An Evening on the Terrazas

Bars and Cafes, Eating out & Madrid Restaurants, Retiro

by Amy Menchhofer


The weather in Madrid has taken a turn towards summer and streets throughout the city have sprouted terrazas. You can surely find a sunny spot for a drink and a snack near your apartment or hotel, but there are two streets in Madrid that truly are prime for dining and drinking al fresco.

Starting at Calle Menendez Pelayo (on the eastern perimeter of Retiro), calles Ibiza and Alcalde Sainz de Baranda are proper boulevards whose wide, paved medians are dotted with newsstands, benches, and, April through October, a non-stop parade of terrazas.

Along these roughly 10 blocks you’ll find all manner of food and drink and almost no tourists. Located in the heart of the Retiro district (located east of the park and south of the Salamanca neighborhood), the area is favored by the locals and the prices are set accordingly. You’ll obviously pay more for dining outside than for having a drink at the bar, but the prices are below those found in more touristy areas. And FAR below those found at the terrazas in the nearby Retiro.

Head over that way in the early evening and pick a place which looks nice — or, more likely, one that has an open table. In the warmest months, the terrazas fill up starting around 7:30 and stay busy until 1 or 2am. If you get there at the right time and can take your pick of the locales, try one of these favorites:

Drinks and snacks

  • El Ratón Vaquero, C/ Alcalde Sainz de Baranda, 25 – Vermouth on tap and good tapas
  • Natur Aidlans, C/ Ibiza, 17 – Shakes and smoothies made to order
  • Tramontana, C/ Sainz de Baranda, 51 – Cheap mixed drinks served to a 20-something clientèle


Metros: Ibiza (Line 9), Sainz de Baranda (Lines 6 and 9)

See map below for locations mentioned above:

View Larger Map


Comment from ben
Date: April 30, 2008, 2:14 pm

Cool, I never thought about looking down Ibiza, we always get stuck on M. Pelayo which is obviously much noisier!

Comment from bill
Date: April 30, 2008, 6:52 pm

Also, in Calle del Castelo (just south of O’Donnell on the map) there are some good Spanish bars such as “La Castela”. They don’t have terrazas along that road unfortunately, but they are genuinely Spanish and also worth trying if you end up in that area after an evening in the Retiro.

Comment from Richardksa
Date: May 1, 2008, 11:10 am

Get away from those bright city lights. Three stops on the metro from Retiro brings you to Manuel Becerra. Find the back streets around the Jardines De Eva Duarte De Peron and you will have a choice of tiny plazas that seem so removed from the noise and bustle of the city you will think you are in some remote pueblo. Menu del dias from seven and a half euros, no traffic (the streets are too narrow) and a bar owner that seems pleased to have attracted a guiri!
OR, head to Prosperidad. The tourists haven’t a clue where that is. Wonderful tavernas and cafes along the C. de Corazon de Maria, back street bars and the best Chinese restaurant in Madrid.

Comment from Cyril
Date: May 6, 2008, 5:33 pm

These restaurants are indeed really nice!!

It is so nice to walk trough Madrid in the sun and just relax on a terrace.

A restaurant which is very nice and not too expensive is Samá Sama in the city center! I always enjoy the Spanish cuisine in Madrid and this is one of my favorites!

Comment from Restaurants in Marbella
Date: September 17, 2008, 4:44 am

Thanks for some really great information. I visit a lot of restaurants for my work but is still difficult to get good opinions in certain regions and on certian recipes. Sarah M.