Macera TallerBar, a modern twist on an old tradition


There are handmade cocktails and then there are handmade cocktails. Macera TallerBar is a pioneer in the latter. One look inside this hip bar and you may be confused—there aren’t any familiar spirits lining the simple glass shelves.

Macera TallerBar by Naked Madrid

Don’t worry, though. What you’ll find is much better. Because instead of the well-known brands of gin, vodka, or rum, there’s only Macera’s own hand written labels.

Macera TallerBar by Naked Madrid

The idea behind Macera’s name is also what makes its bar shelves so unique. Founder Narciso Bermejo took inspiration from paxtaran, a Basque liqueur made by soaking crushed sloe fruits (a blackish berry) in liquor. This traditional technique, called maceration, infuses the host liquor with the color and flavor of whatever ingredient is added.

Macera TallerBar by Naked Madrid

Wanting to put a modern twist on a piece of Spanish heritage, Bermejo began experimenting with liquors and their complimentary flavors. The result is the many unique spirits that make up Macera’s menu today. Think rum infused with cinnamon and orange, gin with rosemary and thyme or red fruit, and whiskey with cherries.

The cocktail menu starts with a list of classics, which are then personalized with your choice of flavor infusion. Turn the page to find the spirits categorized by type with a list of all the different varieties of macerated flavor. If you prefer, you can simply pick one of these and a mixer of choice. No matter which combination you choose, all drinks are accessibly priced at 7€.

Macera TallerBar by Naked Madrid

Macera’s interior is modern and clean with an industrial vibe. In front, a handful of wrought iron tables face glass doors that slide open on nice days. The openness makes you feel like there’s always room for one more, a good thing since this place gets packed in the evenings. When you visit make sure to take a look towards the back, where lit shelves showcase the spirits on deck, all full of spices, herbs, and fruits working their magic.

Macera TallerBar by Naked Madrid

If it’s too early for a tipple, Macera is also an excellent workspace. To keep you going, there are green juices, natural sodas, and coffee, as well as a small selection of toasted sandwiches and homemade desserts. It goes without saying that all of these are made with the same care as their cocktails.

Info

  • Website & Facebook
  • Address: Calle San Mateo, 21
  • Metro: Tribunal or Alonso Martínez
  • Phone: 910 11 58 10

By Danielle Owens

A former Oregonian, Californian, and Bogotana, Danielle is (for now!) settled in Madrid. Since 2014, she’s chronicled her experiences living abroad on her blog, No Longer Native (Website & Facebook)

 

 




Salmon Guru, seriously fun spirits near Plaza Santa Ana


The terms craft cocktails and celebrity mixologist can make eyeballs roll faster than you can say Vesper Martini. Because with all the clapping of mint leaves and fancy garnishes, its easy for a place to take itself too seriously. 

And while the folks behind Salmon Guru do have some serious credentials (proprietor is mixology mastermind Diego Cabrera), you wont find any stern-faced barmen shaming your request for vodka here. The only thing serious at this spot is the bartenderslove for well-made drinks.

Salmon Guru bar by Naked Madrid

The dark, unassuming exterior on Calle Echegaray does little to reveal the neon lights and quirky decor inside. The front room is all 50s-era bungalow, with a bar and palm-print swivel chairs to one side and low seating against dark wood paneling on the other.

But dont stop there. Follow the neon glow toward the back room and youll find yourself in the middle of a pop-art light extravaganza, with neon lightning bolts on the ceiling and familiar comic book faces on the walls.

Salmon Guru bar by Naked Madrid

As soon as you sit down youll have a menu and glass of water plunked in front of you. If youve lived in Madrid for any length of time, you know how rare it is to find a spot wholl bring you a free glass (let alone keep it filled).

Just like the decor, the menu is an eclectic mix. Youll find perfectly executed classics listed alongside their in-house inventions. If youre not sure where to start, dont be shy!

The bartenders are more than happy to recommend a drink based on what you like. Even better is to simply ask about their favorites, which I how I found myself sipping a Laphroaig-infused old-fashioned that isnt on the menu.

Salmon Guru bar by Naked Madrid

Pasión, a blend of rum, coconut milk and passion fruit

Salmon Guru bar by Naked Madrid

Vesper Martini & classic Manhattan

Need one more reason to check out Salmon Guru? The place is a must for whiskey lovers. If you dont see your favorite amongst the extensive selection of American bourbon and rye on the shelves, ask to see their secret whiskey menu.

All in all, if youre looking sip impeccably made drinks somewhere thats hip while being unpretentious, definitely check out Salmon Guru.

Info

  • Facebook
  • Address: Calle Echegaray, 21
  • Metro: Sevilla or Anton Martin
  • Phone: 91 000 61 85

By Danielle Owens, Website & Facebook

A former Oregonian, Californian and Bogotana, Danielle is (for now!) settled in Madrid. Since 2014, she’s chronicled her experiences living abroad on her blog, No Longer Native.




Arts Club Madrid – Binge, don’t purge


I pride myself on revelling in all things indulgent. My mantra is generally something along the lines ‘Money – well you can’t take it with you’ – which come rent day can be a problem. However, if there are treats to be had/bought/sniffed out, then I’m the girl to find them. Upon recently discovering the Arts Club, I quickly realized that it was the kind of place where I’d happily blow my monthly food budget and then spend the remainder of the month wistfully eating beans on toast.

It is glam.

Arts Club Madrid Bar & Restaurant Review

We’re talking full on ‘feels like you’re on Sex and the City/channelling your inner Carrie Bradshaw’ glam – which is a bit of a rare find in a city that prides itself on a lack of pretentions. In fact, walk into the Arts Club and it feels as though Carrie Bradshaw’s name is written all over it – not literally, but you know what I mean. It’s the kind of place that you need to pop your heels on for, unless you fancy looking like the proverbial fish out of water.

The food

The menu is a super tempting mix of Asian fusion (a cliché sounding genre I know but the food was anything but lame). 

Date night

Arts Club Madrid Bar & Restaurant Review

The Arts Club is coincidently how to do a date night. This luxurious spot boasts an impressive beer, wine, and cocktail list; the chicest interior design and should someone else be paying (and can therefore stretch to the most sumptuous experience they have to offer) you can bag yourself a table/area for when the dinner part stops and the dancing part kicks in.

Being nestled in the heart of Barrio Salamanca helps it to retain its air of exclusivity but its laidback luxury is coincidently part of its charm. Whilst it may be swish and swanky it’s not intimidatingly so. I suggest, scarp that, I insist that you don your gladrags and spend an evening with the pretty peeps of Madrid.

Photo credit: Arts Club – Madrid

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Ana La Santa... Baby it’s cold outside


Being an expat in Madrid seems to equate to a couple of things; you’re highly likely to favour drinking a caña over a coffee (it honestly works out cheaper), most of your wardrobe will consist of Zara purchases (although that may just be me) and I’m pretty sure that come Autumn time, you start to long for Sunday afternoons curled up in a pub with a fire and a glass of red for company. Whilst Madrid can offer a visitor many things (often wall to wall sunshine), it doesn’t really pack a punch on the pub front…

However, Ana La Santa has been become my default option for when I’m craving cosiness, and there’s good reason why.

Situated in what is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful plazas in all of Madrid, Ana La Santa, the bar and restaurant that occupies the ground floor of the hard to miss Hotel ME, is without doubt the chicest (and next best thing) that’s akin to a Gastropub that you might find back in Blighty. Picture a roaring fire, squidgy sofas, easy on the eye staff and the kind of simple style that is more often found in Scandi-land and you’d be on the right page.

Ana La Santa by Naked Madrid

This season’s buzz word for urbanites is hygge.

Pronounced hoo-ga, this Danish word defies literal translation. In essence it means enjoying life’s small but soothing moments – perhaps nibbling some croquetas de jamón with one hand, whilst sipping a perfectly mixed Gin and Tonic in the other…

It’s about investing in emotional well-being through the simple and homespun. That’s exactly what I managed to achieve there on a bitingly cold Tuesday evening. I left feeling with a slightly larger waistline and feeling that our host (the wonderful Alba) was a new friend – the service was THAT good.

When Spain’s not sunny (and trust me it happens) I urge you to bunker down amid soft cushions, flickering candles and bask in the warmth of Ana La Santa. All that’s left on your part is to find yourself a Spaniard to snuggle with.

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Café Barbieri: A 114-year-old Art Noveau café in Lavapiés


Café Barbieri first brought modernist charm to Madrid’s working class district, Lavapiés, in 1902, and although the barrio has evolved dramatically over the last 114 years, the interior of this elegant bar hasn’t changed one bit.

Some things have changed though – Café Barbieri is owned by a charismatic chap from New Delhi and staffed with bilingual youngthings. It also now has a small terrace, but this is not why you’d come here – its appeal is truly the interior.

The whole place is lined with mirrors which back then were a symbol of wealth. These mirrors are now aging well, stained a smoky bronze colour with dots of grey rust creeping in from the edges. The ceiling is framed with grids of ornate girders that are connected to decorative cast-iron beams, typical of older buildings in Lavapiés. Although never on, there are ceiling fans too – something increasingly rare in Madrid.

At the back of the bar is a grand piano on a small raised stage. Almost every evening there’s a live music session often featuring the piano, and this place does food too – typical Spanish stuff but with an edge.

The worn white marble table tops and red velvet seating lining the dining area mark this place out as opulent, but that’s really not the vibe – it’s chilled and cosy and attracts a spectrum of people, from the intrepid tourist who’s braved it down the hill, to the unassuming local who fancies a read of one of the papers on offer.

Café Barbieri by day

Café Barbieri by day

Café Barbieri's beautiful ornate cieling

Café Barbieri’s beautiful ornate ceiling

The grand piano taking centre stage, and look at all those beautiful mirrors

The grand piano taking centre stage, and look at all those beautiful mirrors

Look at that original tiled floor!

Look at that original tiled floor!

The bar has a great selection of spirits & vermouth on tap

The bar has a great selection of spirits & vermouth on tap

Café Barbieri by night

Café Barbieri by night

Café Barbieri is also on the same street as the Greek foodie place, Egeo, so there you have it, your night is planned!

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1862 Dry Bar, staggeringly chic cocktail bar on Calle Pez


They say that Madrid has more bars per square mile than any other Spanish city (some even go as far as to boast, in Europe). Whilst I’m not sure of the exact bar tally, not that I’m all that concerned, what I do know is that you only need to step foot out of your house to see that Madrid is certainly not lacking in places to get a drink. If there’s one thing that Spaniards enjoy (aside from the stereotypical siesta) it’s a tipple or two.

However, bars in Madrid tend to generally fall into one of two distinct camps; the ones with the unmissable glow of strip lighting and scattered napkins, that generally tend to be frequented by a more aging population. And those that cater to fans of an exposed brick interior, shabby chic furniture and a drink served in a jam jar. This is what makes 1862 Dry Bar so unique. It falls into neither category and I’m all the more pleased for it. A staggeringly chic cocktail bar perched on the perennially popular Calle Pez, it may look discreet from the roadside, but upon stepping inside, you could quite easily be transported into the prohibition-era bars that are more likely to be found stateside, than in Spain.

The Rose at Dry Bar 1862 Naked Madrid


The affable owner, Alberto, is a fountain of knowledge on the cocktail front, in other words, what he doesn’t know about all things shaken or stirred isn’t worth knowing. The building (an old hardware store I believe) manages to effortlessly straddle being airy and cosy simultaneously. The downstairs is particularly sumptuous, with plenty of nooks for a clandestine date or an intimate chat, whilst sipping on your expertly made pisco sour. 
Gin Fizz at Dry Bar 1862 Naked MadridWhat I particularly loved about 1862 Dry Bar, was the clearly knowledgeable and creative bar staff. The menu has all the classics in place, but also offers up some truly unique cocktails made by guest mixologists ranging from Trailer Happiness (hailing from Hoxton), with another one being from The Ritz Madrid.

The furniture, the staff and ultimately the delectable drinks, make Dry Bar 1862 the perfect watering hole for a date night or a glamorous venue for a gaggle of friends. The cocktails are potent and pack a punch, however, the jewel in the crown is Alberto, whose passion for a decent drink prevails in a city that is often lacking.

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The Place: Come, eat, and stay a while


NOW CLOSED

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



New Cucos, a family-style restaurant in Arturo Soria


Sometimes when I go out to have lunch or dinner I can’t  help but think that an important part of customer service is missing. So when I had dinner at New Cucos with my friend, when we went outside afterwards, we could only say how well we were treated and what a wonderful dinner we had.

New Cucos is a family-style restaurant in the neighborhood of Arturo Soria. This closeness and warmth can be seen in the way Juan (the owner) treats everyone who works there, as well as all the customers who are having dinner or lunch.

The restaurant is located on the quiet street of Arturo Soria. It is a large space with a perfect covered terrace for more intimate dinners or larger celebrations. The terrace provides a very cozy place where you can talk quietly without being bothered by the next table, and then there’s also a smaller and equally cozy interior. The first day we decided to sit in inside, as Real Madrid was playing and we wanted to see the match. The second day we sat in the covered terrace, great decision.

The Food

New Cucos has a simple and traditional menu with very good quality ingredients. The portions are generous, in fact, the most popular dishes on the menu are large sharing platters; these can be great among a group of friends, or even just for two.

First we went for the warm burrata salad with cherry tomatoes. It was simply delicious. Great quality, never tried the burrata and I have to say I totally loved it.

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Burrata Salad

Then we decided to try the spring rolls with vegetables and prawns – a highly recommended and delicious dish as well.

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Spring rolls

By the time we had to eat our third dish, we were already full, but how can you say no to a plate of ravioli? These were filled with pumpkin and cheese sauce – simply spectacular and very rich. In fact the second time we went we couldn’t help but order them again.

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Ravioli

The second day we also ordered a delicious mixed salad. For me, nothing beats a well-prepared mixed salad.

Salad

Salad

As for the rest of the menu, in addition to the dishes to share, they have a small selection of fish and meat dishes. I have to say the South African ostrich burger looks delicious.

Prices are very reasonable. The first day we had three dishes, three glasses of wine and two beers for 47 euros. The second day our bill came out to 33 euros.

I’d also like to highlight once again that we received fantastic service both times we went; the staff was attentive, asking if everything was fine, and very importantly, without putting any pressure on us to leave. That sort of thing is very noticeable and makes your dinner even better.

Nothing else to add, New Cucos points out on Twitter: “eat and drink in an oasis” And I couldn’t agree more.

So, “Mucha mierda” (or “break a leg”) to Juan and the rest of his family. I’m sure we’ll see each other again soon!

Info

  • Where: Calle Arturo Soria 84
  • Metro: Arturo Soria
  • Tf: 913774039
  • Twitter
  • Monday to saturday 11 to 1.



Forasteros, a Madrid-based swing, gypsy-jazz and folk band


As a hub for artists and creative are types from all over the world, Madrid’s local live-music scene is energetic and diverse. As always, your friends at Naked Madrid are here to provide you with the best options as how to maximize the potential of your nights out. The first local musicians to be featured in this series are the swing, gypsy-jazz, folk group Forasteros.

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They have an interesting backstory because their members had all met by chance. The band was formed when its founder, lyricist and guitarist, Tom Buzz Cox from London, crossed paths with Tara during a Vaughan System teacher training course. Swing instructor Julia Hampson, also from London, was brought onboard as the violinist after an encounter busking the streets in Lavapies.

Tom recruited Hinata Myojin, a bassist from Japan, through another band in the community. Clarinettist Ricardo Vasquez from Texas/Mexico was discovered upon his response to an advertisement. They are unclear on how drummer Fernando Iglesias from Madrid entered the fold, strongly implying that he materialized out of thin air.

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They write in Spanish, English, French and even Japanese. Ricardo and Julia have a classical background and are well-versed in swing and Jazz. Overall the group combines aspects of gypsy-jazz, folk and swing while also being open to anything that takes their fancy: twisted Latin rhythms, funk, DnB hints.

Their ambition is to make people laugh, dance and feel while also “talking about difficult shit.” says Tara Lowe, their singer and lyricist, who I have known for the greater part of the year as two of my close friends were her flatmates. Lowe, a long-term expat from Cardiff enjoys writing songs about everyday life that are “cheeky, honest and indulgent.”

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Forasteros’ songs have addressed some of the more relatable aspects of living in Madrid with their songs “Landlord from Hell, title self-explanatory, as well as “Banks of June” which focuses on lust and broken hearts. Their track “Springtime Shuffle” centers on opportune new beginnings while “Cuando” is just about dancing.

Forasteros performs a lot in Lavapies in the venues of Gato Verde, Taberna Alabanda, La Tortuga, La Tabacalera and Centro de Creacion y Investigation. Their First EP, “Hello you!” was recorded at The Treehouse Madrid Studios on the label of Vestizo Azul Records. It is available free on Bandcamp. Check out their video of Devil in the Trees” from their new EP.

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Info

Follow them on Facebook & their Bandcamp page and be sure to see them perform live! Their EP Hello You launches on the 12th November at Intruso Bar – with supporting artist Taiacore. Tickets can be purchased at GiglonThe first 50 people to arrive will get a free EP and poster.




Gin O'Clock — Time to Enjoy Madrid's Finest G&T's


In my youth (to be said in granny-esque tones) I had many love affairs, with many different tipples. You name it; I’d tried it (and more than likely I would have had the hangover to show for it). Malibu and Pineapple, Archers and Lemonade, Amaretto and Coke followed by a brief dalliance with Vodka and Cranberry. They’d all been enjoyed (or endured) until I finally met my drink soulmate; the G&T.

Being a Brit, it’s fair to say that they’d had always been on my radar, but upon moving to Madrid my unabashed obsession with them reached fever pitch. Clearly encouraged by the sheer abundance of gin bars that positively litter the calles of pretty much every barrio. To this end I’m going to share my gin aficionado tips on where to grab the best G’Vine in the city.

La Prudencia

Best places for a Gin Tonic in Madrid by Naked Madrid

Situated on one of my favourite streets in Madrid, this small but perfectly formed bar is ideal for a romantic rendezvous due to its gorgeous low lighting and shabby chic decor, as well as being the perfect place for a few pre-club copas. It was here where I first sampled a Brockman’s gin (one of my current faves in case you’re curious) but should you fancy a gin that’s served exactly as it should be then put La Prudencia on your list. The bar is piled high with fruits, herbs and even rose petals which the expert bar staff use with flair. They explain why certain flavour combinations have been matched and don’t make you feel like a numpty for asking. Most gins start at around 10 euros which (given that they’re the size of your head) is in my opinion, money well spent.

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Where: Calle del Espíritu Santo, 41
Phone: 915 22 30 97
Metro: Noviciado or Tribunal

The Gin Room

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Now here’s a bar that is slightly out of my comfort zone (and by that I mean it’s not in Malasaña) but if you’re looking for reason to get out of your skinny jeans and into an LBD whilst sipping on a gin, this place is it. Extremely slick and stylish, The Gin Room has a gin list quite literally as long as my arm. Whilst the atmosphere there was slightly lacking on my last trip, the gins certainly packed a punch. By default I always tend to revert back to G’Vine (it’s French and fabulous).  Here it came served with grapes which complimented the delicate floral flavour of G’Vine perfectly. Before the night was through I’d managed to blitz about 70 euros on six gins (not all for me might I add) so this is definitely not the place to visit when there’s too much month left at the end of your money. Saying that, as a payday treat it’s a great place to enjoy a glamorous gin o’clock.

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Where: Calle de la Academia, 7
Phone: 699 75 59 88
Metro: Atocha or Banco de España 

Shuzo’s

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Shuzo, Shuzo, Shuzo, it almost pains me to share this hidden gem for fear that I’ll never be able to perch on a bar stool there again. First things first, it is tiny (we’re talking the size of a wardrobe) and secondly the array of gins that they stock is a gin lovers delight – I think I genuinely clapped and whooped on arrival, admittedly it doesn’t take much! This bar has the old classics such as Hendricks, Bombay and the like as well, as some very quirky brands such as Monkey 47, an unusual (yet potent) gin hailing from the Black Forest in Germany. The atmosphere here is laid back but rest assured you definitely feel as though you are ‘someone in the know’ upon entering into this wee Aladdin’s cave.

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Where: Calle de Jorge Juan, 52
Phone: 914 35 91 71
Metro: Príncipe de Vergara
 

So folks, there’s three to get you started and remember — it’s always gin o’clock somewhere in the world…so bottoms up!

 

Looking for more on Madrid’s best cocktail bars? Check out:

1862 Dry Bar — perfection served in a glass!

Madrid’s best cocktail bars — Martinis, Cosmopolitans and more…