by Julie Espinosa
The Puerta del Sol can be one of the most avoidable places in Madrid—what with its tourists, ear-splitting construction racket and general bustle. Steer clear of the Puerta del Sol itself and the streets north, between Sol and Gran Vía, which are teeming with commercial glut—from souvenir shops to seedy sex shops.
For one, there are dozens of tapas bars. I recommend gambas at La Casa del Abuelo (C/ Goya, 57; C/ Núñez de Arce, 5) , patatas bravas at Las Bravas (C/ Álvarez Gato, 3; Pasaje Matheu, 5; C/ de la Cruz, 14 ; C/ Espoz y Mina, 13), and tostas at La Malaspina (C/ Cádiz, 9) , but those are just starting points. Good bars are littered on and around the streets Calle de Espoz y Mina and Calle de la Cruz. Explore and experiment!
Then there’s the plethora of nearby authentic, late-night flamenco actuaciones (shows) in intimate bars—an alternative to the pricier, fancier tablao experience. The music and dance starts after 11 or 12 p.m. on certain nights of the week at El Callejón de Madrid (C/ Manuel Fernández y González, 5) , El Burladero (C/ Echegaray, 5), España Cañí (Plaza del Ángel, 14) and Cardamomo (C/ Echegaray, 15) .
Round off a night well spent in the Sol/Santa Ana area by having chocolate con churros at nearby Chocolatería San Ginés (Pasadizo San Ginés, 5), open all night long.
For directions to the places mentioned above, see map below: