Where can you see the best flamenco in Madrid? Going to a tablao flamenco is a great way to experience flamenco in Madrid, but not the only option.
What about hitting a flamenco bar?
A flamenco bar is the place where you can see a genuine flamenco show. It’s in these little little nooks where you will find the true art of flamenco.
And why is that?
Well, it’s because you’ll find a secluded atmosphere, an absolute purity, and above all because the greats of flamenco have always chosen this kind of small and improvised venues to expose their art.
Whether you want to go to a tablao flamenco, you’re looking for a small venue or you prefer an genuine flamenco show, Madrid offers you a full array of experiences.
And if you don’t know where to go with so many choices, this is the best flamenco show in Madrid.
Contrary to other places, such as a tablao flamenco or a small venue offering a flamenco show, the majority of the bars mentioned in the list below won’t charge you any entrance.
Because these are regular bars in which flamenco artists come here and perform spontaneously. And this means that there are no regular performances here.
Generally, the clientele is secretive about the place and all of them are off the beaten path.
Friendships are forged and important moments take place here. The people who come here are not poseurs. You know what time you’re walking in, but not when you’ll leave.
Here you’ll meet true connoisseurs. People that are called flamencoholics, because they’re not orthodox flamenco experts but when you’ve been listening to flamenco all your life, you end up knowing and understanding it.
So get there, order a drink (or two!) and enjoy a once in a lifetime experience.
You’ll witness the best flamenco in Madrid.
Before going to a flamenco bar, let me tell you a couple of things regarding:
Contrary to tablaos or other type of venues, any performance you may see at bares flamencos rely almost entirely on improvisation. Quite the contrary, actually. It wouldn’t be awkward for someone from the audience to stand up and sing.
The music and signing will be all over the place. However, you won’t see any dancing. Flamenco bars are very small, so there’s barely room to move and dance around.
If your main priority is to watching a full show including a professional dancing performance, you should go to a tablao flamenco.
Flamenco in Spain was originally performed only by gypsies who used to gather late at night after work. So in a flamenco bar the action starts relatively late.
Well, very late for sure, according to your standards. And by late I mean at least after 21:30…
There’s nothing wrong with that, but I want to make sure that you take this piece of information into consideration when deciding where to go to watch a flamenco show in Madrid.
Here is a list with my personal selection of flamenco bars to choose from in rough order of preference.
Address: Calle de San Isidro Labrador, 14
Entering this bar is like stepping into Andalucía for its vibe, music and décor, and the staff are incredibly friendly. It’s more a slice of the south, with bullfighting memorabilia, virgins and sweaty cured meats (that’s a good thing). But they do play flamenco (often some of the lighter styles) and the food is excellent.
Address: Calle Betis, 31
O’Pulpo is a Galician-inspired bar but that also breathes flamenco.
And that’s because there is a flamenco school upstairs. So the bar is usually full of musicians, singers, dancers, students and aficionados alike that gather here before and after the lessons.
Address: Calle de Manuel Fernández y González, 5
El Callejón de Madrid is the city’s flamenco. Just sit on a stool at the bar, let the music sink (usually cante jondo) in and admire their wonderful collection of flamenco memorabilia decorating its walls.
Address: Calle Procurador, 27
Bodegas Alfaro is more a tavern than a bar where you are going to see a performance. It’s charm comes from Manuel, his owner, a flamenco lover who makes you feel at home.
Address: Plaza de Puerta Cerrada, 7
This bar lives and breathes flamenco. Actually, it’s some sort of underground flamenco temple with a bizarre decoration.
And there is also a large flat-screen TV where Vicente, the owner, plays an extensive selection of flamenco videos non-stop.
Address: Calle Echegaray, 19
It’s more of a bar in the early hours and patrons hit the dance floor later in the evening.
But it’s also a place where you can run into an actual bullfighter. Just in case you didn’t know, both flamenco and bullfighting are utterly intertwined.
Address: Calle del Olmo, 2
The key to Candela is arriving late. Very late, like 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning…
Below the bar is a cellar where local gypsies and flamenco performers get together to drink and play. There is often a bartender guarding the door, but he is not as tough as you may think. If you make it down below, be quite and enjoy impromptu, like true flamenco should be.
Address: Avenida de Rafael Alberti, 26
The peñas flamencas give a more traditional insight to flamenco, and they are normally run by aficionados of the art whose main aim is the flamenco, and not how much money they can obtain from the customers who use them.
Peña Flamenca Duende was founded in 1992 and it has been a reference in Madrid ever since.
Address: Calle Perelada, 5
At Peña Flamenca Fosforito you will see some of the finest flamenco artists performing the very best art…
Oh, I forgot to mention that peñas flamencas like Fosforito do not charge an entrance fee, and the price of the drinks will be the same as a local bar.
Address: Plaza Puerto Rubio, 24
At Peña Flamenca La Reja heartfelt song, accompanying guitar, rhythmic tap-dance and clapping, all come together with the dance of great artists, who often appear anonymously.
Address: Calle Canarias, 39
Founded in 1982, this is probably one of the oldest peñas flamencas in Madrid. Here you will see flamenco in its purest form.
Apart from the list that I just shared with you, you can go to many other venues in Madrid and enjoy a nice flamenco show.
Here you have a map where you can locate them.
This article is part of a complete tutorial about flamenco in Madrid where you can read all the information you need to enjoy this typical Andalusian folklore.
Here is a complete summary of all the guide:
1. What is flamenco?
2. Where to see flamenco in Madrid?
3. The best flamenco show in Madrid
4. Flamenco tablaos in Madrid
5. Small flamenco venues in Madrid
6. Flamenco bars in Madrid
7. 6 tips to enjoy flamenco dancing in Madrid
8. Where to take flamenco dance lessons in Madrid
9. Flamenco history and origins
10. Understanding flamenco singing (cante)
11. Understanding flamenco dance (baile)
12. Understanding flamenco guitar (toque)
13. The different flamenco styles
14. A flamenco glossary