by Faye Davies
The mindless graffiti and affable goths seem a lukewarm legacy of La Movida Madrileña (the capital’s post-Franco wild years) which kicked off in Malasaña in the Seventies. However, some of Spain’s cultural revolutionaries (the ones who didn’t die of heroine overdoses) are still to be spotted slinking around the barrio, ensuring that the party spirit lives on. Meanwhile, gentrification has led to some great shopping and eating options.
Drinking: In summer, the Plaza Dos de Mayo is the perfect spot for a caña. In colder weather, try the bars in its vicinity, such as El Maño (C/ Palma 64), which serves good wine in art(y) deco surroundings. For those craving a taste of the Malasaña celebrated in Almodóvar’s early films, La Vía Láctea (C/ Velarde 18) provides a dose of historical hedonism.
Eating: Tasty modern tapas can be gorged at a decent price at Ojalá; but the barrio also boasts some fine international restaurants, such as La Granja de Said (Moroccan; C/ San Andrés 11), La Catrina (Mexican; C/ Corredera Alta de San Pablo 13), Xin (Asian), and Palermo Viejo (Argentinean; C/ San Joaquín 5).
Shopping: One of Malasaña’s main arteries, C/ Corredera Alta de San Pablo heaves with everything from wool (at no. 12) to state-of-the-art trainers (Tabula Rasa, at no. 33); while on nearby streets, quirky boutiques like Ioli (bespoke shoes) and Corachan y Delgado (vintage designer clothes; C/ Valverde 42) are popping up all the time. C/ Manuela Malasaña is great for gifts, and C/ Palma is the street for record shopping.
See map below for the addresses mentioned above (click on the markers!):