Monday, 26 April 2010

Madrid la nuit

Saturday night was a pretty odd one. We started off on C/Pez, eating tapas in the Pontepez place of my last post and the famed cornflake chicken. The food got even more ‘innovative’ this time; a pear and rocket salad with pansies and mozzarella ice-cream, yes pansies and mozzarella ice-cream. Sometimes such odd combinations work, but for some reason this one didn’t work that well – but at only 3 Euros I’m not complaining, besides everything else we ate was delicious (alioli baked baby potatoes, croquetas and cecina – a type of cured beef from León).

Food was followed by meeting more friends closer to my neighbourhood. One of them had been invited to a party in a squat, yes a squat, by some random girl in the street (this really was a weird weekend) – to which I said NO WAY am I going to a squat. That sort of thing might have had its appeal as a grungy teen, but certainly not now! However, I opened up to the idea more when he told me it was in this palacete (little palace) near my house which had been done up but then left empty for as long as I could remember. I figured it was worth us dropping by and taking a 5-minute look just to see the interior of the building for the first and possibly last time. Drop by we did, and boy was it disappointing, we thought there’d be some sort of secret knock to get into this ‘illegal party', but no, it’s doors were thrown open to the public with huge banners inviting passer bys to come in. Once inside, it was obvious they’d made no effort to make things look nice, there was a makeshift bar selling stuff like calimocho, a hideous coca-cola and red wine mix that Spanish teens drink, and some kid attempting to rap - what was I expecting to be honest? All we really wanted to do was go upstairs and check out the palace, but when we couldn’t find any way up we asked the girl serving at the bar where the stairs were, whos reply was ‘today’s our inauguration, you can't go upstairs’. This kind of shocked me, to see someone who had illegally broken into and taken over a building suddenly getting all high and mighty about who could and could not access different parts of it!

Realising we weren’t going to see anything, we quickly left, ending up in Begin the Beguine on c/Moratín. It seems that Saturday was my official ‘seedy day’, as this little bar is possibly even seedier than a squat – though very, very atmospheric. It wouldn’t be my first choice for a night out, but about once a year I like to go there simply because it’s so different. From the outside you’d barely know there was a bar there as its shutters are completely closed and the door is hard to open – once inside, I can only compare it to what I imagine a 19th century opium den must have looked like! Tiny and smoky, brown wood-panelled walls covered in dusty second hand trombones and other wind instruments, everything has this sort of shiny brown patina of age, velvet couches, glass lamps – dominated by a large circular bar in the centre from where they serve huge caipirinhas in flower-vases. To be fair, there’s absolutely no debauchery going on inside, but it feels like at any moment some Matahari type figure is going to appear, donning a negligee and a cigarette holder and do some sort of exotic dance. Madrid nightlife is certainly never boring or predictable.


Anna Katrina said...

i love your blog. i am currently living in madrid so its fun to read about everything you are doing because i can relate!

Anna Katrina

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