I don’t think I’ll ever stop being surprised to see people enjoying a drink in the morning, but if one place were to persuade me to join the other side, it’s Bar En Ca’ Kiko. If simply wandering around the Rastro gives you a buzz, then a visit here will make you feel like you’ve plugged yourself straight into the national grid.
TAPEANDO POR EL RASTRO
The Sunday Rastro ritual involves a meander through the streets, spotting something you like, attempting to barter for it and getting 5% off at best. Then you head to a Rastro bar for a tosta.
Many bars in this barrio are only open at weekends, but fortunately Bar En Ca’ Kiko isn’t one of them, although it needn’t open throughout the week as it probably brings in a week’s business in just six hours on Sunday. Sound like chaos? It is. But head there before midday and you might get a spot at the bar. Arrive later for lunch and it’s fine – you can join the bar’s bustling sphere of influence on the street.
ONE SUNDAY AT EN CA’ KIKO
At around 10 am, it has the buzz of a busy train station café, with stall holders popping in for a swift café con leche to see the morning through.
Come 11 am, the local antique dealers and their families, all dressed in their Sunday best, are here ploughing through the white wine. The volume level has suddenly rocketed and if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
By midday, the place is really starting to fill up as la hora del vermut gets under way. Pedro and his staff are working at the speed of light but the queue at the bar is still three people deep – an unusual sight in Madrid but, then, this is a dedicated clientele.
By around 1 pm, the infamous Rastro punks, mods and hipsters have arrived and are ordering botellines of Mahou to drink in the street. Pedro has served up a generous portion of tapas that will stave off their hunger for now.
By 2 pm, the Kiko crowd outside has reached the opposite side of the street, and bollards and window sills become an ideal place to perch drinks and tapas.
The star of the show is Pedro, the owner, whose name echoes through the crowd as customers vie to be served next. But the most iconic object in this place is undoubtedly the Mahou chandelier made by Sancho Viega, a lamp restorer in El Rastro.
Here’s a lovely little video made by Play Ocio TV about Bar En Ca’ Kiko:
Bar En Ca’ Kiko is just one of the many great no-frills bars with that addictive Rastro atmosphere, but this one is our personal favourite.
- Bar En Ca’ Kiko’s Facebook page
- Address: C/ Carlos Arniches, 22
- Nearest metro: Puerta de Toledo / La Latina
- Opening hours: Mon-Sun 8 am – 4 pm-ish