17 dic 2014

Ten Great Tips for Bars in Madrid

Bars in Madrid:
  Ready to order?

Dear  new students-
You've just arrived in Madrid and you’ve never been to a Spanish bar. So, what do you do? Go to McDonald’s and order in English? No! If you’re starving in Spain's capital, there is nothing better that to enter the nearest bar, where you can find and try the delicious and varied Spanish gastronomy.
But, before you go into one of Madrid's delightful bars, here are a few tips to help you enjoy the full Spanish experience.

Keep reading for the best tips on bars!

Bar Etiquette: Communication

Don't forget to smile!

1.    The first thing you do when entering a bar is smile. It always works and every waiter will smile back.

2.    It’s best to use the magic words “por favor” (please). Even though people in Spain do not say it as often as they do in other countries, it still is the polite thing to do. You might also want to use the “usted” form, if your waiter is of a certain age.

3.    It is courteous to use the “pretérito imperfecto” or “condicional” when conjugating your verbs in Spanish. So you might say things like “quería una coca-cola” or “desearía tomar un café”.

Classic bar drinks

"¿Un cafelito?"

4.    Around noon or mid-afternoon it is likely to find Spanish people drinking coffee or, as they say, “un cafelito”. The average Spaniard might order any one of these:
  • “Café solo” : black coffee or expresso in a small cup
  • “Café cortado”: coffee with a bit of milk.
  • “Café con leche”: milk and coffee, 50% each.
  • “Café con hielo”: coffee on ice. It’s very common during the hot Spanish summer.

Mahou is one of the most popular
Spanish beers.
 5.    Beer is the most popular order in a Spanish bar. The “Caña” gives name to the small glass of beer and, if you are a bit thirstier, you can order “una doble”, which is a bigger glass. For those who are ready to party, you can ask for a “jarra” (0,5 liters). You can also enjoy bottled beer called “tercio” (0,33 liters) or “quinto” (0,20 liters). Beer is essential when you’re having tapas.

6.    Wine: The other great protagonist of the Mediterranean diet. If you don’t have a specific wine in mind you simply order by colour, red or white, “tinto” or “blanco”. Most bars in Madrid have a vast wine list for those who are searching for something in particular. If you want something top-shelf, you should ask for “a crianza” or “a reserva”.

Classic bar food

A classic Spanish tapa.
7.    “El pincho de tortilla” is a delicious Spanish omelette that has potatoes. The word “pincho” refers to the stick that secures the omelette to the bread. The best way to eat it is to grab a napkin and eat it with your hands. There are many “pinchos” and tapas, but this one is the most popular. You are going to love it!

The Spanish bar etiquette

There might be even more chaos
if the Spanish futbol team is playing.
8.    You may find that the more traditional Spanish bars are a tad chaotic. Napkins on the floor, toothpicks everywhere, a solitary olive pit... This is the feng shui of the Spanish bar and has a certain charm. Keep in mind that this delightful decor exists because Spain is one of the few countries where you can stand at the bar while having a snack or a drink.

9.    The bathroom. After all the beer and wine, the most pressing question on your mind might be related to the bathroom: Just ask the waiter “¿Dónde está el baño?” They will give you very simple directions.

10.    Tipping isn’t always required, but it still is a proper way to repay a job well done, If you are in a restaurant, you can give between a 5% and a 10%  or, if you’re having a coffee or a beer in a bar, leave some leftover coins.

We hope that this advice comes in handy! No matter what, you are sure to have a great time in Madrid and its charming bars. If you found this helpful, you might also enjoy reading this article: 5 Popular Tapas Bars in Madrid or  Cava Baja, the street of a thousand bars

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