When summer arrives and temperatures start to climb, the bars and restaurants in Madrid take to the streets by setting up lively outdoor cafés. You will see hundreds of them as you stroll through the city, but to find the most impressive ones look up rather than at street level: some of them are located on the rooftops of iconic buildings and, apart from excellent food and refreshing cocktails, offer spectacular views.
Here are just some of the rooftop cafés and bars open this summer.
FINE ARTS CIRCLE
The rooftop of the Fine Arts Circle is one of the most charming viewpoints in the whole of Madrid, offering 360-degree vistas of the city below. Now chef Javier Muñoz Calero (who also owns Muñoca and Perrito Faldero) has turned it into a summer version of his Tartán restaurant, until he moves to Miami next season. The classic establishment will therefore be closed during the summer and autumn in order to offer interesting gourmet menus (from breakfast to dinner) coupled with stunning views of Madrid. International street food accentuates the multicultural atmosphere of the place, with signature dishes such as labna, aubergine pangsit and original bento boxes: in short, a highly urban proposal in tune with the streets of Madrid.
Located at the top of the ME Madrid Hotel, this terrace with Plaza de Santa Ana and the Literary Quarter at its feet opened five years ago and was one of the first to embrace the capital’s nightlife. The Roof, now divided into two separate spaces, offers a new look this summer and accepts bookings, which has made it a firm favourite with Madrid celebs.
The Urban Hotel, located on Carrera de San Jerónimo, is not only one of Madrid’s most avant-garde luxury hotels but has an exclusive rooftop cocktail bar and restaurant: Cielo. Nine exquisitely decorated tables, attentive waiters and original cocktails vie with the stunning views. The exotic details (those saketinis!) are simply mouth-watering.
What started out as an open secret has grown in recent years to become an icon of Madrid’s Gran Vía. The vast rooftop terrace of the Ada Palace Hotel offers spectacular views of the city centre, dominated by the magnificent dome of the Metropolis building. The ideal place to end a quiet evening as you sip one of the splendid cocktails.
ÁTICO DE LAS LETRAS
This delightful, sophisticated terrace exudes the charm of the building it crowns: the Las Letras Hotel. With long opening hours and DJ performances at the weekend, the attic is also one the coolest places to end a hot summer night, thanks to the microclimate created by the abundant plants and vaporised water system. Enjoy the laid-back atmosphere—no hurries, no eccentricities.
MERCADO DE SAN ANTÓN
San Antón Market in the Chueca district has become one of the most frequented and iconic markets in the city. Its superb 400-square-metre terrace offers fine dining at La Cocina de San Antón, or the chance to sip a cool drink as you take in the colourful crowd around you. Whichever version you choose, it makes the perfect stop after an exhausting tour of the local shops. What more could you ask for?
In addition to one of the most romantic and quietest libraries in the city (and one of the coolest and least visited in the summer), the old Escuelas Pías building boasts a rooftop terrace— Gau Café —open day and night, where you can soak up the bohemian atmosphere of the Lavapiés neighbourhood and enjoy the view over the nearby community courtyards, all at affordable prices.
The Silken Puerta América Hotel offers several lofty spaces, all so exquisitely designed that it is hard to decide which is the most spectacular. Open until the early hours at weekends, Skynight, on the hotel’s rooftop, boasts stunning views of the city centre… and the floors below! If you dare to look through the glass floor, that is. Sensational.
GOURMET EXPERIENCE AT EL CORTE INGLÉS
The gourmet section in the Callao branch of El Corte Inglés has moved to the top floor of the building, where it has been joined by several bars and restaurants to offer an original leisure and gastronomy option. Buy a drink or a snack at one of the establishments then take it out on to the roof and look down on the hustle and bustle in Plaza de Callao, with the legendary neon Schweppes sign on the Capitol building forming the backdrop.