a row of tables and chairs outside a building

11 Historic Tapas Bars You Should Visit in Madrid

Are you looking for an unforgettable culinary experience in Madrid? Look no further than these 11 Historic Tapas Bars You Must Visit!

From El Sur, a tapas institution, to Casa Labra, the birthplace of Croqueta de Bacalao, each location offers a unique taste of old Madrid.

Discover where Hemingway found inspiration at Taberna Malaspina, or treat yourself to a century-old gem at Bodega De La Ardosa.

Get ready to savor the flavors of Madrid's rich history and enjoy the freedom of exploring these iconic tapas bars.

Key takeaways

  • Madrid is home to several historic tapas bars that have been serving tapas for many decades, combining tradition with innovation and preserving the city's tapas culture.
  • These tapas bars offer an authentic vintage atmosphere and decor, transporting visitors to a bygone era and providing a deeper understanding of Madrid's history and cultural milestones.
  • Must-try dishes at these tapas bars include classic favorites like patatas bravas and Spanish omelette, as well as innovative creations like croquettes stuffed with Iberian ham or cod.
  • In addition to the delicious food, these tapas bars offer a warm and lively atmosphere, where locals and tourists come together to enjoy tapas, creating a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere.

El Sur: A tapas institution

You must visit El Sur, a tapas institution in Madrid. Located in the heart of the city, El Sur is a place where tradition meets innovation, offering a tantalizing journey through the ever-changing world of tapas.

Upon entering, the warm and lively atmosphere envelops you, inviting you to join the authenticity debate that has long surrounded this Spanish culinary tradition.

El Sur has been serving tapas since 1952, witnessing the evolution of this beloved cuisine firsthand. Here, you can enjoy a wide variety of tapas, from classic favorites like patatas bravas and Iberian ham to innovative creations that push the boundaries of traditional flavors. Every bite is a testament to the skill and creativity of the chefs who have mastered the art of tapas.

Whether you are a seasoned tapas enthusiast or a curious newcomer, El Sur guarantees an unforgettable culinary experience. So go ahead, embrace the freedom to explore the ever-changing world of tapas at this iconic institution in Madrid.

Casa Labra: Birthplace of the cod croquette

As you continue to explore the historic tapas bars in Madrid, be sure to visit Casa Labra, the birthplace of the famous Croqueta de Bacalao. This iconic establishment has a rich history and has played an important role in shaping tapas culture in the city.

Here's why Casa Labra should be on your must-see list:

  • Authenticity: Casa Labra has been serving their famous Cod Croquettes for over a century and they have stayed true to their original recipe. The croquettes are made with high-quality cod, mixed with a delicate combination of herbs and spices, resulting in a delicious, crunchy delicacy.
  • Influence on tapas culture: Casa Labra has been a meeting place for locals and tourists alike, and its influence on tapas culture cannot be overstated. Many other bars in Madrid have been inspired by the success of Casa Labra and have included cod croquettes on their menus.
  • Historical atmosphere: The bar itself is steeped in history, with its charming wooden interiors and vintage decor. It's like going back in time and experiencing a true part of Madrid's past.
  • Cozy atmosphere: Casa Labra is known for its warm and welcoming atmosphere. The staff is friendly and hospitable, making you feel at home while you enjoy your cod croquettes.
  • Variety of tapas: While the Cod Croquette is the star of the show, Casa Labra also offers a wide range of other tapas options. From Spanish tortillas to fried calamari, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Visiting Casa Labra is not just about indulging in delicious food, but also about immersing yourself in the history and culture of Madrid's tapas scene. Don't miss this iconic culinary experience.

La Venencia: A Taste of Old Madrid

As you enter La Venencia, you are instantly transported to a bygone era of old Madrid. This historic tapas bar, with its weathered wooden bar, dusty bottles of sherry lining the shelves and black and white photos adorning the walls, exudes an undeniable sense of authenticity.

But amid the growing modernization trend, you may wonder if this hidden gem has managed to maintain its charm or has become a popular tourist spot.

Authenticity Vs. Modernization

La Venencia offers a glimpse of old Madrid with its authentic atmosphere and traditional tapas. Walking into this historic tapas bar feels like traveling back in time. The dimly lit room is adorned with old pictures and dusty bottles of sherry lining the shelves. Wooden barrels serve as tables, where locals gather to savor the rich flavors of Madrid's culinary heritage.

Here are five reasons why La Venencia stands as a testament to preservation in the face of innovation:

  • The bar has remained virtually unchanged since its opening in 1928, preserving its original charm.
  • The menu, which includes classic tapas such as Spanish omelette and Iberian ham, stays true to tradition.
  • Waiters, dressed in white coats, skillfully pour glasses of sherry using traditional techniques.
  • The absence of modern technology, such as cash registers or credit card machines, adds to the authentic atmosphere.
  • La Venencia's refusal to adapt to contemporary trends is a defiant gesture towards the past, offering visitors an authentic taste of old Madrid.

Hidden or popular gem?

When you visit Madrid's historic tapas bars, you may wonder if La Venencia is a hidden gem or a popular destination for those looking for a taste of old Madrid. Well, let me tell you, it's a little bit of both.

La Venencia is tucked away on a quiet street, off the beaten path, giving it that elusive charm of a hidden gem. Upon entering, you will feel transported back in time. The walls are adorned with old photos and memorabilia, and the bar itself has an old-world feel that's hard to find anywhere else.

But don't be fooled by its hidden nature. La Venencia is also a well-known tourist spot, especially among wine lovers and history enthusiasts. So, although it may not be as crowded as other attractions, it is definitely a place not to be missed if you want to experience the true essence of Madrid's tapas culture.

Malaspina Tavern: Where Hemingway Found Inspiration

You can find Taberna Malaspina, the historic tapas bar where Hemingway found inspiration, in Madrid. This hidden gem is a must-see for any Hemingway fan or food enthusiast. Here's why:

  • Authentic atmosphere: Enter Tavern Malaspina and you will be transported back in time. The rustic interior and vintage decor create a charming atmosphere that Hemingway himself would have appreciated.
  • Hemingway's Favorite Dishes: Enjoy the same dishes that Hemingway loved, such as delicious garlic shrimp and succulent cheeks. Every bite is a taste of history.
  • Influence on other tapas bars: The influence of Taberna Malaspina on other tapas bars in Madrid is undeniable. Their traditional recipes and dedication to quality have set the standard for tapas establishments throughout the city.
  • Warm hospitality: The friendly staff at Taberna Malaspina will make you feel at home. Their genuine warmth and passion for food comes through in every interaction.
  • A sense of freedom: As you savor the delicious tapas and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, you will experience a sense of freedom that Hemingway himself found in this iconic bar. Let the spirit of adventure guide your culinary journey at Taberna Malaspina.

Bodega De La Ardosa: a centuries-old jewel

Enter a world where the tradition of tapas comes to life and experience the historical importance of Bodega De La Ardosa.

This centuries-old gem offers an authentic glimpse into Madrid's past, with its charming atmosphere and delicious variety of tapas.

From the moment you enter, you will be transported back in time, savoring the flavors and stories of a bygone era.

Tapas Tradition in Madrid

To fully immerse yourself in Madrid's tapas tradition, be sure to visit Bodega De La Ardosa, a centuries-old gem. This iconic tapas bar is a must-visit for its authentic atmosphere and delicious traditional recipes. Here are five reasons why Bodega De La Ardosa should be on your list:

  • Variety of Tapas: The bar offers a wide variety of tapas, from the classic patatas bravas to the delicious Spanish omelette that will make your mouth water. You will find something to satisfy every palate.
  • Authentic Environment: Enter Bodega De La Ardosa and you will be transported back in time. The rustic interior, wooden barrels and vintage decor create a cozy and nostalgic atmosphere.
  • Centennial Tradition: With over a hundred years of history, Bodega De La Ardosa has been serving tapas to locals and visitors since 1892. Experience first-hand the essence of Madrid's tapas culture.
  • Quality Ingredients: The bar prides itself on using only the freshest ingredients in its tapas, ensuring each dish is packed with flavor and authenticity.
  • Friendly Service: The staff at Bodega De La Ardosa is friendly and welcoming, making you feel at home while you delight in Madrid's tapas tradition.

Don't miss this incredible tapas experience at Bodega De La Ardosa. It is a true treasure of the Madrid culinary scene.

Historical significance of Bodega De La Ardosa

Continuing from the previous subtopic, Bodega De La Ardosa occupies a significant place in Madrid's history as a centuries-old gem. This historic tapas bar, with its charming façade and cozy interior, has been serving locals and visitors since 1892.

Upon entering, you are transported to a bygone era, where the walls are adorned with old photos and memorabilia. Bodega De La Ardosa is not only a place to enjoy delicious tapas and refreshing drinks; is a testament to the city's commitment to historic preservation. Its cultural impact is undeniable, as it has remained a beloved meeting point for generations.

As you savor the traditional Spanish flavors and soak in the atmosphere, you can't help but feel a connection to the past and appreciate the enduring legacy of this remarkable establishment.

Authenticity of Centennial Bars

As you delve into the authenticity of centuries-old bars, like Bodega De La Ardosa, you'll discover a rich tapestry of history and tradition. These centuries-old jewels have managed to preserve their authenticity over the years, allowing customers to go back in time and experience Madrid's cultural heritage. Here are some reasons why the authenticity of bars like Bodega De La Ardosa is worth exploring:

  • Preserving authenticity: These centuries-old bars have managed to preserve their original charm, from the vintage decor to traditional recipes passed down from generation to generation.
  • Impact on cultural heritage: These bars function as living museums, allowing visitors to experience Madrid's cultural heritage and gain a deeper understanding of its history.
  • Unique atmosphere: Centuries-old bars exude a distinctive atmosphere that cannot be replicated, transporting you to a bygone era.
  • Historical Significance: These bars have witnessed significant moments in history and have become cultural landmarks in their own right.
  • Culinary tradition: The recipes and techniques used in these centuries-old bars have been perfected over time, offering an authentic taste of traditional Spanish cuisine.

Visiting Bodega De La Ardosa and other centuries-old bars allows you to not only enjoy delicious tapas, but also immerse yourself in the rich history and cultural heritage of Madrid.

Casa Toni: Tradition and Flavors Come Together

Experience the tradition and flavors of Casa Toni while you delight in its tapas. This hidden gem is a perfect combination of authenticity and modernization, offering a unique culinary experience in the heart of Madrid.

Casa Toni has been serving tapas since 1929, and its rich history can be felt as soon as you enter. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, with walls adorned with vintage photographs and traditional Spanish decor.

The menu is a mix of popular favorites and lesser-known dishes, all made with the freshest ingredients and packed with flavor. Whether you choose the classic Serrano ham croquettes or the more adventurous grilled octopus, each bite will transport you to the heart of Spanish cuisine.

Casa Toni is a must-visit for those looking for an authentic taste of Madrid.

La Casa Del Abuelo: Famous for its grilled shrimp

Enjoy famous grilled shrimp at La Casa Del Abuelo, a historic tapas bar in Madrid that continues the tradition of authentic flavors and culinary excellence. Located in the heart of the city, La Casa Del Abuelo transports you back in time with its charm and rustic atmosphere.

Upon entering, you'll be greeted by the warm glow of dim lights and the aroma of shrimp sizzling on the grill. Here are some reasons why La Casa Del Abuelo is a place you should visit:

  • Grilled shrimp specialties are perfectly seasoned and cooked to perfection, offering a burst of flavor in every bite.
  • The historic atmosphere takes you on a journey through time, allowing you to experience Madrid's rich heritage.
  • The friendly and attentive staff makes you feel like part of the family, ensuring a memorable dining experience.
  • The extensive wine list complements the shrimp dishes, offering the perfect pairing for your meal.
  • The relaxed atmosphere allows you to relax and enjoy your meal at your own pace, embracing the freedom of savoring every delicious bite.

Taberna La Dolores: A historic meeting place

Stroll through the historic Taberna La Dolores and immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Madrid's tapas culture. This legendary meeting place has witnessed countless moments of conviviality and camaraderie since its establishment in 1908.

From its fascinating historical importance to its delicious, must-try dishes, La Dolores is an essential stop on any tapas lover's itinerary.

Historical significance of La Dolores

When you visit La Dolores, you will enter a historic meeting place in Madrid. This iconic tapas bar has great historical importance, serving as a testament to the city's rich culture and traditions.

Here are some key points to understand the historical importance of La Dolores:

  • La Dolores has been a meeting point for locals and tourists for more than a century, preserving its original charm and atmosphere.
  • He played a fundamental role in the development of tapas culture in Madrid, with its traditional recipes and authentic flavors.
  • The bar has witnessed changing times and social norms, reflecting the role of women in tapas culture and their contribution to Madrid's culinary heritage.
  • La Dolores continues to maintain its legacy by serving classic tapas dishes that have stood the test of time.
  • The bar's historical importance goes beyond its culinary offerings, as it has hosted famous artists, writers and intellectuals, becoming a center of creativity and free expression.

Step into La Dolores and immerse yourself in the historical tapestry of Madrid's vibrant tapas culture.

Tapas culture in Madrid

Immerse yourself in Madrid's vibrant tapas culture at Taberna La Dolores, a historic venue that exemplifies the city's culinary heritage. Madrid's tapas traditions have deep cultural significance, and at Taberna La Dolores you can experience the essence of this rich culinary tradition.

As you step inside the tavern's rustic interior, you'll be transported to a bygone era, where locals and tourists alike gather to feast on a variety of flavorful small plates. The tapas at La Dolores are a true reflection of Madrid's gastronomic identity, from the classic Spanish omelette to the succulent Iberian ham.

The lively atmosphere, the sound of clinking glasses and friendly conversations create a welcoming and liberating atmosphere, allowing you to fully embrace the spirit of Madrid's tapas culture. So join the locals and savor the cultural significance of tapas at Taberna La Dolores.

Essential dishes in La Dolores

Continue your culinary journey at Taberna La Dolores, enjoying must-try dishes that perfectly capture the essence of Madrid's tapas culture. La Dolores is famous for its emblematic dishes that showcase the authentic flavors of Spanish cuisine.

Here are five delicious options that you can't miss:

  • Spicy potatoes: Crispy fried potatoes served with a spicy tomato sauce and creamy aioli, creating a harmonious combination of flavors and textures.
  • Shrimp Scampi: Succulent prawns cooked in hot olive oil with garlic and chilli, tantalizing your taste buds with an explosion of Mediterranean flavours.
  • Spanish tortilla: A classic Spanish omelet made with eggs, potatoes and onion, offering a comforting and filling bite.
  • Galician-style octopus: Tender octopus seasoned with paprika, drizzled with olive oil and served on a bed of potatoes, transporting you to the coastal regions of Galicia.
  • Croquettes: Creamy and crunchy croquettes filled with tasty ingredients such as Iberian Ham or cod, providing a perfect balance of textures and flavors.

Enjoying these authentic tapas experiences in La Dolores will undoubtedly leave you wanting more.

El Botín: The oldest restaurant in the world

To experience the rich history of Madrid's culinary scene, be sure to visit El Botín, the oldest restaurant in the world. Entering El Botín is like going back in time. The restaurant exudes an authentic charm that transports you to a bygone era.

From the moment you walk in, you are greeted with a warm rustic atmosphere and the enticing aroma of roast suckling pig and lamb. You can almost imagine Ernest Hemingway sitting at a corner table, savoring his favorite dishes and writing in his notebook. Hemingway was a regular customer of El Botín and considered it one of his favorite places.

The connection to a literary legend like him only adds to the appeal of this historic establishment. So, go ahead and enjoy the rich history and exquisite flavors that El Botín has to offer.

German Brewery: Paradise for beer lovers

If you are a beer lover, you will love visiting Cervecería Alemana, a paradise for beer enthusiasts in Madrid. This historic tapas bar is known for its vibrant beer culture and the strong influence of German tradition. Here are the reasons why Cervecería Alemana should be on your list:

  • Wide choice: Cervecería Alemana boasts an impressive variety of beers, with options ranging from local beers to international favorites.
  • Authentic atmosphere: Upon entering Cervecería Alemana, you will feel transported to a traditional German beer hall, with wooden interiors and lively conversations.
  • Delicious tapas: Pair your beer with delicious, authentic Spanish tapas, such as patatas bravas or Iberian ham, for the perfect combination of flavors.
  • Friendly staff: The staff at Cervecería Alemana is knowledgeable and passionate about beer, always ready to recommend the perfect beer to satisfy your taste.
  • Historical significance: Founded in 1904, Cervecería Alemana has witnessed a century of beer drinking traditions, making it a must-see for history buffs and beer lovers alike.

Immerse yourself in beer culture and the German influence at Cervecería Alemana, where you can enjoy a perfect pint in a lively and welcoming atmosphere. Cheers to beer lovers' paradise!

Casa Alberto: A classic experience in Madrid

Stop by Casa Alberto and experience the timeless charm of a classic Madrid tapas bar. Located in the heart of the city, Casa Alberto radiates an authentic atmosphere that will transport you back in time.

This hidden gem has been serving locals and visitors since 1827, making it one of the oldest taverns in Madrid. Upon entering, the aroma of traditional Spanish dishes fills the air, stimulating your taste buds. The walls are adorned with old photographs, showing the rich history of Casa Alberto.

The bar is always packed with customers, creating a vibrant and truly infectious atmosphere. Delight yourself with its famous tapas, such as the succulent Iberian Ham and the delicious Patatas Bravas. Don't forget to pair your meal with a glass of your best wine or a refreshing beer.

Whether you're a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, Casa Alberto promises to be a popular spot that will leave you wanting more.

Frequent questions

What is the story behind El Sur, Casa Labra, La Venencia, Taberna Malaspina and Bodega De La Ardosa?

Explore the rich history of Madrid's famous tapas bars. Discover the evolution of tapas culture, famous customers and intriguing anecdotes. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere and enjoy a culinary journey like no other.

Are there vegetarian or vegan options available in these historic tapas bars?

If you're looking for the best vegetarian tapas in Madrid, you'll be happy to know that there are several vegan tapas bars in the city. These establishments offer a variety of delicious plant-based options to satisfy your cravings.

Can you make reservations at Casa Toni, La Casa Del Abuelo, Taberna La Dolores, El Botín, Cervecería Alemana or Casa Alberto?

Of course, you can make reservations at Casa Toni, La Casa del Abuelo, Taberna La Dolores, El Botín, Cervecería Alemana and Casa Alberto. In addition, they offer vegetarian and vegan options in these traditional tapas bars in Madrid. Enjoy!

Do any of these tapas bars offer live entertainment or music?

Tapas bars in Madrid are known for their lively atmosphere and vibrant music. You'll find live entertainment in some of the historic tapas bars, which adds to the overall experience and creates a fun and energetic atmosphere.

Are there any signature dishes or tapas I should try at these historic tapas bars?

As you explore Madrid's historic tapas bars, you'll find a variety of traditional dishes that are a must for first-time visitors. From succulent Iberian ham to crispy patatas bravas, these bars offer the best tapas dishes in Madrid. Follow these tips to enjoy tapas culture in historic bars.


In conclusion, exploring Madrid's historic tapas bars is a journey into the city's rich culinary and cultural heritage. From El Sur, a renowned tapas institution, to Casa Labra, where the iconic Croqueta de Bacalao was born, each bar has its own charm and story to tell.

Whether you're savoring the flavors at Bodega De La Ardosa or immersing yourself in history at El Botín, these tapas bars offer a truly authentic and unforgettable experience for lovers of food and history.

Don't miss these gems that you must visit when you are in Madrid.

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