After a long and somewhat uncomfortable (whatever happened to leg room) flight we arrived in Madrid on Monday morning. Beautiful weather here, crisp and cool in the morning and evening and nice and warm durning the rest of the day.
My first bar in Madrid, or in Spain, for that matter. On a bit of a side street, but it caught my eye. The bar has a heavy, almost knotty-pine like top with a wood paneled front. The three beer stations are brass and shaped like beer kegs. I don’t know what kind of beer they pour, you just ask for a beer and you get a glass of it with a small plate of fried potatoes and a little ham and tomato sandwich. This is a tapas bar so there are containers of all kinds of stuff on the bar; some kind of seafood salad, octopus, potato salad, baked things, who knows what all. Most people seem to be drinking small glasses of wine.
Wooden shelves above the bar holds the liquor and oblong lights encased in patterned glass are suspended below the shelves. A large espresso machine in front of a mirror dominates the back of the bar. Opposite the bar are a couple of brightly lit slot machines and a cigarette machine. Closer to the door is a large mirror with a few round tables with high chairs. These were occupied by young ladies smoking cigarettes and drinking soft drinks.
The place was small but pretty packed at 3:00 P.M. There s a wooded stairway with a brass hand rail heading up to where I imagine a restaurant is located.
I had a glass of beer.
828) Restaurant El Pastor
I guess you get something to eat whenever you order a drink in Madrid. I got a beer here and it came with two small pieces of bread with some kind of a salad spread. I was stuffed though because we went up the stairs at O’Munio and there was, indeed, a little restaurant up there. I had a great octopus dish there and a bottle of red wine. I thought I was just ordering a glass because it was only 6 Euros but instead it was a whole bottle, and a very good wine it was. But, that was there and I am here I am on another side street in another tapas bar.
The bar is similar to the last one but smaller and with an more ornate inlaid wood top and front. Old strange shaped chrome bar stools with worn and cracked leather seats. Behind the bar is a black and white tiled wall with a few wooden shelves with liquor, two wooden parrots, and a statue of a chef. Elaborate double silver spigots pump San Miguel and the spigots are surrounded by stemmed glasses.
The ceiling is plaster and wood beams with lots of ceramic mugs and pitchers hanging from them. There is also a shelf of trophies, but I couldn’t figure out what they are for. Wagon wheels with wooden spokes hang from the ceiling with light fixtures attached and act as chandeliers. There are a number of nice paintings of landscapes in gold painted wooden frames hanging on the white walls that have ornate ceramic tiles covering the lower half. A few heavy wooden tables and chairs fill the place up. A slot machine sits next to the door.
I had a glass of San Miguel.
829) Royal Cafeteria
Three for three on the food with a drink. This time it was two little sandwiches, one with cream cheese and carrot shreds and the other with hard sausage. The hard sausages here are quite good. I would try to sneak some back to Brooklyn with me but a dog named Bingo would probably nab me. Bingo was written up in the New York Times as one of the dogs at JFK that try to prevent illegal food products from being brought into the United States and he once caught me trying to bring in a ham sandwich from Switzerland. But, I digress.
The bar here is dark wood and curved at one end at jagged at the other. It is covered with clutter, mostly empty espresso glasses, coffee cups, and large pizza trays. More of those containers of tapas on the bar as well. The containers do have plastic covers. This time there were three silver beer spigots and they were surrounded by beer mugs instead of glasses. A selection of their bottled beers sit on the mugs in the very front.
Dark wood modern looking shelves behind the bar hold the liquor and a large espresso machine. White truncated cone shaped shaded lights hang above the bar. There are nice wrap-around windows with floral patterned stained glass on the top and it gives the place a classy look. The windows are frosted below and have the name of the place frosted on the top. There are nice marble floors and telescope-like grey and white columns support the ceiling. In addition to the slot machines that seem to be everywhere there is also an upright freezer with a glass door holds frozen deserts up front by the doors.
I had a glass of beer.
830) Sidreria A’Lareira
You can not go into a bar and not get something to eat. This time it was French fries and chicken wings. I think it must be a law. The number of beer spigots are multiplying, five here and we are back to stemmed glasses. My wine came in a short, squat glass though and was served up by Andrea.
Andrea The Friendly Bartender
The bar has a light wooden top with a patterned ceramic tile and brick front. Several large dried hams and a couple of sausages hang behind the bar, but they, like tapas and espresso machines seem to be everywhere. The wall behind the bar is light tan tile and there are glass shelves mounted on it that display their liquor. So far bars here do not have the huge displays of liquor so common in the United States.
Another couple of slot machines sit against the brick and vanilla plastered walls with windows opposite the bar. Bar Man is running out of note-cards and sobriety so is heading back to the hotel to restock on both before going out to dinner later tonight.
I had a glass of wine.
831) Meson de la Cerveza
Just a little kind of a hole in the wall with a really ornate old wooden bar. I ordered a Pernod but got some kind of a 2 Euro a shot brandy instead.
Bar Man And Brandy
It was nice though and hit the spot after the sangria I had with dinner. Strange beer station with two short spigots and a tall one in the center. The bar back has a curtain like metallic looking thing hanging over tile wall with a shelf of liquor. Over the bar is a wooden beam with ceramic beer mugs hanging from it. The ceiling is peaked wood like you might find in a cabin. Brick walls opposite the bar has a little wooden ledge with stools in front of it. Some kind of Spanish emblems in heavy wooden frames hang on the walls.
I had the aforementioned shot of brandy.
832) La Fontanilla Taberna
I got a plate of olives with my drink this time but nothing at the last place. Maybe a cheap shot of brandy doesn’t qualify you for getting free food. This is just a small corner bar that could probably seat twelve people at the most. It had an old dark wooden bar with a brass rail. A real interesting beer setup. A lone silver spigot pumped Cruz Campo, Spain’s number one beer, or so I hear, and next to that was a beer station with three large beer spigots with the one pumping Guinness the larges that I have ever seen. Rosana drew my Cruz Campo.
Rosana, Another Friendly Bartender
There was a very elaborate set of cabinets was behind the bar, old wood with brass trim. Domed yellow lights are over the bar. A wooden statue of what looks like a fisherman with a lantern sits on top of the bar at one end. A very impressive display of beer bottles behind glass wraps around the top of shelves on the tartan patterned wallpapered walls. There is, of course, an espresso machine behind the bar.
I had my glass of Cruz Campo and called it a day, but a very decent day it was and if this is what Spain is like I am going to have a wonderful time. I hit six bars bringing my total for the year to 832 and leaving me with 168 to go.