Boring, Cold Friday Night in Madrid

People tend NOT to go out on very cold weekend nights. Well, that’s what I thought. Sure, the terrazas were put away and few people were walking in the streets but the bars I saw were packed!

I was sitting home, feeling kind of bored and lonely, and just up-and-decided I’d go downtown. Plus, I was hungry and really had a craving for morcilla. It’s been so long since I’ve had some. I asked a few people if they’d like to accompany and they all (okay, I only asked one person) said, “No way! It’s too cold. Better to stay home.” NOPE!

So I put on my shoes and coat and went down to catch the bus right at 10pm. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait long although it’s not ALL THAT cold, at least not for a Midwestern USA boy. “This ain’t nuttin’!”

The bus dropped me off at its end-point, next to the Plaza de Oriente, Opera, Palacio Real and I made my way towards the streets between it and the Plaza de Santo Domingo – and there are LOTS. I chose one bar on the corner of Calle de San Martín and Calle de las Navas de Tolosa called “Restaurante Cervecería Doña Juana” – right across the street from the VALOR “chocolate” shop. Doña Juana was one of the few which had space at their bar and so I entered and ordered a beer, got a free tapa of salchichón on bread. Then I ordered a single, FAT croqueta de jamón and a “pincho de morcilla“, which was 4 slices with bread for roughly 2.50€. Good stuff. Another caña and a plate of green olives accompanied it. A crowd of 20-somethings came in, all wearing Santa Claus hats, boisterous but friendly, and crowded around me. I was finished anyway so I decided to try someplace else.

I walked two doors downhill on the same Calle de San Martín to the Restaurante Mesón Las Descalzas. They too had the bar wide open and only one table occupied with a bunch of other 20-somethings. So I grabbed a stool, ordered a caña, and got the free tapa of black olives this time. Looking over the sign behind the bar I decided on the pincho de moruno (2.80€) which is skewered and roasted pork cubes with a slightly spicy sauce. More good stuff. While waiting for it to arrive I noticed the patatas bravas (3.10€) on the board behind the bar and almost wished I’d ordered that instead. So many delicious Spanish foods and so little time and space in my stomach! So then I ordered another caña and got a slice of tortilla de patas as the free tapa. I ate in peace here, watching a bad Hollywood Christmas comedy movie on TV and covertly eavesdropped on the table to 20-somethings until I finished my food.

Watching the clock, it was now about 11:10am and the last bus on my line left Plaza de Oriente at 11:30pm so I paid the bill and made my way back. And wouldn’tcha know it, just as I arrived the second-to-last bus was pulling away so I had to wait in the cold for the next one. Nor problem, jacket unzipped, cool but refreshing after my 4 beers, and a belly full of good, Spanish food.

On the short bus ride home we drove by the Parque de Atenas, the park which is between the Almudena Cathedral and the Puente de Segovia… and it was FULL of youngsters enjoying their Botellón. Man, they must have been A) Crazy, B) Freezing, C) Alcoholics, D) hoping to “hook up”, or E) ALL OF THE ABOVE.

Now I’m back home, it’s about 12:15am, and I may just go to bed.

Someone once asked me on Facebook, “Why do all your entries have to do with food, wine, and sleeping?” The answer is simple. Are there any better pleasures here in Spain?

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2 Responses to Boring, Cold Friday Night in Madrid

  1. “Why do all your entries have to do with food, wine, and sleeping?”
    Heh, join the club. Well, except for the sleeping bit.

  2. Hey MadridMan!
    I dig your attitude! My name is Marta, and I’ve been having fun reading your blog 🙂
    I thought I’d run something by you: I work for a BrinkGuides, a web publishing company which is currently developing a Madrid City Guide focusing on all the best unique and funky spots off the beaten track. We’re looking for content producers, and I thought perhaps you or some of your expat friends might be interested. Below is the posting we put on craigslist to give you more info. If you’re interested, give me a shout.
    Best, Marta
    Madrid City Guide Editor Needed
    We are launching a series of English language city guides on the iPhone and other mobile devices. The Brink Guide series….
    We are looking for people with a quite a bit of discernment, common sense and above all… attitude… to help us populate our Brink Guides and become Brink Guide Editors. (
    The job is not complex… we provide our editors with a place on the web to login and upload short reviews of unique, hip venues or activities to an easy to use web form. We pay $5 per item uploaded. Some of our editors report being able to upload more than 30 entries a day.
    We need original photos and a few original words (but not many – the reviews can be very simple – and certainly not more than 75 or 100 words at the very most. “Best burger the South side of Market Street.” would be a perfectly fine entry. – As long as it really is the best burger from that area. Equally good would be, “Howie tells us his burger is the best 1/3 pounder in town. We concur. Try the salty relish.”
    We do want special attention to the unique, small shops clinging for life – like the barber shop that’s been there 78 years, an underground art collective, or a thrift shop or tattoo shop that is somehow less commercial than the rest. We are also interested in the best biking & hiking trails, dance clubs, mechanics, secret spots to watch the sunrise, and other insider tips. We want to be a resource for anyone new to town.
    What we don’t need to be is exhaustive and complete. We want to feature the 20 best bars, the 5 best hotels, not every bar and every hotel. We’ll let Frommer’s stake out that territory.
    Above all we want the Brink Guide to celebrate the margin, to reveal venues and activities that exist just under the surface of things. If the cemetery in the middle of town is a great place for a picnic, tell us about it. We want the local perspective of experienced space and time travelers… the judgement of gifted amateurs, rather than the jaded opinions of seasoned professionals. We are not at all interested in the starbuckization of cities, rather we want to see the very small businesses and the commerce they produce.
    If this interests you please send us 3 sample items from any of Madrid’s neighborhood. We need:
    1) Name of the Venue or Activity
    2) Description
    3) Address
    4) Phone
    5) Email and Web site (if they exist)
    6) Photo 500 pixels wide no bigger than 500k.
    If we like your samples, we’ll pay you for them and hire you to write more. Please send samples to

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