can’t wait till summer to check out their outdoor seating areas.

Info

 




Fogg Bar, Spanish Craft Beer and Artisanal Cheese in Huertas


Madrid’s craft beer scene has been flourishing in recent years with several bars and vendors popping up to meet an increasing demand. Fogg Bar, a new establishment situated on C/ Moratin in Huertas, stands out for serving exclusively Spanish-made artisanal beer on tap along with delicious cheeses.

Fogg Bar in Huertas Madrid by Naked Madrid

My friend Diana and I ventured in on a quiet Tuesday night and perched ourselves at the bar. We were able to chat with the charming proprietor, Marisol, who helped us decide which beers to sample. She and her husband opened this bar in September.

Fogg Bar in Huertas Madrid by Naked Madrid

They take a lot of pride in collaborating with smaller breweries and cheese distributors, often hosting tastings and gatherings where attendees can meet the brewers.

Fogg Bar in Huertas Madrid by Naked Madrid

First I sipped #5, the Columbus Goes North, an IPA from La Quince, a brewery in Madrid. This was followed up by #6, the Sweet Milk Stout from Four Lions, a distributor in León.

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I was impressed with the presentation of the tapas that accompanied each drink, as well as the butifarra, a typical Catalan sausage. I was quite taken by this establishment and recommend it to all craft beer aficionados looking to taste Spanish-made beers.

Info

For more on Madrid craft beer, check out:




Madrid's Best Rooftop Bars – Round 4


With temperatures reaching well over 100 ºF (38 ºC), there are only two places you should be in Madrid right now: either in a swimming pool (in the city or the mountains) or on a rooftop bar. If you’re stuck with the latter, not to worry—Madrid has plenty of rooftop bars for you to escape to. To help you find them, Naked Madrid came out with a 3-part series on Madrid’s best rooftop bars last summer, and we’ve been meaning to come out with part 4 ever since. And it’s finally here! All the rooftop bars in this article are located in the center of Madrid, yet each one offers something completely different. Hope you enjoy them all!

Oh and you should also know that part 5 is already on its way…. so stay tuned!

1) The Hat (Sol/Plaza Mayor)

The hat rooftop bar by Naked Madrid

You’ve never seen a hostel like this before; the word ‘hipster’ does not even begin to describe it. High ceilings, art-scrawled walls and an international crowd are what you’ll find here. The Hat’s rooftop bar is open all year round, serving up cocktails and delicious tostas (my favorite is with goat cheese and caramelized onions, and comes with a shot of salmorejo and potato chips), quiche, and some pretty damn good tortilla de patata. Here’s a full post on The Hat for more info.

Web
Address: Calle Imperial 9
Metro: La Latina, Sol, Opera 
Phone: 917 72 85 72

2) Mercado del San Ildefonso (Malasaña)

Mercado de San Ildefonso by Naked Madrid

Mercado de San Ildefonso by Naked Madrid, Madrid's best food market on calle Fuencarral

We all know Madrid’s market culture is off the hook. We’ve got Mercado de San Miguel in Sol for the tourist crowd; Mercado de San Antón (whose rooftop bar we also love and mentioned in Round 1) in Chueca for the cooler and more urban crowd; and Mercado de San Fernando in Lavapiés for the more authentic and cultural crowd, just to name a few. And now we have Mercado de San Ildefonso, which takes the cake for its architecture and impressive use of space. Once an average neighborhood market, San Ildefonso now boasts three stories of gourmet food stalls and two outdoor patios sandwiched between its adjacent buildings. Here’s a full article on Mercado del San Ildefonso.

Facebook
Web
Address: C/ Fuencarral, 57
Metro: Tribunal
 

3. El Jardín Secreto (on Calle Montera, Gran Via)

Salvador Bachiller Jardin Secreto Calle Montera 37 by Naked Madrid, rooftop bar

Jardín Secreto feels like a tiny rooftop garden in somebody’s private home. You wouldn’t expect that it’s actually situated on top of an accessories store – Salvador Bachiller – and on Calle Montera, no less. Smack in the center of the city, in between metros Gran Vía and Sol, you can enter this normal-looking store, pop up to the top floor and take in the fresher air with a drink and a bite to eat. It might not have any views, but it sure has a unique ambience and surprise factor that’s worth experiencing. Here’s a full article on Jardín Secreto for more info.

Facebook
Address: Calle Montera 37
Phone: 915 31 02 60
Metro: Gran Vía or Sol

4. Innside Madrid Suecia (near Alcalá/Plaza de Cibeles)

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I haven’t actually been here yet but many of my friends have raved about it. Judging by its location, the new rooftop bar at Innside Madrid Suecia Hotel looks a bit more upscale than the others on this list – probably best for a night out of cocktails mixed with a killer view. It’s owned by the Meliá Hotel chain, which also owns the famous The Roof” in Plaza Santa Ana, previously mentioned in Round 3), and situated on a street behind Calle Alcalá and El Círculo de Bellas Artes (with yet another stunning rooftop, “Tartan Roof”, mentioned in Round 1). For now, I’ve taken these photos off of the Hotel’s web, yet I plan on replacing them as soon as I get the chance to treat myself to such an experience.

Web
Address: Calle del Marqués de Casa Riera 4
Metro: Banco de España and Sevilla
 

5) Gourmet Experience at El Corte Inglés (Callao)

Gourmet Experience in Callao Corte Inglés by Naked Madrid

Gourmet Experience in Callao Corte Inglés by Naked Madrid

Madrid’s number one department store, El Corte Inglés, finally decided to give itself a much needed facelift and revamp the 9th floor of its location in Callao, turning it into ‘Gourmet Experience’; and it truly is an experience. With an outdoor rooftop and dozens of food stalls, one of which is StreetXO, an affordable version of Madrid’s famous young Michelin-starred chef, David Muñóz’s DiversoXO, you’ll also find stalls serving Mexican, Italian, Spanish and Japanese food, as well as cocktails, ice-cream and much more. Here’s  full article on Gourmet Experience at Callao.

Web
Address: Plaza Callao 2, inside El Corté Inglés, 9th floor
Metro: Callao
 

We’re already working on Round 5 of Madrid’s top rooftop bars. Any suggestions?

In case you haven’t seen rounds 1-3, here you are: