What to Do in Madrid's Chueca Neighborhood
The Madrid neighborhood of Chueca has long been known for its nightlife and bar scene. But it’s also a hotbed of excellent restaurants, both established and trendy, where locals and tourists alike descend for some of the best food in Spain. Plan for at least a few meals in Chueca during a trip—the four below are a good place to start.
Part of a transatlantic design partnership between restaurateurs Tomás Tarruella and Perico Cortés (their other restaurants include Luzía in Bogotá, Colombia, and Gallito in Barcelona), Bosco de Lobos is located in the newly restored College of Architects courtyard in Chueca. Blond-wood tables, floor-to-ceiling windows, and polished concrete set the backdrop for dishes such as white pizza with porchetta, honey, and mustard. Calle de Hortaleza, 63
What makes Madrid one of the strangest and most incredible nightlife towns in the world—the mix of ages that go out together—is summed up at Chicote, where grandmothers sip cocktails alongside hipsters in skinny jeans or a table of glammed-up drag queens. Thought it’s derided by some for its tourist-friendly Gran Via location, this bar was a mainstay of the post-Franco La Movida years and has barely changed since it first opened its doors in the 1930s. Inside, the booths are black leather, the tabletops are shiny and black, and black-and-white photos of luminaries who have frequented this watering hole over the decades hang on the wall. Calle Gran Vía, 12
It may not look like much, but Cisne Azul, steps from Plaza de Chueca, is a mecca for all sorts of exotic mushrooms (to eat, that is). Despite the divey mid-century-bar-meets-diner décor—bright blue walls, even brighter lighting, a soccer game on in the corner—you’ll be elbow-to-elbow (literally—there’s barely room to breathe) with the crème of Madrid society. Nab a table while you can and order a plate of boletus con yema (porcini mushrooms topped with a cracked egg) or chanterelles quick fried in olive oil with salt. Fungi share billing with some unusual cheeses, like the pungent, spreadable torta del Casar from the Extremadura region of Spain. Calle Gravina 19
Fans of Andrés Madrigal's cooking at Balzac rejoiced when he opened Azul Profundo in Chueca. His tasting menus offer haute tapas like rosy venison slices with three vegetable purees, and bacalao gazpacho. The 35-euro menus are such a terrific value that Azul Profundo is one of the hardest reservations to get. Plaza de Chueca 8
And if you need a place to stay overnight...
This 70-room hotel in Chueca has quickly become a destination for locals, thanks to its buzzy bar and restaurant. Designed by Lázaro Rosa-Violán, the 19th-century building is done up in blue and white hues and includes four top-floor attic duplexes with wood-beamed ceilings and skylights. Calle del Barquillo, 21.