Though I’ve seen many cities during my travels in Europe, I have to say that none of them compare to Madrid when it comes to nightlife. Madrileños sure know how to throw a good party! The Spanish capital hosts several major clubs and hundred of bars, so you will have shortage of choices. One thing that I love, is that each neighborhood is unique and comes with its own identity and take on the party scene, so no matter what your style is, you can always find a bar or club to your liking.
The Drinking Culture in Madrid
One thing to note about Madrid is that everything gets started a little later. Spaniards tend to have a different eating schedule. They get started with breakfast and coffee break around 11:00. Following that is a proper lunch around 14:00, often advertised in local restaurants as “menu del día.” You can generally count on a three course meal and your average “menu” costs around 10€ to 12€. Be prepared for so much food that a food coma and “siesta” are almost mandatory.
Between lunch and dinner you have “siesta” time and people don’t usually go back out again until 22:00 for dinner. Now while having your “menu del día,” and dinner, it is very common to have a “caña” or wine, however, stronger beverages and mixed drinks are usually reserved for going out after meals to bars and clubs.
So now that you’ve had food, it’s time to pregame and get ready for the party! It’s commonplace to go to a cheap bar or someone’s place to have a few drinks before going out. You don’t need to drink your weight in alcohol though because almost all cover charges come with one to two drinks that you can have while at the club. And normally they are longer pours, so you get more than your standard shot size.
In places like the US, bars close around 2:00am. Here in Madrid, the party is just getting started at 2:00am. If you go to a club at midnight, chances are you will some of the first ones there. So pace yourself. The nights are long and you will have plenty of time to enjoy yourself, so know your limits, drink lots of water, especially before bed, and be as responsible as possible. Now that I’ve taught you all the proper protocol, now time to show you all the cool places to go!
The Most Popular Bars for Study Abroad in Madrid
El Tigre is a failsafe, classic place to start any great night with cheap drinks and free tapas. It’s nothing fancy, you stand at the counters, and people throw napkins on the floor. But, the good news is they say the more napkins on the floor, the better the restaurant 🙂 When you order a drink it’s not only bigger than you have expected, but you also get a free tapa with it. And no, not just a dish of olives, but proper tapas such as croquetas, tortilla, patatas bravas, and other delicious Spanish dishes.
El Chapandaz is Madrid’s cave bar. Stalagmites and stalactites populate the ceiling and floor bringing the atmosphere to the next level. Located in the university area of Moncloa, it is very famous for locals and internationals alike. If you visit El Chapandaz make sure you taste their homemade “Leche de Pantera” a drink made of milk, rum, and their secret ingredient. It comes out of the ceiling and if you are in a group you can order one huge cup which becomes a whole other even in itself. Check out the Meet & Party Pubcrawl. They organize frequent tours in Moncloa including El Chapandaz and “Leche de Pantera”. It’s a great event to get to know cool places while meeting people from around the world.
Dubliners & O’Connel
Dubliners and O’Connel are hotspots for study abroad students. They are located side by side in the same street in the city center of Madrid, minutes walking from Sol. These Irish Pubs are perfect for watching big international sport events on TV (including American football matches), pregaming before clubbing, or just to hang out.
Madrid Me Mata
If you are looking for something different and unique check out Madrid Me Mata (Madrid Kills Me). The bar is located in Madrid’s hipster neighborhood Malasaña. The bar got its name from a magazine that promoted a social and cultural youth movement in the 1980s and the epicenter was in Malasaña. The bar displays hundreds of items from that time such as records, instruments, newspapers, books, clothes, and more. Definitely give this place a peek.
Speaking of unique and cool experiences, Ojalá has a hidden secret in its basement. You might have to wait 10 or 15 minutes for a table, but it’s so worth it. Once you walk down the stairs you will see ambient, soft lighting and the whole floor is covered with sand! Yup that’s right you found a mini beach in the middle of the city! You can take off your shoes, dig your toes in, and enjoy some classic Tinto de Verano or a drink of your choice.
The Best Study Abroad Parties in Madrid
Fucking Monday – Mondays
If possible, when making your schedule, make sure you don’t have any classes on Tuesday morning because you won’t want to miss this. Right at the start of the week there’s my favorite and Madrid’s best study abroad party. I literally went every Monday with my classmates and other study abroad students from my residence. The party is massive, on the three floors, and there is something for everyone. On the main floor there is a more of a commercial music mix, then there is a Hip Hop floor, and on a third floor there is a Beer Pong Tournament. Fucking Monday is definitely a party that you don’t want to miss! More info and guest list here!
Tip: Skip the line with bottle service (only 100€ for 5 people).
College Nights – Tuesdays
After a huge Fucking Monday, Tuesday can be a recovery night, but that doesn’t mean you need to stay in. If you are still up for it, I recommend that you go to College Nights. It starts relatively early and is a mix of Beer Pong Tournament on one floor and Karaoke on the other. The entry is free with guest list and it has great offers like unlimited beer and sangria from 22:30 to 1:30 for only 10€. If you like Karaoke and Beer Pong, College Nights is the place to be on Tuesdays. Also, if you have mad beer pong skills you can compete for the jackpot in the tournament which is 150€! Check out the event for more info and guest list!
Teatro Barcelo – Wednesdays
One of the latest study abroad parties added to the repertoire is Teatro Barceló (former Pacha). One of the top clubs in Madrid opens its doors on Wednesdays for a massive study abroad party with the best open bar (Gin, Vodka, Rum, Whisky, …) in the city. The party is perfect for everyone that is looking for a good time in a fancy club! Get on the guest list here!
Liberty – Thursdays
Liberty is located in Madrid’s posh neighborhood Salamanca. On Thursdays they hosts a student party which is directed to Master students and young professionals. The coolest thing you can do there is bottle service. The club has two floors and the lower floor is called “bottle club” featuring a large number of tables. It is the perfect alternative to Teatro Kapital on Thursdays which is mainly focusing on Erasmus and US study abroad students. More info by WhatsApp +34 693 939 352.
Teatro Kapital – Thursday, Friday & Saturday
Teatro Kapital is known as Madrid’s biggest night club and it’s one of those places you should go at least once in your life. It has seven floors, each with a different music theme. You have everything from house, reggaeton, latin, and pop. And to top it all off you have a beautiful open rooftop bar on the last floor (summers only). Technically speaking on Thursdays they have free entry, but the best advice I can give you is to not count on it because it doesn’t always work. Go online and use the QR Discount Code and pay a 17€ cover which includes 2 drinks if you enter the club before 1:30am. Thursdays is student night, Fridays are a bit lame, and Saturdays are always lit! Get your QR Discount code here!
Icon – Fridays
Icon #Fridays is my favorite party on the weekend. Icon is one of the best equipped night clubs in the city center and on Fridays they host an international and study abroad party organized by the same team that organizes Fucking Monday. This means great drink deals, international atmosphere, and familiar faces. Dress to impress, make it your meeting point on Fridays, and have a baller time. More info and guest list here!
Meet & Party Pubcrawl – Saturdays
There are several pubcrawls in the city, but Meet & Party is definitely the best one. The pubcrawl starts in the center of the city and explores other popular neighborhoods like Moncloa, Malasaña, and La Latina. It is a great event to explore Madrid’s nightlife while meeting people from around the world. The price is usually 10€ which includes the entry to all the venues and some drinks. There is no registration required. You simply check out Facebook for the date and show up at the meeting point. Here you can look up the next event. The pubcrawls usually run from mid of August to June.
Birthday Special with Champagne
Birthdays, birthdays and more birthdays! I cannot even remember how many birthdays we celebrated, but it was always amazing. Nightlife Madrid has a birthday special which means if you or a friend has a birthday you can write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will make sure you will get a free birthday bottle of champagne at any of their featured events: Mondays at Fucking Monday, Tuesdays at College Nights, Wednesdays at Teatro Barceló, Thursdays at Liberty and Fridays at Icon!
Get the Best of Madrid’s Nightlife with Your Nightlife Pass
The Nightlife Pass is designed to give study abroad students access to the best events in Madrid. Free VIP entries, guest lists, drink deals and even free drinks… Check out the list of weekly featured events and get your Nightlife Pass now!