There is beer in almost all the bars in the city, but the perfect caña in Madrid is not found in any bar. That’s why I’ve done the hard work of finding the best places to enjoy a good beer. I’ve had some disappointments, but the joys that I’ve had have compensated for the work. And now, all my knowledge is yours.
The caña is the unit of measure with which beer is usually ordered in Madrid, and is usually 20 cl (6.8 oz). It may seem like a small amount, but the number of cañas you can drink depends on you. It is considered an optimal amount of beer, because that way you can chat and eat with beer without the foam dissipating. And if you’re very thirsty, you can always ask for a doble (“double”) of beer, which is more or less twice as much beer.
Now that introductions have been made and you know how to order the perfect caña in Madrid, I will tell you where to do it. Because in addition to fresh and well-poured beer, it’s much better if you can order some delicious tapas and portions to accompany!
La Mina (Gral. Álvarez de Castro 8, Madrid)
One of the last authentic bars that remain in Chamberí, open since the 40s and now lives a second youth. The grandson of the founder has taken the controls, keeping the soul and the customers of a lifetime, but filling up at night with the youth of the neighborhood. On weekends, their tables are very popular to drink vermouth with a “pincho moruno” or “grilled prawns”, their star dish. If you are looking for the perfect caña in Madrid, La Mina is a must stop.
La Castela (Doctor Castelo, 22, Madrid)
Sitting at the bar, pecking at tapas and portions with a perfect caña in Madrid can go for around €15, a good value for the quality of their kitchen. In the Retiro area, few places can boast of better product and treatment of the clientele, perhaps the new Lambuzo. It’s not a posture place, but here you’ll eat well and not take photos for Instagram. This authentic bar, after a morning walk through the Retiro, has been an essential appointment since 1929.
Fábrica Maravillas (Valverde, 29, Madrid)
They are known as a craft brewery pub and there are usually seasoned tourists in the name of discovering the perfect caña in Madrid. And they do it. There is “modernity”, I don’t deny that, but they know how to serve beer well. In fact, the beer they offer is made by themselves in the back of the premises, and they organize workshops and guided tours. Malt, hops and fermentation will no longer have secrets for you. Although they have not left aside one of the most traditional customs: serve some potatoes or olives to accompany your caña.
El Doble (Ponzano, 17, Madrid)
They treasure the art of pouring a perfect caña in Madrid, and also some great preserves and rations, especially cooked prawns. It’s very noisy and there’s no place to sit, but you can entertain yourself by looking at the pictures of all the celebrities who have enjoyed their “anchovies in vinegar”. As it’s next to CEF (Center for Financial Studies), peak hours usually coincide with the end of classes. Its name comes from the size of the glass, the “double”, which is 33 cl in a typical glass format of Madrid.
Fide (Bretón de los Herreros, 17, Madrid)
Many say they serve the perfect caña in Madrid. What’s clear is that it’s a bar of the life with first class seafood: “periwinkles”, “barnacles”, “scallops” … And Joselito sausages that you shouldn’t miss. Typical small room that’s always full, but at least it has large windows. At the time of the vermouth it’s usually very crowded by people of the neighborhood and at night it’s quite animated, always with people of “certain” age.
Bar Alonso (Gabriel Lobo, 18, Madrid)
Behind that air of neighborhood brewery hides one of the best bars in Madrid. They have been in the Prosperidad neighborhood for more than 60 years showing the perfect caña in Madrid. What’s more, I’m not going to cheat you, there’s no good diet here: “tripe in Madrid style”, “torreznos”, “Russian salad” … Best if you have a good walk afterwards. Their seafood is also spectacular, but you can always ask for a portion of bravas or sandwiches. Yes, be careful with their gin-tonics, which tend to go well “loaded.”
Alipio Ramos (Ponzano, 30, Madrid)
Okay, maybe they are not reputable masters of international awards; but if the perfect caña in Madrid has to be accompanied by a good tapa, of that they are masters. The ambience there still remembers the one that was formerly in Ponzano before the invasion of the premises of partying hard. And if you have a free portion of paella with your beer, you’ll see how it’ll become one of your must-haves in the area.
Taberna La Dolores (plaza Jesús, 4, Madrid)
Very near the Art Triangle and for many still unknown. And its ancient facade of tiles makes it very clear that it’s a tavern for the whole life. Among so many locales of celebration in the zone of Huerta, this tavern has remained open from 1908 offering the perfect caña in Madrid. Or so say many people who give a good account of the well-made beer with free tapas, which are spectacular.
The search for the perfect caña in Madrid is a task that never ends and you never know where you are going to find a treasure. What is clear is that there are unequivocal clues. For example, let the beer be cold and be served by professionals. The place has to have a tradition, because art is acquired through experience. And of course the caña is accompanied by a smile and an atmosphere of those that make you feel very comfortable. Who do you think has the perfect caña in Madrid? I await your recommendations!
Translated by Story Of Madrid, the podcast about Madrid in English.