Cultural attractions, nice weather, tapas, beautiful people and a wild night scene that lasts until the break of dawn, Madrid is, no doubt, one of the hottest travel destination in Europe for party-goers.
The party scene in the Spanish capital comes in every size and flavor. Here, you have small neighborhood bars that get crowded on the weekend, larger discotecas blasting Spanish and Latin American dance floor fillers, as well as more international-oriented clubs playing R&B, EDM or Techno.
Whatever is your scene, Madrid sure as hell has it.
Madrid is a huge, cosmopolitan city that offers everything you can expect from a European capital and more. However, there are a few things that make Spain unique when it comes to nightlife and that you should know before you decide where to stay in Madrid for clubbing.
The first thing you should know is that Madrileños party late, and we do mean late-late. Bars usually open around 11:00 pm and start to get busy a couple of hours later. This is partly because Spaniards tend to do everything later than most Westerners (lunch at 3:00 pm, dinner at 09:00 pm, that sort of thing), and also because there’s a thing called pre-copeo (literally pre-drinking).
Which brings us to the most prominent Spanish custom of all time: Tapas. If you’re not familiar with this typical Spanish cultural trait, tapas are small portions of food meant to be shared and can include (but are not limited to) serrano ham, sausages, fries, toasts, omelet, cheese or olives.
Pre-copeo usually takes place between 7:00 pm and midnight and involves a few beers (or wine glasses) and some tapas.
So most people will go for tapas and beers to a pre-copeo place and then hit the club.
The greatest thing about the Madrid party scene is that, if you can stay awake until 2:00 am when the clubs start getting busy, people in this wonderful city tend to be warm, welcoming and friendly… especially if you know some Spanish.
So, if you’re planning to visit the Spanish capital for a bash of reggaeton, late nights and hot people, you need to find out where to stay in Madrid for nightlife.
Deciding the best areas to stay in Madrid for partying will largely depend on your clubbing style and, obviously, your budget.
The best areas to stay in Madrid for clubbing
As mentioned above, choosing the right area to stay in Madrid will largely depend on your party scene.
Malasaña, located in the center of Madrid, right off Gran Vía street is probably the best area to stay in the Spanish capital for bar-hopping and a hipster (if somewhat yuppie) atmosphere.
If you wat to check out Madrid’s legendary gay scene, then Chueca is for you.
Barrio de las letras, located near the museum area is home to some of the best tapas bars in town.
Barrio de Salamanca, north of Retiro Park, boasts some of the high-class clubs and bars.
For a bit of everything, try Sol and Gran Vía.
Continue reading for a full list of the best areas to stay in Madrid for clubbing according to your scene.
1. Sol and Gran Vía – Why Not Have It All?
The Sol District of Madrid is located right in the center of the city. It comprises the Old Town area and Madrid’s main shopping streets such as Preciados, Huertas or Calle Mayor.
This busy district is the best area to stay in Madrid for sightseeing as it is located right in the middle of it, and it holds some of the Spanish capital’s main attractions like Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol, San Miguel Market or the Opera House.
So, needless to say, this is the place to be if you want to mix partying with sightseeing while being able to walk anywhere.
A little further north lies the Gran Vía. Madrid’s most important shopping and entertainment street. This huge Art-Deco-ish avenue is packed with theaters, shops, hotels, bars, restaurants and nightclubs.
Most bars and tapas restaurants in this area tend to be more than a little tourist-oriented, and therefore more expensive and less typical. On the other hand, it’s far more likely that bartenders in this area speak at least a little English.
The best part about this area is that you don’t need to stay in the neighborhood to enjoy the Madrid nightlife. Sol and Gran Vía are major transport hubs, with several train and metro stations and heaps of bus stops to move anywhere in the city within 15 minutes or less.
Malasaña and Chueca are a 10-minute-walk away, too.
2. Malasaña – For the Hipster in You
Malasaña is located in central Madrid and it is the Spanish capital’s bar area par excellence.
This lively and multicultural area of the Spanish capital has become a hipster hub and one of the best areas to stay in Madrid for clubbing.
Historically, Malasaña used to be a not-so-nice part of town, a place riddled with crime and prostitution and where society rejects would live and work.
This outcast vibe is still felt today and was the biggest driver of La Movida, a cultural revolution that took place in the 1980s and had its main epicenter in Malasaña.
Ever heard of Pedro Almodóvar? Well, this Spanish director was La Movida’s most international icon. In fact, many of his movies depict Malasaña as it used to be in the 80s.
Malasaña today sports a mix of that grungy attitude, alternative coolness, yuppie and gentrified 21st-century hipster vibe and pre-Movida counter-culture that make it a unique place and one of the best areas to stay in Madrid for nightlife and clubbing.
Bars in Malasaña cater for literally every taste and include tapas restaurants (for pre-copeo), rock joints, hipster venues, pop and dancey bars and some clubs, some of which have a very low-key, almost underground vibe to them.
Also, Malasaña is located right north of Gran Vía and shares its great connectivity options with it. Metro stops Tribunal, Gran Vía, Callao, Plaza España, Noviciado and Bilbao are all entry points to this incredible neighborhood.
3. Chueca – Madrid Gay Area
Madrid is a legendary LGTB+ destination and, in order to experience it, you MUST go to Chueca.
Chueca is one of the biggest gay districts in the world and, as a result, one of the best areas to stay in Madrid for (gay) clubbing.
This lively and gay (pun intended) neighborhood is located in central Madrid, north of Gran Vía and east of Malasaña. It is known for its incredible wealth of gay bars, clubs and LGBT-oriented businesses.
It is also the epicenter of el Orgullo, Madrid’s Gay Pride celebration, Europe’s largest Gay Pride event and second (for now) in a worldwide scale.
Find out more about where to stay in Madrid for Gay Pride.
Staying in the gayborhood means you’ll be close to the best nightlife in town, but, regardless of your orientation, gender or sexual preferences, Chueca is also a very convenient area to stay to visit the city as a whole. It has its own metro station (line 5) and it’s very close to other transport hubs in Gran Vía and even Sol.
And if you don’t identify as LGBT+, do not worry. Chueca, like the rest of Madrid, is a very open, friendly and inclusive place. Straights are welcome here, too.
4. Salamanca – Party like Cristiano Ronaldo
Salamanca is a wealthy district located northeast of the city center, just north of Retiro Park.
The nightlife here is characterized by its swanky, expensive-looking, exclusive bars.
If you want to party like a Real Madrid player or a Spanish movie star, then Salamanca is probably the best area to stay in Madrid for clubbing.
Clubs in this area tend to have a dress code, so do bring your best looks.