Bar El Trébol: a nostalgic time capsule to Spain’s most optimistic era

It’s 1979. Franco had died just four years earlier and the transition to democracy was well underway. Everything painted, moulded and built in this era would become a time capsule to Spain’s post-dictatorship optimism. Or, at least, what still remains of this era.

The striped awnings, the aluminium door handles, the terrazzo flooring and the brown ceramic tiles of Madrid’s archetypal no-frills bars are all physical gateways to a period of glory and fervour that still secretly reverberates through Spain.

As the sun has slowly bleached Bar El Trébol’s retro features and aged the ageing customers, Spain’s youngest generation of punters now prop up the same bar, occupy the same nooks and sit on the same bar stools alongside their grandparents.

Spain’s infamous optimism lives on in this nostalgic time capsule, just like many of the beautiful no-frills bars I’ve frequented over the years. But, as the owner said to me,

There aren’t many bars like this left in Madrid.

Oh, hello there, Miss Beige – a fellow lover of Bar El Trébol.


  • Address: Calle de los Abades, 24
  • Nearest metro: La Latina (L5), Tirso de Molina (L1), Embajadores (L3)
  • Opening hours: Mon-Sun: 9 am to midnight (more or less)

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1 Comment

  • We found this place from your write up. Let’s just say that Sundays are a *little* more crowded than when you went! 😁

    Still, what a neat little bar for a caña or a vermut (or both)! I now have a list of other ones to try thanks to your wonderful series.

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