A brief crawl around Madrid’s most historic bars

Casa Labra There are some bars that, rather than advertise their existence, seem to actively discourage new clientele. As soon as you walk through the door you feel like Luke Skywalker walking into the Cantina on Tatooine; the music stops, the patrons turn to give you withering looks and the bartender ignores you when you …

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The destruction of Madrid’s churches

Napoleon comes to town Time was you couldn’t swing a cat, let alone drive through central Madrid without hitting a church or monastery. A lack of urban planning meant that the city’s narrow streets were stifled by religious institutions. That was until Bonaparte’s troops rolled into town. The new ruler, Napoleon’s brother, Joseph, decided to …

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The Esquilache riots

Cloak and dagger Cloaks have a long and infamous history in Madrid. In fact, the English term “cloak and dagger” derives from 18th century Spanish and French dramas, (capa y espada in Spanish) in which villains would fight with the fabric of their cloaks wrapped round their arms to form a shield (for more on …

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