Make like a local, siesta in the day and stay up until the early hours for some musical and gastronomical debauchery around the Plaza de Santa Ana.
Right in the heart of Madrid’s Huertas literary neighbourhood lies the Plaza de Santa Ana. Built in 1810, the plaza became a literati hotspot, with artists, poets and writers haunting the surrounding cafes and bars. Today, that cultural and social spirit lives on. Not only is the plaza flanked by the majestic 16th-century Teatro Español to the east, fronted by a statue paying homage to one of Spain’s greatest 20th-century playwrights, Ferderico García Lorca, but it’s home to numerous watering holes, tapas spots and terraces made for people watching. So shun the tourist-heavy Plaza Major, and come eat, drink and be merry with the locals at Plaza de Santa Ana instead.
Kick the evening off following the age old adage that “beer before wine and you’ll feel fine”, and head to the Cerveceria Alemana. Founded in 1904 by a group of German manufacturers, it seems as though the wood paneled-deco hasn’t changed much since then. This beer bar was frequented by Hemingway when he was a journalist during the Spanish Civil War, and nowadays you can enjoy a refreshing cerveza with various nibbles and fried goods among friends. Just a block away on Calle Echegaray, La Venecia is a tiny hole in the wall-type joint that only serves various types of Andalusian sherry. Another former Hemingway-haunt, the walls sure tell a story! Stand shoulder-to-shoulder with locals as you sip on dry sherry and tuck into a tapas of olives, manchego cheese and chorizo. And to keep the festivities going until the early hours, head to Café Jazz Populart, one of the city’s best jazz venues.
Need to soothe off a lingering hangover the following morning? The Ana La Santa will help ease away the pain. This cool space is the modern antithesis to the previous night’s bars. Housed inside the ME Reina Victoria Hotel on the plaza itself, this airy lush space with stripped back design will serve up a refreshing breakfast from 7am.