By Cynthia Kane in Madrid—
Bars that offer stacks of board games for their patrons are becoming more and more popular in Madrid. And although you can find one here or there in every neighborhood, two barrios in particular are packed with Trivial Pursuits, Taboos, checkers, chess and more: Malasaña and Lavapiés.
Here are my favorite bars for getting your game on:
Calle San Vicente Ferrer, 29
(+34) 91 531 7037
Without even knowing what’s inside, you’ll be captivated by this popular café’s stylish exterior. Opened in 1979, the café inhabits what was once a carpenter’s studio. Aside from the bright lights, mirrors, and glamorous touches that have made it a popular location for commercials and films, the draw for locals are the stacks of board games.
Calle San Vicente Ferrer, 20
(+34) 914 486 087
Monday- Thursdays 8 p.m. to 3 a.m., Friday-Saturday 6:30 p.m. – 3 a.m.
Located across the street from Manuela Café is another hotspot for board games. This dark and intimate café is only open in the evenings and attracts a younger crowd. Although it’s known for its late night game playing, they also serve up some of the best ice cream options in the city.
Buenavista, 18, 28012
Metro: Anton Martin
(+34) 915 275 245
Open Tuesday-Sunday 12 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Stepping into Oeste Celeste is like entering a meditation room. There’s a “no shoe zone” where you can relax on beanbags, chairs surrounding a makeshift fountain with running water, and a variety of tables and board games in the back.
Created for literary and artistic gatherings, the space holds concerts, seminars and other cultural activities. It’s a great spot to meet with friends for lunch or dinner, as all dishes are fresh and additive-free. You could also convene to sip a cocktail or an exotic tea, or simply go for a game of Taboo.
La Taberna Encantada
Calle Salitre, 2
Metro: Anton Martin
(+34) 605 055 617
Monday–Sunday 1 p.m.–2 a.m.
Situated near the Filmoteca and within walking distance from the Reina Sofia, this establishment has been a staple in Lavapiés since 1912. Originally a bodega de vinos, La Taberna Encantada is now a place to gather, play board games and eat. The ambiance isn’t anything to write home about, but their specialties are: tostas and platos caseros.