The prices are low, the quality is fine, the service is quick, the menu is in Spanish and the soul and decor of the bar is utterly no-frills.
Recent exhibition La Tienda de la Esquina (The Corner Shop) celebrates Madrid’s beautiful antique facades. But, given these old shops are an increasingly endangered species in the Madrid streetscape, you may find yourself cynically wondering if these sculptures are actually miniature death masks.
Despite their straitened circumstances, the citizens of Lavapiés are a fiercely proud tribe. Throughout history, when pushed too far, they have risen up in bloody clashes with the authorities, and here’s why.
Nathan Brenville likes to explore his local barrio with sketchbook in hand, believing that drawing is the best way to notice the details of his surroundings. While doing so, it often leads to some interesting conversations with passers-by, which is exactly how Nathan met Encarni.
Mohammed serves really good Moroccan food, which he makes himself in his tiny kitchen at the back of the restaurant. The food at Ikram is even better than meals I’ve had in Morocco, and you’ll find it right here in the northernmost neighbourhood of Africa: Lavapiés.
When you first glimpse Marivi Ibarrola’s casually composed photographs of Lavapiés in the 1980s, you feel as if very little has changed. But stare for longer and you’ll see some profound differences: the Tabacalera no longer emits smoke from its chimney, the anarchists have been gentrified out of their squats, and cinemas have been demolished to pave the way for the Lavapiés we hang out in today.
There are few better ways to spend a Sunday in Madrid than strolling around El Rastro, but if you don’t have time to explore this 400-year-old market as many times as we have (possibly into three figures), then let us help you hit the ground running with seven of our most eccentric finds.
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.