Madrid iFAQ – Can you drink beer on the Madrid Metro?

Weird : Quirky : Fun

by Ben Curtis

Well, you can’t smoke on the Metro any more… actually, you couldn’t smoke on the Madrid Metro for years, but that didn’t stop anyone lighting up while waiting for a train, even while talking to the underground platform security guys. Then all of a sudden, about a year back, huge, bright-red ‘no smoking’ stickers went up on the doors leading into all the Metro stations, and everyone just sort of stopped. Weird (but interesting… I wonder what other aspects of Spanish contempt for the law could be controlled with big red stickers?)

Anyway, back to today’s INfrequently Asked Question: Can you drink beer on the Madrid Metro? After all, on the London Underground lots of people make the most of a their twenty minute, Friday evening Underground commute from home to pub to knock back a quick can of lager.

The answer is of course, yes, you can drink beer on the Metro, but you will be viewed as the scum of the earth! Believe me, I tried it, 9 years ago, shortly after arriving from London. Seemed like a good idea at the time, a quick can of Mahou on the way to meet some new friends. But even the teenage goths at the other end of the carriage (who were probably smoking on the train) looked at me like I wasn’t even fit to sleep on their city’s fine park benches.

So, no, it’s not the done thing to drink beer on the Madrid Metro. Madrileños just don’t get it. There are plenty of great Madrid bars to drink in, exercise some patience!

Have you got a Madrid IN-frequently Asked Question we can help with?


Comment from marina
Date: October 24, 2007, 12:44 pm

This is probably because the approach to drinking in Spain is different from the UK. In general having a beer or a wine is something that you do while having a chat with a friend or friends. Drinking alone is sad:-(

Comment from Katie
Date: October 25, 2007, 9:02 am

Hahaha, Marina. So true! I think Ben has learned better ;) .

Comment from Jonk
Date: October 25, 2007, 9:07 pm

People who do that get the same reaction here in Aus.. only total drunks or winos do it.

Comment from Faye
Date: October 26, 2007, 12:38 pm

Eating on the metro is viewed with almost as much disapproval. Crazy teaching hours have occasionally forced me to eat a sandwich on the train, and I’ve felt like a felon.

Comment from Damian
Date: October 28, 2007, 8:53 pm

I think Marina is right, it’s the fact that you were drinking ALONE that made you a social leper, not the fact it was on the train. In Spain you can only drink if you are (a) with friends or (b) shouting at the muted television in a grotty cerveceria.

Comment from Phillips
Date: November 5, 2007, 7:30 pm

Dear Ben …. oh how you sadden me. As an ex-member of the notorious hard drinking NewX party machine, how could you stoop to such bourgoise qualms about drinking in public? Drinking on the metro/street/way to the office is an important way of preserving what little britishness you have left in this god forsaken country of moderation and meditarranean consumption. Also, never buy those silly little coke can sized beers, eirther…. When drinking on the metro, it’s essential you have a British style 500ml tinnie.


Comment from ben
Date: November 6, 2007, 9:36 am

Guess I’ve been corrupted… the London Ben isn’t here any more ;)

Comment from mike
Date: November 6, 2007, 7:28 pm

It’s funny because I read this story and then for the next three days I saw examples of people drinking on the metro in Madrid. I scanned the carriage for the disapproving, scowling faces, but there weren’t any.

But then again I tend to think on the metro here anything goes.

Comment from ben
Date: November 7, 2007, 6:44 pm

Oh well, if I hadn’t temporarily given up the booze I’d give it another try to see what happened too!