The supermarket, right? No. Madrid supermarkets tend to carry a limited and predictable range of wine, beer and coffee. Below is a list of places where you’ll get everything you need (you caffeine-addicted alcoholic…).
Convenience stores stock wine, but it won’t be a great selection (and will be expensive). Supermarket wine selections are often weak (they don’t take many risks), although El Corte Inglés (just off Puerta del Sol) has a pretty wide range. But try and support some of the smaller bodegas (wine stores) below. Bodegas will also sell sherry, Spanish vermouth and Spanish anise.
Spirits are as easy to track down as beer – convenience stores and supermarkets stock the standard brands. Though if you’re after something a little more obscure, check out the bodegas below.
Los Rosales (Huertas)
This gorgeous and perhaps too-hidden-for-its-own-good wine shop is my latest discovery. They stock a most excellent range of hard-to-fine wines as well as more well-known bottles. The beautiful interior and wonderful selection makes a pleasure to browse and they also stocks a range of gourmet deli products. If you’re planning the picnic (or a classy booze-up), this is a one-stop-shop.
Calle Echegaray, 17, 28014
914 55 73 65
Licores Mariano Madrueño (Sol)
A small, charming and well-stocked bodega that’s handily right in the centre (two minutes walk from Puerta del Sol and just behind the Barefoot Nuns Monastery). They also do spirits, including a 100-brand line in premium gin.
La Siempre Llena (Lavapiés)
Drink locally and fill-ur-own wine bottles at this stall in Lavapiés’ recently-renovated San Fernando market. The vino is stored in vats and barrels and all comes from the Madrid region (a label on each bottle notes how far away the winery is in kms). Prices are deliciously low – you pay 40 cents for the empty bottle (which you reuse next time) and then for whatever wine you choose. You can get a decent local drop for under €3 a bottle. They also sell an excellent local vermouth and olive oil. The stall also operates as a bar, so if you’ve got time, pull up a pew and have a chat to my mate Juan Carlos (who is one of the owner/operators).
La Fisna (Lavapiés)
A hole-in-the-wall wine shop in Lavapiés. The chatty owners know their stuff and won’t simply suggest the most expensive drop. Highly recommended for its small but well thought out range. They also organise tastings (in Spanish). No spirits.
Supposedly the largest wine store in Europe… though that makes it sound more impressive that it really is. All told though, it’s a cavernous two-story space, overflowing with vino and organised according to country. There’s a tasting bar downstairs and you can buy a bottle at bottle-store prices and drink it in the restaurant upstairs. They also stock spirits.
Licores María Cabello (Huertas)
Ramshackle and antiquated, this gorgeous, dusty wine shop has been in the same family for 114 years. They actually opened the store 115 years ago as a bakery, but must have quickly realised the markup on booze was higher than bread. The helpful chap behind the counter is the founder’s grandson and, as you’d expect given his pedigree, has a fine palate. Let him recommend something. There’s also a good liquor selection.
Calle Echegaray, 19, 28014
914 296 088
Metro: Sol or Anton Martín (both line 1)
CRAFT BEER SHOPS
Mahou is the local industrial brew. It ain’t bad and tou can be picked up at convenience stores and supermarkets throughout the city. For those with a defter palate, there’s an emerging craft beer scene in Madrid, with local breweries, brew pubs and craft beer shops opening up citywide. Click here to find out the five best craft beer bars in the capital. And below is a list of the capital’s craft beer shops.
These guys were amongst the vanguard (give or take) of the craft beer scene in Madrid. They opened this shop in 2011, and, whenever I’ve swung by, seem to be doing a decent trade. It’s wall to wall craft beer – a veritable rainbow of labels. They also do tastings and run a brew club.
La Buena Pinta (Lavapiés)
There’s a healthy craft beer range in this small shop in Lavapiés’ Mercado de San Fernando. Juanma is always keen to talk beer and happens to speak great English, so get his thoughts on what to pick up. And if you really get chatting (or are keen to try before you buy), he keeps a few in the fridge for drinking at the counter or while you wander the market.
Within the Mercado de San Fernando
Calle de Embajadores, 41, 28012
Metro: Lavapiés or Embajadores
Good ground coffee (or whole beans) can be surprisingly hard to track down in Madrid. Your supermarket probably stocks a lot of torrefacto mezcla junk, and the non-torrefacto stuff may be largely robusta beans. For good, unadulterated arabica, check out the places below.
Cafés Pozo (citywide)
Find your closest outlet here: www.cafespozo.es/tiendas.html
Cafés Mexicana (citywide)
Find your closest outlet here: www.lamexicana.es/tiendas